Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

Preview: Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

I spent 30 minutes at Summer Game Fest with A44’s Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn and was eager for the entire game by the end of the demo. Thankfully, it won’t be long before it launches, but for now, I’m committed to experiencing the follow-up to the Ashen, as it was a blast to experience.

I’ll say that I was impressed by what I played, and I understand it must be nerve-wracking to showcase your new game to the world. However, I found a genuinely exciting Soulslike with some minor issues that could be ironed out by launch. It would help if you also considered how many games are available these days, which means you must have a genuinely exciting game to offer people.

Flintlock’s Potential Is On The Cusp

My demo was somewhere around the beginning of the campaign, based on what A44 told me. I had access to a good chunk of the open world, and many skills were at my disposal, so I immediately began testing out the combat and trying my best to acclimate quickly. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is set in a gunpowder fantasy world, so you should expect a mixture of melee, muskets, and pistols to be the show’s star.

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Right off the bat, the aesthetic is something you’ll pay attention to as it is unique and a highlight – it’s also something you rarely see or have seen in the past.

You play as Nor Vanek, a member of the Coalition army, where she is accompanied by a mystical fox-like companion named Enki. Enki assists in combat by engaging enemies and pointing out objects within the world. Together, you work on stopping Uru, an invading god hellbent on taking over your world with armies of undead at their disposal.

Combat’s got some meat on its bones

Nor’s adept in battle, and with help from Enki, there’s nothing they can’t achieve together. My task for the demo was to head to the city of Sibyl, which was a lot more complicated than I had anticipated. The Soulslike structure is apparent as winding pathways and branching routes readily shave time off your revisits.

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I went toe-to-toe with several undead mobs that, surprisingly, were formidable (I had bumped the difficulty up at the start). Nor’s agile as she can dodge, parry, and strike on a moment’s notice. It’s all familiar once you get into the thick of things and actively deal damage to enemies. It’s also a ton of fun to match. With the help of Enki, Nor can summon the fox to attack enemies or suspend them in the air while Nor deals damage to them. The pairing works well; using Enki to mix things up in combat is fun. After speaking to a few other media folk in attendance, I noted that they weren’t aware of how to use Enki, but I can’t confirm if it was indicated to them just how to use Enki.

See, Enki is used to build the stagger gauge against enemies. It’s something I had to learn quickly. Still, once it was made apparent, I had an easier time managing enemies as I actively staggered them by building up the stagger meter and then devastating the undead around Nor.

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Nor’s musket helps flesh out melee combos but requires manual reloading with the press of the A button. I had issues getting the timing down because enemies would not let up, and I’d struggle to focus on active reloading and dodge enemies flinging themselves at Nor. Overall, what I experienced shows that there’s a decent arsenal available to players. You can approach any situation with a suite of tools and come out of it feeling powerful.

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Exploration has potential, but it wasn’t memorable

I appreciate the feature that allows you to build a multiplier for your XP currency, called via Reputation. The more tasks you complete, the higher the multiplier becomes. You can claim it by holding the corresponding button, or if you die, you’ll need to go back to where you died.

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As much as I enjoyed combat, I was underwhelmed with the world. It doesn’t have a lot of memorable areas, and the places I explored were sand-covered and dull. Sure, that’s how it probably is in the desert, but a bit more colour would go a long way. However, I am excited to explore more of the world once the game is out next month.

My limited time with Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn left me curious to learn more. I liked my demo a lot; it was short and sweet, but with a larger serving, I feel like it could be one of my top games this year.