Dolmen is a project similar to the spirit of the Brazilian team at Massive Work Studio and comes at a time when the market is busy: the genre is growing thanks to the Elden Ring, but it is even harder to establish itself with competitors investing in this category. . After all, how do you stand out in the middle of so many sentences?
Independent play is far from the technical quality of large AAA projects, but it manages to entertain a player who is going to go all the way. The evolution of complexity is known and the enemies are getting stronger with each passing hour of the game.
Unfortunately, certain functions are disturbed during the experience, such as poorly adjusted hit-box and very artificial movements of the protagonist or monsters. This is a daring game that may mean a successful future based on the ideas presented to the studio, but overall it is quite simple, with poorly designed graphics and not-so-accurate gameplay.
Dolmen’s story begins when a player is ordered to visit the planet Revion Prime to discover the mysterious incidents that occurred when the dolmen crystal was misused. There, scary creatures try to destroy the commander until he finds the truth behind the events.
A positive point for the story to cover the elements of science fiction and cosmic horror, which is less explored in this genre. Monsters, bosses and the environment really give a sense of agony and a certain level of terror. The design struck a nail in the head in this regard.
The narrative of the game slightly deviates from the pattern used by soul-like games. In general, in titles like The Surge, Elden Ring, and Bloodborne, players have an overview of training and the environment for a single purpose. Then the characters have a small part in shaping this world. In Dolmen, however, the story unfolds differently.
According to the game developers, the player’s job is similar to that of a firefighter who receives a call to put out a fire. When he goes to the scene and immediately resolves urgent situations, he discovers other, bigger issues that need to be addressed. In Dolmen it is mainly as follows: a crystal examination is required first; Eventually, the player encounters a world that unfolds in the midst of an alien war.
On the one hand, the narrative pushes the player to discover the details of the configuration of the universe, but it works for those who are looking for intelligent data that is scattered across scenarios. Anyone who is bothered to go from the beginning to the end of the game will easily feel lost.
The problem itself is that the narrative elements are very superficial. Naturally, the story is not a strong point of approval of the soul, but the impression remains in Dolmen that the events are not related to each other and it is resolved only if the player tries to understand in depth through search.
Game of ups and downs
The power of soul-like titles is the gameplay, and Dolmen also bets on it. However, Massive Work Studio’s game experiences ups and downs, delivering good moments but also problems that are not easily solved.
Speaking of degrees specifically, the game is quite fair. The player follows his evolution throughout the adventures and is able to collide with more powerful enemies. It is very interesting to see the first bosses and compare them to the last ones as they are much more complex and challenging.
The gameplay still gives a very easy to understand system, mainly due to the weakness of the mechanics. The player can invest in three elements (ice, fire and poison) and, according to the attributes, they grow to get more damage from enemies.
The hero level menu has a very simple explanation and it is appealing to those who are not accustomed to the much information that soul-like titles usually provide. Do not worry even in Dolmen! There are no scattered items, consumables, or accessories in the world that a player will never use, but it all ends with collecting raw materials for equipment and weapons.
Massive Work Studio was inspired by Remnant: From the Ashes and introduced remote weapons into the game. The mechanics work properly and bring an additional strategy characteristic of shooting energy management and the need to mix combat combat using special equipment.
Dolmen positive points, unfortunately, do not reduce the severity of the negative elements, especially since these are situations that hurt the sink. As a game where control responsibility and character management are essential, the game has inaccurate hit-box and artificial movement.
The use of defensive mechanics hopes it will work, as it seems impossible to determine the exact time of perfect Paris. In addition, the range of enemy attacks is reached even when the player completes an accurate avoidance. Because of these limitations, it is almost mandatory to choose Performance Mode to play at 60 FPS to reduce this frustration rather than favoring 4K graphics mode and beam tracking at 30 FPS.
While the gameplay is simple in terms of items, it is also shallow in research. There is no incentive to explore dolmen secrets as the benefits are raw, which is usually found naturally on the main road of the game. However, the adventure follows an almost linear structure that lasts for a maximum of 12 hours.
Finally, the movement of the characters is often quite superficial, as if they were sliding into scenarios. This affects the hero’s control and how the player can approach the battles, breaking the sink.
Sure, Massive Work Studio dared to dream project and make it ambitious and big, but the limitations are very clear. The soundtrack is almost non-existent, appearing only at specific moments, as in boss battles. In research, music will take away tea – which can easily contribute to the cosmic horror atmosphere seen in Dead Space.
The multiplayer, while present, follows the structure of open rooms so that players can join forces with the bosses face to face. The co-op option is only available at this time, although unfortunately there were no open rooms or players during the testing period.
And of course, the graphics were below the expected title for the PlayStation 5. The geometric shapes are very elementary and it often feels like Dolmen’s artistic elements were meant for the PS3.
Dolmen: Is it worth it?
Brazilian production has its high and low levels, but it is lower than the expectations and expectations created by the latest trailers. While sci-fi horror science fiction is very good and a soul-like simple game may appeal to players, technical limitations, short duration, and small incentives for learning greatly aggravate the scales.
The situation is further aggravated when viewing the title on the PlayStation Store for Rs 199.50. If you are a fan of the genre, it might be worth the wait to see the good ideas implemented by the studio.
Dolmen opens up the trajectory of Massive Work Studio with mixed sensations. This is a bitter taste of what a game is and what it can be. However, it shows that the Brazilian studio has enormous potential and excellent ideas that can become powerful in the near future.