To buy or not to buy?
Official review by Duncan70 on May 22, 2011 at 11:54pm
Not the greatest backdrop

For most people who hear the name "Garshasp" it doesn't really mean much, however if you are interested in Persian mythology then you will know that "Garshasp" is in fact the name of a legendary monster-slaying hero. If you have played God of War then you will know exactly what type of game this is and what works in a genre of this type and what doesn't. Unfortunately for Garshasp, most of the features included just do not work, or at least are implemented poorly enough for them to have a negative effect on the gameplay. However, although there is a long list of negative things to say about this game the key point to remember is that it is independently developed. This means there was no huge budget for the small team of talented individuals who took on this ambitious project and therefore there should be some leniency given to the finished game, but whether that means you should buy the game is another story altogether.

If you are someone who gets easily frustrated then this is definitely not for you. I can't even begin to express how many times I have been killed through no fault of my own, these un-avoidable deaths range from falling rocks that you have no way to dodge, to stepping near water that kills you instantly without mercy or warning. You may also get frustrated with the storyline, it is very brief and you will find it extremely hard-pressed to try and feel for the character throughout the course of the game. You are heavily punished for trying to explore the world, it's an extremely linear game that stops you exploring with instant death in various forms.

Although the combat is adequate on a basic level, you will often find your weapon slicing through enemies without it registering, giving the combat a lacklustre impact that really shouldn't be the case. The roll mechanic could also use a few tweaks, there is a noticeable delay in rolling that usually leads to you being hit by the very thing you are trying to avoid because you have yet to roll away. The combat does gradually improve, as eventually you gain access to a second weapon, offering a different set of combos and animations. The more you fight with a specific weapon, the higher your experience level becomes with it, unlocking more combos that help to make the combat more varied and interesting. Some of the higher level unlockable combos even give the combat a little weight behind it and making it more enjoyable, but at the back of your mind you will feel like it's still missing something to give it that wow factor that some games manage to create with their combat systems.

With any game in this genre, the boss fights play a key role in your opinion of just how good the game is, unfortunately Garshasp does not do well in this area. You encounter a handful of interesting looking boss fights throughout your travels, each time you are put into the exact same situation regarding combat and how to defeat them. You simply block and dodge their attacks, and in between you hack away at the nearest limb on offer. Although this may be an obvious description of a boss fight, there really is no variation to each fight - with the final boss and climax of the story being one of the most underwhelming boss fights I have ever experienced. I offer a warning to you now in case you play this game - there are some serious issues involving invisible walls that have killed me just as many times as anything else in this game (it is most noticeable in the very first boss fight, around 10 minutes into the game).

Visually, it doesn't do too badly in comparison to most other aspects of the game, it provides a genuinely interesting looking setting that has its own feel and doesn't appear that similar to many other games out there. Although the graphics are not as shiny and polished as you would expect from a big budget game studio they are nice enough to fit in well into this scenario, although there are some issues you will notice with how the locations change from desert city to tropical jungle in just a few meters. The camera style used in this game is another of the big issues you will encounter during your journey, there is no way to control it and although sometimes it works well to show off the exotic landscapes and approaching challenges you await, it generally falls short of being useful and tends to annoy and hinder you, especially in certain combat situations where enemies could be off the screen entirely. Cutscenes are pre-rendered and have their own unique graphical charm about them and they look pretty high budget for an independent developer. However they are used poorly and often take you out of the immersion of the game for no reason which tends to stop the flow of the game, and I feel that if half of them were not in the game there would be no real difference.

Despite this game being independently developed it still feels that the finished product is a little rough in various places and that a few more months could have fixed most of these issues. However this game is no doubt hugely ambitious considering these facts, with credit definitely being deserved for what has been achieved here under the circumstances. If you want a game that feels and plays in a similar vein to games such as God of War and Dante's Inferno then you might want to consider this game, but you have to bear in mind that this doesn't have the same length, visuals, combat depth or gripping story that the higher budget counterparts can offer you. However if the price drops and a patch or two is added, then it might be worth a look if you can see past the issues you will no doubt experience through the 4 to 5 hours gameplay on offer.

Interesting monsters are one of the few good things to be found
Verdict
Game-Debate
Award
6
/10
Mediocre
Cons
  • Boss Fights
  • Story
  • Bugs and invisible walls
Pros
  • Unique setting
  • Interesting enemies
  • Some of the visuals
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