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July 2024

Flintlock: The Siege Of Dawn

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Kepler Interactive
Developer: Aurora44
Release Date: July 18, 2024


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PS5/XSX/PC Preview - 'Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 10, 2024 @ 7:00 a.m. PDT

Flintlock: The Siege Of Dawn is an open-world action/RPG where you'll utilize guns, magic and your animal companion to fight for the fate of humanity.

Flintlock follows the story of Nor Vanek, who lives in a horrible world where an endless swarm of undead monsters is flooding in from a door and wreaking havoc on the land. Seeking to stop the tide, she and several of her companions engage on a seemingly suicidal mission to blow up the door. Unfortunately, their mission ends up doing the exact opposite. It disrupts the magical barrier that was keeping the door spewing only undead, and it allows malicious and evil gods to infest the world. Nor's only hope to stand against these gods is a foxlike godling called Enki, who offers his services in Nor's quest to kill the gods and redeem herself.

On the surface, Flintlock skews relatively close to the classic Souls formula. You explore strange lands while seeking out checkpoints to recover and locating items to power up; you have limited flasks; you can block, parry and dodge roll; defeating enemies earns a resource; and if you die, you have to trek back to where you left. It's all something people are familiar with by this point, but Flintlock has its own twists.

Nor has two main methods of attack: Melee and Ranged. For melee, you press the right shoulder button to perform an attack combo, but you can unlock variations like a charge attack. Ranged allows you to shoot the flintlock weapon at an enemy. You can do this at any time, and it even interrupts most enemy's attacks — even unblockable ones, so careful timing can allow you to engage in an unbroken combo string. However, you only have limited shots, and your ammunition is replenished by landing a certain number of melee hits.

Enki, your adorable foxlike companion, also contributes to combat. By default, he can shoot little bolts of energy that build up an enemy's stagger bar. As you level up, you can unlock a lot more for him. He can gain the ability to unleash powerful AoE blasts, string enemies up in mid-air, and even taunt enemies and distract them while you're in the middle of a fight. Mixing together Enki's attacks with Nor's earns bonuses that make them more effective combined than they are alone, and once an enemy's stagger meter is full, you can perform critical attacks that either kill the enemy instantly or remove some of their defensive options, like shields and armor.

Flintlock seems to be aiming for the relatively easier side of Soulslikes. It's still fatal, but you have a lot of advantage. You can attack and dodge as often as you like and have a lot of bonus mobility, including performing dodges in air or make super jumps by igniting a bit of enchanted black powder (of which you thankfully have an infinite supply). You're able to be incredibly aggressive because fewer of your resources are limited, with only the healing potions stopping you from going forward.

Reputation, the currency for buying items and leveling up, is earned by defeating enemies. If you vary your moves and use different skills and abilities, you'll gain reputation bonuses. The more you weave together, the greater the bonus. At any time, you can press left on the d-pad to bank earned resources, including the bonus. If you take damage, you lose all of your earned bonuses and get only the default resources.

This adds an interesting push and pull to combat, and it's a nice encouragement for playing better. If you know a big fight is coming, do you bank your earned resources for safety, or do you try to keep the bonus flowing so the next fight is a massive payday? It means that you even need to be careful around relatively weak enemies because even if they can't do a ton of damage, they can ruin your hard-earned bonus streak.

It seems that there will be quite a lot to do in the game. In a rather nice departure from the standard Soulslike formula, the world you're living in is not inherently doomed. Yes, the zombie hordes are running loose at the command of their evil gods, but you can fight back. If you run into a zombie-infested hamlet, you can fight your way in, defeat the horde leader, and return the hamlet to a livable state. This brings people back and even opens up a coffee shop where you can buy new gear or engage in minigames.

Overall, Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn has the makings of a fun, lighter-than-average Soulslike game. It keeps the same overall violent and deadly combat but balances it with a stronger-than-average protagonist who can effortlessly weave between attacks and shoot incoming monsters in the face. It feels like it will be easier to casually pick up and play, but it will still have enough bite to be interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Flintlock when it comes out later in 2024.

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