I've played plenty of Diablo-style games, games filled with endless hours of dungeon grinding and loot collecting. I'll be honest: They're not usually my thing. I like a little more variety in my adventure and not such a linear experience. When I was asked to take a look at Mythos, a "new" (read: older title that is receiving a re-do) game that is currently in closed beta, I was pretty skeptical. After all, I've played this style of game before and enjoyed it in Torchlight and others, and the developers are adding on an MMO element to it now.

This could mean a few things.

First, the game could be a horrible, buggy mess that would turn me off instantly. Or second, it could be something completely charming and different that could work really well as an MMO. Which did I find?

Click past the cut and I promise to tell you.

I have to say from the very beginning that graphically this game hits me in the sweet spot. It's a stylized, chunky romp through fantastic color choices and tight art design. I love how this game looks. My character -- just look at him. Yes, I want to say "cute" when describing him, but the better term would be "compact." He has little pockets and weapons and perfectly fitting armor and clothing. Everything about the characters in Mythos, from the huge Cyclops to the much smaller Goblins, feels right. Yes, there are going to be the standard World of Warcraft comparisons, but this is something different. I'm not really sure where to place it, but there's something familiar yet very different about all of the models in Mythos.


"One of the most enjoyable parts of my experience was my attempt to find cool things for my little guy to wear. I would try on different items and find myself dreaming of what he might look like at higher levels."

One of the most enjoyable parts of my experience was my attempt to find cool things for my little guy to wear. I would try on different items and find myself dreaming of what he might look like at higher levels. He looked very tough but fast. I rolled a rogue-type character, one who uses blades to slice up his foes. I tinkered around with different weapons, though, like a pistol -- just to make him look cool.

Mythos allows you to have these type of mix-and-match characters. While the pistol choice was not the best one, I truly enjoyed it the most. I held some kind of wicked-looking butcher's tool in the other hand and would pull the mobs and critters with a shot or two from my gun and then chop them up when they got closer. It was truly a blast. I was not expecting to be able to equip or use almost anything I picked up in a dungeon-grinder. I kept thinking that I was missing something or doing something wrong by using different weapons than my class normally might demand.

This variety in gameplay seems to be achieved through the simple, yet effective, skill tree. There are your standard class choices, like sped-up blade attacks or various combat buffs, but then I spied sections of the tree that allowed me to create pets to fight alongside me. On top of that, you can mix and match these skill tree choices to make for some pretty wacky combinations. It's not that we haven't seen this type of skill tree design before but that the combination of equipment, looks, abilities, and twitchy combat makes for a game that is a tweaker's dream. Even crafting is done in a similar fashion. As you become better at crafting items, you gain more points to put into different types of crafting. I started to go for blade crafting then realized that I could do different types of armor for different locations on the body, on and on until I felt a bit overwhelmed.

This feeling of confusion could have something to do with the fact that I do not normally care about such things as perfect DPS or ability, but it's actually fun in Mythos to hunt after these special items and abilities. I wanted my character to get better and to look cooler. I can't explain it, really, but it all worked out and sucked me in. I know for a fact that I have a lot more to explore in the game.

Combat is, of course, what it's all about. You jump into a dungeon, kill a bunch of baddies, and get out. This is the standard for a reason... it's easy to implement, and players seem perfectly content to grind dungeon after dungeon as long as they continue to find shinies. While you can repeatedly return to the same dungeons over and over in Mythos, each new dungeon looks different or offers slightly different challenges. Just as I thought I was getting used to the challenge level and solo ability, and just as the chat was talking about perfecting characters (which I laughed at while I read it), I found myself literally being chomped to death by giant ants in the next dungeon I stepped into. Literally, I teleported in and was destroyed -- and this was a dungeon that an NPC sent me to!


"Do I go back and get another pistol, despite the fact that it's obviously not the best choice for my class? (But it's so cool!) Do I try to finish up every dungeon I come across, making sure to sift through the very sand for any missing jewels or goodies?"

It humbled me quite a bit. I decided to go back and level some more, and that's when I arrived at this point. Do I go back and get another pistol, despite the fact that it's obviously not the best choice for my class? (But it's so cool!) Do I try to finish up every dungeon I come across, making sure to sift through the very sand for any missing jewels or goodies? Do I learn more about crafting and make myself an awesome new set of rags?

This is only closed beta, so I have time. The game runs remarkably well and not only provides the standard dungeon-grinder isometric view but also allows players to go to an "MMO" view to control the game with standard controls. There are some bugs, plenty of broken translations, and weird NPC chatter, but otherwise the game is tight and ready to go. I can't wait to see what the devs might sell in the cash shop, if they do, and I can only dream about setting up my little blade-swinger with some killer cash-shop items.

I'm thinking he needs to be a little cuter.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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