My experience with tabletop RPGs is minimal. The only experience I’ve had over the years is watching my cousin and his friends who played Warhammer 40,000 with hundreds of miniatures. The only video game I’ve played which seems similar is For The King, a tabletop RPG with roguelike elements. Now, Resolution Games has seemingly bridged the gap with Demeo, a cross-platform experience for up to four players.
With the PlayStation VR2 launching this week, publishers are gearing up and offering a sizeable launch library for early adopters. Demeo is easily one of the more interesting titles to launch this week and given how much of a resurgence Dungeons and Dragons has seen in recent years, there is no better title that makes sense for newcomers.
Things have improved since Demeo launched a few years ago. Instead of one or two adventures for players to experience, you now get five fully-fleshed-out stories. To get through these five stories, select your class for your adventure. You can pick from hunter, sorcerer, assassin, guardian, bard, warlock, or barbarian, who all come with their own abilities and skills.
In some of the levels, the objective is to fight your way through the enemies and find the key that will open the way to the centre of the labyrinth, where you find the final boss, surrounded by lackeys. Both heroes and enemies are represented by pawns that move in turn like on a board; you can hit the monsters in close combat by physically moving your miniature onto that of an enemy, or by using one of the available cards. These are an integral part of the game mechanics and there are different types: some are of universal use, such as strength or vitality potions, while others are class-specific.
In most cases there is a small element of chance, you need to roll a 12-sided die with several different outcomes — one side for a critical hit, one side for a critical miss, and all the sides represent a normal hit. It doesn’t happen often but rolling a critical is always satisfying.
Instead of spending magic, you’ll spend one of the two actions available to complete your turn, making it not always viable when and how to use your turn. In many cases it happens that you might be facing a swarm of enemies, either because we always end up being outnumbered or because our heroes have very few life points; moving carelessly and finding yourself surrounded can very quickly lead to being knocked down. This doesn’t mean direct game over, however, because if your allies catch up within a couple of turns, they can get you back on your feet. Some actions may require both points to deliver a powerful follow-up and sometimes this is the best path forward.
The best part about all of this is you freely pick and place your character in a corresponding place on the map. Enemies also follow suit and so do treasure chests, barricades, and doors. It’s a smartly implemented way to interact with these pieces in front of you and it’s all so responsive with some incredible tactile feedback. Maps are dynamically generated and will often challenge the player to stay engaged with the events unfolding in front of them.
Demeo is about the friends we made along the way
I should mention that while Demeo is playable solo, you’ll appreciate it a lot more with friends. Teamwork is crucial, often requiring you to socialize and plan with the other players on what tactics to adopt for each fight.
I found all most classes to be enjoyable, and they lend themselves to styles of play that are as diverse as they are traditional. I’ve always preferred playing as the tank because it really has one task — cover the team and reinforce your armour every turn to absorb as many hits as possible. The assassin begins to present some interesting tactical aspects, as hitting a monster from behind grants extra damage; the mage and his spells, require careful planning regarding when to utilize your arsenal of spells. Choosing the assassin or hunter might be a tougher choice because they have a lower damage output than a mage, and to be effective rely on skills and environmental elements.
Given this is a PlayStation VR2 port of Demeo, let’s talk about how it handles the new hardware. In short, it not only handles like a dream, but it offers a simple and entertaining implementation of its systems. Many of the gestures you’ll be using are intuitive like using the Sense controllers to zoom into the map, offering you a way to see things from a new perspective.
Demeo is a great addition to the PSVR2 roster, one that I’m thankful exists as it allows me to experience a hobby I’ve never had in a way the child in me would lose his mind in. There’s some great level design, fun action cards, seven classes to experiment with, and a solid social game to experience. While I don’t think this is a game for everyone, Demeo is a solid starting point for tabletop RPGs and it comes in an engaging and interactive format.
[A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PSVR2