To the end, it starts with a nice and attractive splash screen. It’s been there for a long time, as if what you’re reading is very important. And it reads:
“It’s not until the end. Set your expectations and assumptions aside. The battle is intentional. You can lose your sword, run out of supplies, bleed and die. Reading, reacting, and staying calm It is important.”
All of them sounded very exciting to me. And that’s not a lie. Unto the End is not a platformer that looks like a screenshot. It’s slow, it’s dark, and it’s bloody. It’s like a Souls game.
Let’s disassemble it a little. Unto the End is a kind of Viking, Norse warrior, or Celtic warrior (a hairy and muscular person in a fairly frozen land), a game about adventure. It’s not clear. Clear either. The game begins with a wife and child saying goodbye to Stoic. There are no words. You just turn around.
You run sideways until you come across a cave, fall into a cave, and then I think I try to find a way back from there. You really don’t know why. You move from side to side, jump, climb a little-up to a slightly higher ledge-and you fight. Fighting is really interesting, and I now know what it reminds me of: Nidhogg, its noisy but accurate two-sword fighting game.
Like Nidhogg, you attack and block highs and lows, and there is a short animation-tell you to react before the strike. And if you have enough skill to splice some blocks together, you throw your opponent out of balance and open them for a counterattack. But it’s difficult, especially when the enemy’s attack speed increases, as I hope you see in the video I included.
It’s doubly difficult when a lot of things are happening. It’s not uncommon for Unto the End to throw you multiple enemies, and they try to flanking you, one on each side of you. This is a nightmare to deal with.
However, there are some other tricks. You can barge your shoulders and beat your opponent. You can use evasion roles. You can use this to roll through enemies to the other side. You can throw a dagger.
However, even with those movements, Unto the End cannot be made to work in an undesired way. And it doesn’t want you to hack and slash. There are a few times when you thin out weak enemies in a group fight, but when faced with strong enemies, you will mercilessly punish wild attacks.
Motion accuracy is one of the things I like and dislike about this game. The sword fight looks simple, but it’s actually very compelling in the sense of realism. I love lifelike guards (hey, I learned sword fighting easily for months). It usually even rolls on a block or wall and even drops the sword. Also, if you are attacking with a torch, drop the torch when you need to attack with both hands.
It may not sound like much, but it is the touch of realism that changes the atmosphere of Unto the End. Walking around the cave and fighting feels like an effort, just like in real life. You are not a constantly driven action hero who can fly around constantly. Everything is drawn to this idea. Take the bleeding: it’s not just magically clean. If you see the blood dripping up from the bushy beard after being damaged, you can see that the problem is occurring. If you can’t find a way to harden it, you can even kneel and die. Also, a temporary stop can be fatal.
It can be really annoying. Even Dodge Rolling has its drawbacks: it stays facing in the opposite direction for the beat before facing the opponent. And it will never ease you to the end. From the beginning, it’s a bastard. I died countless times, both in battle and on the go.
Darkness and zoomed out views are useless. In the game, I want you to feel the weight of the darkness of the cave, the perspective and your smallness. But if all the actions seem to be taking place at the bottom of my TV and I have to squint to see what’s going on, that doesn’t make much sense.
Fortunately, it’s not roguelike. There is no penalty for dying I saw. The game fades out, fades in, and is ready to try again nearby. There are also bonfires where you can take a break and explore a thin crafting system by brewing health tonics with collected herbs, sticks and leather, repairing (or crafting) armor to increase protection.
Bonfire has another interesting feature that allows you to practice your sparring skills outside the idyllic country house or return to the memories of a peaceful campfire with both your wife and children. .. Again, I have no words, but I believe it’s a way to backfill the game and slowly explain what you’re actually doing there.
In this little moment, I feel some hope for Unto the End and can melt the dark, intrusive look. I need to go deeper. But God, it’s a painstaking task. I don’t know if I want to.