Relevant for platform: PC
Among the games created by one person, there are often small and sometimes large masterpieces. Dark bestiary from Ivan Karlashenko – not a masterpiece, but I would recommend all fans of turn-based RPGs to at least familiarize themselves with this. Let me explain why.

The power of a word. And delirium

Purely externally, and also in the presentation, Dark bestiary, as you can see for yourself, really doesn’t make any claims. Everything is spartan, but at the same time not scary. Well, there’s a picture with some numbers – and okay. And then there’s the text, presented without any visual excess, but it’s just scary – with how juicy and atmospheric the main character’s madness is portrayed, which made him follow in the footsteps of the Man in Black. Here, read it yourself.
Graphomania, and even with punctuation errors? May be. But in any case, such a text plunges you into the atmosphere. And so, we come to the “dilapidated village” in the appropriate mood. And there, one meets dark and not particularly talkative people who, by a happy coincidence, are the owner of a tavern, a merchant, an alchemist and a blacksmith-craftsman. As they say, everything is for you, lovers of “roguelikes” and RPGs.

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It is from here that we make forays into the surrounding forests and fields, where we meet evil spirits, werewolves, ghouls, resurrected stones, bald fairies, deep monsters, widowers afflicted, living dead and other evil spirits. And also – a strange hunter who fell victim to the same madness as us. At first he hides from us, then he helps, but in the end he falls under the witch’s curse. As you play, new themes emerge in the dialogues with the villagers.

Dark Bestiary game review

People here are gloomy, but they can also laugh. How not to disappear without a pinch of humor?

No (well almost) accidents!

I said above about the “bagel”, but in fact Dark bestiary – not really him. Yes, in hardcore mode a hero’s death is permanent, but all combat outs are hand-made missions with clearly defined conditions, rewards, dialogue, and enemies. Yes, the location of monsters or the properties of altars that give temporary effects can change, but there is no particular randomness.

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And the number of story missions is limited – there are exactly 21. In addition to the campaign, there are also patrols to earn money, scenarios to find treasures (you must first find a map) and a particularly difficult Nightmare mode, which is blocked by default.

Dark Bestiary game review

Completed missions can be replayed.

So in general it’s more of an action / RPG with classic turn-based battles using action points. And it is precisely this certainty of missions that is one of its main advantages. Because there are always difficult survival conditions, which require well-chosen passage tactics. And the fact that there can be many such tactics is the second main advantage Dark bestiary

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Cool mishmash

At first we choose a hero from one of the four classes (warrior, shooter, sorcerer and hunter), but no one will force to develop only certain talents and class skills. On the contrary, the game pushes to combine different things, creating unique character constructions. Fortunately, very often after victories and reaching new levels, in addition to equipment, resources, talent points and characteristics, we have a bunch of skills to choose from, designed for melee, long range and magic, and to summon allies.Dark Bestiary game review

You don’t like the set offered? It can be updated.

As a result, it is tempting to experiment. For example, I had an archer who did light magic and knew how to summon an ice elemental. And I always had to decide – to leave more shooting skills purely or to add more dark magic with the call of the living dead.Dark Bestiary game review

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There are a lot of skills, as you can see, and there are only 10 cells for them.

There are really a lot of skills available, so before each battle you can experiment and change the active set. As a result, different tactics are used in battles. Talents are also allowed to develop in different ways – if, in a conventional way, you bet on an archer hungry for magic, then besides just shooting things, it makes sense to pump witchcraft. It is true that talents, unlike skills, cannot be mixed back and forth.Dark Bestiary game review

The more often we use a given weapon, skill or magic, the more bonuses we get from it.

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It is also important that by developing talents and applying skills, we obtain new titles in relevant fields. In other words, the shooter who causes the blizzard will also become an elementalist. And almost all skills give bonuses if used by a hero of certain ranks of a certain level. For example, when throwing an ice arrow, as a level 3 elementalist, I increased elemental damage by 5%, and as a level 2 sniper, I added a hit chance critical increased by 6%.

Why do we need a blacksmith?

Of course, in Dark bestiary you also have to choose the right equipment, there is trade, the black market, crafting according to recipes, alchemy, the possibility of improving objects by forging, inserting precious stones (if not there are no slits, so you have to create), perform transmutations by mixing different ingredients, stones and things.

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Some write that they hardly used any of this during the story campaign – they say they picked the right build and didn’t blow their heads off. Apparently, I didn’t quite pick the right one, because sometimes I would create something, enhance it, and even engage in transmutations.

Dark Bestiary game review

Many manufacturing operations require that you make certain tools first – inhibitors, stabilizers, and hammers.

But in general, you have to admit that the game is more about the combination of talents and skills, and this whole trade and craft part is less developed. For example, it’s not very clear why spend a lot of money on a new arc with indicators almost like mine and with bonuses mine has as well. And throughout the game, the game gave me such bows, crossbows, muskets and pistols.

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Tactics are the head!

Certainly, all of this is true when it comes to the storyline campaign. But in the more difficult “Patrol” and “Nightmare” modes, you have to use the services of the village craftsmen much more often and in general the opportunities that the game offers. This includes buying food in the tavern, which gives temporary bonuses to health and damage; and the activation of relics that are pumped with you and also “hook” additional bonuses on the character. Dark Bestiary game review

Although in story missions there are some particularly difficult situations and bosses – each of them has their own intricacies here.

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In difficult cases, you need to use tactical abilities and action points correctly. Success here depends less on environmental conditions, and more on understanding when to apply skills (after all, they all have a cooldown), who to strike first, when and where to retreat, and so on.

In this case, we teleported back in time and using a powerful skill got rid of the enemy in one move.

***

As you can see, despite all its minimalism, Dark bestiary offers some pretty rich opportunities in terms of building construction, tactics, skill selection, and all that tactical role-playing kitchen. Everyone who likes it is welcome. While the game, of course, still requires fine-tuning the balance, adding content, etc., this is what the author promised to do when releasing his creation.

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Benefits: advanced mechanics, rich in tactical abilities and character builds; the story is simple (like the whole audiovisual series), but atmospheric; nice music.

Less: the artisan part is worse than the combat and the role; the picture, of course, looks primitive.

Source : The Verge