Iratus: Lord of the Dead

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In this game you play as Iratus an evil necromancer trying to gain control over the world after being imprisoned for trying to do so once before. Lord of the Dead is a turn-based rogue-like RPG, with a twist on the usual hero saves the world on their trope of pretty much every type of role-playing game. Developed by Unfrozen Studios, it is a tactical RPG with a twist. Iratus is a necromancer, so for every opponent you kill there is an opportunity to build your army of the dead as you progress through the game, using the corpses and body parts of your fallen foes to create a variety of troops to complete your mission of world domination.

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The AI in this game is amongst the best I have come across in most of the games I have played. The way it develops as the game progresses makes you think about your strategy and change it as you play. This makes the game an interesting challenge as no fight is the same and stops it from feeling like you must grind each one out to win each round of combat.

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As you fight your way out of your tomb you can improve your underground lair which in turn offers you improvements for your troops. This is one of my favourite aspects of this game, finding different parts to make a variety of troops, to make “teams” of four to take part in each round of fighting as you progress through each dungeon. The challenge of working out which troops work best against each new group of enemies you come across.

The idea of being the “bad guy” is one of the more interesting aspects of this game, as in pretty much every other game you are the eponymous hero who must save the world/princess/their family. But Iratus is gunning for world domination which brings an interesting challenge to a role-playing game, as you start from a dungeon and work you way out in to the world you’re aiming to claim. This different take on the adventure role playing game is fascinating as it allows players to play as characters usually considered antagonists in other games, this provides different challenges and solutions that a player wouldn’t normally come across. There is a lot of fun to be had playing as Iratus and his armies, it allows you play in a style you wouldn’t normally consider and has you thinking differently to what you might normally.

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Graphically and mechanically this game is not anything to jump up and down about, there aren’t any big cinematic set pieces to admire and it plays like pretty much every other asymmetrical role-playing game, but the prospect of playing as characters traditionally considered to be antagonists layered over a tried and tested formula is enough of a draw for me to enjoy this game. Working out which units worked best together and trying to get “parts” for new and improved units was a decent enough challenge as well. The game was a good challenge to begin with and continued to be as you move through each part of the world, each enemy provides a different challenge and each encounter is rarely like the last and you must change your tactics to deal with every new battle.

Overall, I enjoyed playing this game, as a different take on the dungeon trawling role-playing game, trying to take over the world as the antagonist was different enough to make it fun. Trying out different combination of troops and each battle being unlike the last was enough of a challenge that it didn’t feel like you were having to grind through the game in order to gain the resources that you needed to improve your troops or level up to improve your lair. Outside of that everything seems fairly standard to make this game reasonably enjoyable enough to draw you in for a couple of hours without becoming too stagnant.

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