Griftlands Review

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Watch at: 00:00 / 00:00:20at times it seems like griftlands istrying to see how many good ideas it canstuff into itself without explodingstrategic deck building combat checkan addictive roguelike loop yupmultiple story lines with compelling rpgelementsWatch at: 00:20 / 00:40aha visual novel goodness with sociallinksthat too even more incredibly thishodgepodge of awesome componentscrammed together into one game createssomething utterly uniqueand enduringly memorableWatch at: 00:40 / 01:00grift lands is a deck building roguelikein the same vein as genre standouts likeslay the spire and monster trainthe underlying idea of earning randomcards battle by battle until you loseand do it all over again is the same butthe main way griftlands distinguishesWatch at: 01:00 / 01:20itself from those gamesis that each of its three campaignstells a substantial storyand for the most part they're allexceptionalwhether i was playing a mercenary on aquest for revengea retired soldier turned double agentwho's playing both sides of a rebellionor a blackout drunk slacker who's beendisowned by his familyWatch at: 01:20 / 01:40griflands's three distinct playablecharacters are all looking out fornumber oneand no one around them is innocent orwithout ulterior motivesin the midst of this chaotic hive ofruthlessness and double crossesyou've got to learn quickly or becomeanother sucker added to the pile ofcorpsesa perfect setup for a conflict heavyWatch at: 01:40 / 02:00roguelike if i've ever seen onethere was always something pushing me tocomplete each runor at least get to the next major plotdevelopmentmy favorite character smith is anidiotic carousing two-legged dumpsterfire of a personwith practically no redeeming qualitiesso i really related with himWatch at: 02:00 / 02:20his story centers around redeeminghimself for a life wastedand the disco elysium-esque way in whichhe couldn't care less about anyone oranything around himwas the ideal backdrop for my heartlessplottingfiguring out a strategy to make theWatch at: 02:20 / 02:40right friends and mitigatealso known as murdering my enemiescontinues to bring me no end of joythe general outline of each campaignfollows its same storyline each timebut the exact missions you're sent onthe characters involvedand the random encounters you stumbleupon vary so that no two runs are quiteWatch at: 02:40 / 03:00the sameeven after completing all three thetongue-in-cheek fantasy world of conartists and thugsgoofy personalities and hilariousdialogue were all just more reasons totryjust one more run even when i got myteeth knocked in at higher difficultiesadding to the already substantial amountof charm is grifland's hand-drawnWatch at: 03:00 / 03:20saturday morning cartoon style and thebizarre looking aliens and humans thatshare the worldvoice acting is done through a sims likegibberish languagemeaning you'll be reading a lot but atleast the soundtrack is every bit ascatchy as you'd hopefrom a game you're expected to spend alot of time running through again andagainWatch at: 03:20 / 03:40what makes griftlands especiallyinteresting is that victory is not allabout stabbing people in the frontconfrontation comes in two deliciousflavors social encounters callednegotiationsand turn-based battles both of whichWatch at: 03:40 / 04:00require you to curate and upgrade theirown specific deck of cardsbattles are very similar to slay thespire and equally challenging andreplayablewhere you and any allies or pets youmight have knock the snot out of allmanner of beasts robots and fellowgriftersWatch at: 04:00 / 04:20because combat and grift lands can bebrutally challenging on higherdifficultiescreating the perfect mixture ofdefensive cards offensive cardsstatus effects and items is essentialfor survivalin one playthrough with sal the soldieri stacked upcards that caused bleed damage to drainmy opponent's healthwhile in another i used smith's bizarreWatch at: 04:20 / 04:40ability to regenerate health by gettinghammered and hurting himselfto create an unstoppable rampagingdrunken ogrenegotiations on the other hand arecomplex contests of witswhere you use persuasion and coercionWatch at: 04:40 / 05:00cards to whittle down the enemy's coreargumentin an almost incomprehensible flurry ofstatus effectslike a modifier that makes it harder towin if you have a reputation for beingviolent or untrustworthysimilar to battles there are multipleapproaches for getting your opponent tosee things your wayWatch at: 05:00 / 05:20you can focus on domination cards whichuse threatsinsults and coercion or you can tryinfluence cards which use swaggerpersuasion and tactnegotiations arguably have even morestrategy than battles thoughbecause all of those status effectsrequire you to continually re-evaluateyour planswhich could be fun or a bit annoyingWatch at: 05:20 / 05:40depending on the circumstancesbut if you lean too hard into combatinstead you'll make a lot of enemiesand that's a great way to get yourselfkilled in a place where everyoneremembers your bad choicesso even though each campaign can bebeaten in a few hours if you're good orluckythe sheer replayability of grift landsWatch at: 05:40 / 06:00is staggeringthere are tons of unlockables modifiersand alternate game modeslike one that cuts out the storyentirely and gets you right to theactionas with most deck building games you'llalso unlock prestige difficulties witheach new tier you've conqueredand gain access to new cards for thenext run so the challenge doesn't stopWatch at: 06:00 / 06:20at your first victorythis ingenious blend of rpg mechanics ofvisual novel style storytellingand deck building roguelike gameplay isa beautiful recipe for a kind of game iWatch at: 06:20 / 06:40never knew i wantedeven though i've already spent the pastweek getting through each of grifland'scampaigns multiple timesi'm still looking forward to my next runand the run after thatcampaigns are short and challengingmaking them highly replayable andmemorable adventures that reward yourtimeit's kind of absurd that such aneclectic group of mechanics workWatch at: 06:40 / 07:00together in such harmonybut once you're bitten by their charmsit's quite hard to put griftlands downfor more check out our reviews of curseof the dead gods and returnaland for everything else stick with ign

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  1. Klei remains a seal of quality among indie devs, 30 hours in and still so much to do and see. Fans of the genre and curious bystanders alike, don't sleep on this one!

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