“ Manufacturer: Soldak Entertainment / Genre: Adventures & Role-playing / Release Date: 2007 / Single Player „
Depths of peril is a game developed by Soldak Entertainment for the PC and Mac, available in some computer shops and also online, through their website and previously on gaming sites like bigfish.com and reflexive.com. It is priced as $19.99 on their website, although this would likely vary with exchange rates and shop mark-ups.
At first glance, Depths of Peril looks like a Diablo-style level-based hack and slash clone. There are four character classes to choose from (warrior, mage, rogue, priest) which heavily affect your fighting style and the items you will use. There is a horde of items throughout the game and much in the same way as Diablo, they are grouped into non-magical and magical, rare, unique and sets. Their attributes not only affect fighting skills like potential damage and armour points, but also things like field of vision, gold- and magic-find bonuses and relations bonuses (more about that later). Again, similar to Diablo, you have a pool of NPC's willing to play mercenary for you during your adventures, and can be equipped and armed to a lesser extent than the player's character. All the items in the game can be found not only during your adventures, but also from NPC vendors in the town.
Integral to the game is the constant supply of quests. There is a main storyline played out through the use of the quest system which involves saving the town of Jorvik from a monstrous threat. As well as the main quests there are random quests that appear, generally located in the area in which you are currently battling, and consisting of killing x amount of monsters, rescuing people or killing renegades. Depending on how you acquired the quest, there are a few different rewards. Gold and experience is the most common type, but quests given by vendors usually reward you with a weapon or piece of armour as well.
Depths of Peril is heavily centred on faction warfare - the player is head of a faction and when starting a new game, the player has the option to decide how many factions he is competing against. The game can be ended when all factions have been eradicated through war or allied with the player who then rules Jorvik (although you can play past this). Eradicating a faction yields a reward chest of a size dependant on the player's level - higher level characters get larger chests with items more suitable to their level. Factions can communicate with each other in a style similar to the civilization series of games. They can trade for alliances and pacts, influence, gold and items. You can even join forces with another faction to go adventuring with them.
Whilst the factions are based in Jorvik, most of the quests and monsters are located outside of its walls, and this is where the adventures take place. Each square-shaped area has a name to distinguish it from the next and the further away the player ventures from the city, the harder the bestiary gets. These areas are nicely rendered but some are a little garish, whilst others I find far too dark, but that's just my personal preference. Each area has a way-gate which once found can transport you to your faction headquarters and back again, meaning you don't have to run through previous areas.
There is a wealth of award-winning short stories throughout the game, designed to give background to the various characters and items. They can be collected and added to the faction bookshelf which will give bonuses to the character's attributes. Reading them is entirely optional however.
Since I acquired this game shortly after its release in 2007, I've still not actually managed to finish it, so I can't tell you anything about how it ends. However it is immensely replayable - I have started over many times with different character classes to experience different aspects of the game. Another nice aspect of this game is that it can be played in a window as well as full-screen, meaning it is easy to sneak a quick five minutes of play-time without slow loading times. The game has also won awards such as "RPG of 2007" from GameTunnel, as well as an award for one of its short stories. The game has a small modding community (which is strongly encouraged by the developers) and there are a number of mods directly linked to on the Soldak website, as well as a number of update patches.
Soldak Entertainment provide a demo of the game on their website, making it easy to "try before you buy". Hack and slash fans are almost guaranteed to be hooked from the start!
You play as a faction leader protecting the barbarian city, Jorvik, by destroying threatening monsters and completing quests. At the same time, you compete with rival factions to see who will rule the city. Barbarians choose their leaders by fighting to the death!