Publisher: Serenity Forge | Developers: White Rabbit| Release Date: September 21, 2021, | Genre: MetroidVania| Reviewed On PS5
A review was provided by The Publisher
Death’s Gambit was originally released in 2018 and a common criticism was the lack of content. With this re-release entitled, Death’s Gambit: Afterlife that’s not the case, and gives your more weapons, cinematics, and then some.
Here, it plays much like a Metroidvania. Think of the aesthetics of a Koji Igarashi’s Castlevania, but also incorporates gameplay mechanics such as Stamina, Res spawning enemies on saving, and a hard but fair difficulty curve. This means it’s also a Souls-Like. This might be a turn-off for some but is worth it.
Some items allow you to unlock once locked doors and more precise combat compared to your typical Metroidvania.
When you die, you don’t halve your max health or Souls for upgrades, but health plums that allow you to heal. If you feel like where you dropped your plum is too far you can (for a price) do this at a save station.
The game will take around 20 hours to complete If you go through the mainline quest with new mechanics unlocking every so often to keep things fresh.
An issue with the game is the Random Weapon drops which don’t correspond to the class you’ve chosen at the start. This is a common issue when any game with a loot system, but can be alleviated by turning them back into souls which in turn can unlock various abilities.
Another issue is the game’s lack of explanation of abilities or systems. A short demo of the moves to be unlocked would help gauge the usefulness of the moves.
Graphics and Presentation
The graphics are beautiful and less of the Alien-inspired scnes of Metroid, but the horror-inspired fantasy that is the identity of The Castlevania series. They run at 60 FPS and didn’t experience any slowdown, and the load times are fine for a PS5 running on backward compatibility mode. The boss enemies are large with beautiful sprite work. The Voice Acting from the NPCs and enemies are on point, but the strange thing is the Main Character, Soran, is voiceless. I think this was intentional to immerse the player, but to me is a bit distracting.
Death’s Gambit: Afterlife takes place in the Dark Fantasy World of Siradon where you play as a slain soldier Soran who is brought back from the dead by mysterious forces. Here they will figure out what happened to their mother, and fight through the fallen kingdom. The story is well told through a mixture of cut scenes, in-game events, and flashbacks. It is an overall satisfying tale not to spoil anything.
Overall, Death’s Gambit: Afterlife is the definitive version of Death’s Gambit and is worth getting in between the larger releases of the year. You get in-depth gameplay systems, an intriguing story, and a great 2D presentation. What it does is the lack of explanation of those systems and if you don’t like Souls-Likes, this will not change your mind.
Frederick Guese is a video creator and editor at PlayStation Haven. A QA industry vet and has worked at Respawn Entertainment, 2K Games, and Activision-Blizzard. Frederick is working on being a narrative designer, writer, editor, and video producer. You can visit his Twitter, Youtube channel, and Instagram. He’s a big fan of Hideo Kojima games and JRPGs.