Blightbound PC Preview

In Blightbound it takes three to harmonize. Couples and stags unwelcome.

By Fragnarok, Posted 11 Jul 2021

Blightbound is a persistent online three-person dungeon crawler developed by Ronimo Games and published by Devolver Digital. The world is ruled by Titans, almost godlike beings with tremendous powers. Ten years ago, a group of adventurers slew the dreaded Shadow Titan and brought peace. However, from the fallen menace’s corpse leaked a foul essence that slowly engulfed the land, transforming into the Blight. Now, the remains of civilization and its heroes have fled to the mountains and establish the safe haven known as Refuge. Now with newfound resolve, humanity is ready to fight back against the Blight.

Despite Blightbound being an online only game, players can use local multiplayer to join on a single machine or invite others via Steam’s friends list. Once gathered, players take control of one of three classes: warrior, assassin, or mage. The party is always formed with one of each, forbidding more interesting compositions. Warriors and assassins fight up close, while mages use spells at range. Each class has a different secondary ability: warriors can block to lower incoming damage, assassins use finishers after a three-hit combo for bonus damage, and mages can expend mana to heal themselves and anyone nearby. The classes also have different means of dodging: warriors rush forward, assassins roll, and mages instantly teleport. Each individual of a class also has a unique set of two special abilities with cooldown timers and an ultimate move that builds up as more enemies are defeated in a dungeon. 

Blightbound|Devolver Digital|Ronimo Games|Dungeon Crawler

At first, only one character of each class will be available - Malborys the warrior, Scarlet the assassin, and Korrus the mage. But more can be recruited in different levels, hired from the Refuge shop, or found from story quests. Each character has their own unique storyline, which advances by taking them to specific dungeons and battles. Characters are also fully voice acted, though the quality of performance ranges greatly. However, many of the lines include unnecessary campy humor that can clash with the rest of Blightbound’s theme. Sound design is also extremely repetitive, with heroes saying the same three or four lines over and over.

The world of Blightbound will have a few different dungeons available immediately after the prologue tutorial. To make things more dynamic, each area will shift between “Blight Level” which will make enemies stronger or weaker. This gives teams an incentive to go back to older areas. However, this can also interrupt story missions if a particular character needs to head to a place that is at “impossible difficulty”. Players will simply need to go elsewhere for now and come back later. Even if players encounter a grave situation and wind up falling, teammates can revive each other by holding the interaction key. It is only when the entire team is downed that the mission ends in failure and a loss of potential stat increases, though they will retain any treasure.

Blightbound|Devolver Digital|Ronimo Games|Dungeon Crawler

Dungeons themselves are filled with a variety of monsters or other events. Most foes are simple fodder, but many are others elite enemies and strong bosses. Tougher enemies will drop weapons or other gear, while standard money and temporary power ups will be inside barrels and chests. One of these power ups includes mana, which a mage needs to keep the party healthy. Thankfully, any mana picked up by a warrior or assassin will go right to the mage. Each labyrinth may contain puzzles using push blocks, locked doors that require searching for lost keys, or dangerous traps. However the winding dungeon maze can often get confusing due to the small zoomed in map and poor objective markers that don’t specify which quest they represent.      

If players don’t have two other friends to jump into the game with, there is a match making option. Blightbound’s servers are currently located in San Jose (United States), Amsterdam (Netherlands), and Singapore. Like other online games, the further players are from these servers and each other could cause issues, especially to nations within Africa or South America. Players can queue for individual roles, or use a “favorites” option that will randomly select from the last used warrior, assassin, and mage. Even with the early access player base, the population on Steam isn’t very high and it could take over 45 minutes to form a full party. The power gap could also be wide between the three characters; with some having basic gear while others will simply carry the team without challenge. The game uses Steam’s integrated voice chat and a basic text chat, though it has issues with non-Latin scripts and uncommon punctuation.   

Blightbound|Devolver Digital|Ronimo Games|Dungeon Crawler

Another option is to use computer controlled bots. This can even be mixed with other forms of multiplayer for two humans and one AI. Unfortunately, the bots are extremely basic and often exhibit terrible AI. Their movement pathing will cause them to get stuck on terrain, or repeatedly die from traps. Bots are also very bad at assisting with block puzzles, or hitting switches that require cooperation. Once in combat, they will mainly focus on their normal routines of using basic attacks and their two main cooldowns. Bots are very quick to expend their ultimate ability, even if it isn’t necessary in the current situation. 

Unfortunately, the bot characters don’t seem as concerned with defense, often not dodging out of the way of attacks or adequately blocking. Mage characters can be very slow to heal even with ample mana, and will frequently cure themselves without waiting for other characters to gather. Other times, the computer controlled teammates will simply stop altogether, leaving players to fend for themselves, or worse be completely ignored when downed.

Blightbound|Devolver Digital|Ronimo Games|Dungeon Crawler

Blightbound clearly seems designed chiefly for consoles, with the Steam version being secondary. Plugging in a controller will yield a much more intuitive default control scheme with attacks directly on face buttons and fluid movement. With mouse and keyboard, the position of the mouse cursor will direct hits and dodging instead of how the character is facing or moving. However, all attack inputs can be modified. Other small issues include graphical overlaps of characters and menus, and occasionally puzzles not registering completion.   

Blightbound has the foundations of a great multiplayer experience, as long as that includes close and trusted friends. Relying on random match made strangers may degrade one’s enjoyment, and that is if the system can even find players in the right area and level range. Those looking for a single player dungeon crawl should completely disregard Blightbound as a suitable option - the poor bot teammates and lack local save data will only lead to infuriating play sessions.    

Blightbound is scheduled to come out of its early access period on July 27.

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed
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General Information

Blightbound

65/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Devolver Digital
Developer(s): Ronimo Games
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Action, Fantasy, Dungeon Crawler
Release Date: 2021-07-27 (consoles)

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