The very famous house Asmodée Éditions, to which we owe among others Jungle Speed, Les Aventuriers du Rail and Catania, has decided to adapt one of these most demanding board games: Gloomhaven. What is the board game worth in video game version?
Used to adaptations from board games to video games, Asmodée Digital today invites us to immerse ourselves in Gloomhaven. Renowned for being a game as fun as it is complex to learn, Gloomhaven is a board game that combines RPG (Role Playing) and card games. Between the richness of the scenario, the gameplay mechanics and the ambitions of the title, all the elements seem together to make this adaptation a real success.. What about once the game is launched?
Demanding, but interesting gameplay?
Be forewarned, Gloomhaven is as demanding as the board game can get. This RPG / dungeon crawler allows you to play up to four characters (solo or multi) with the objective of clearing dungeons from enemies there. For this you will have to turn-based combat using cards that allow you to either move, attack, or perform a special action. Managing your deck is essential to master the game since the exhaustion of your cards means game over, just like seeing the HP of your characters drop to 0. That’s all for the basic operation. For the rest, it’s about discovering the different characters and their respective decks in order to become aware of the depth of the gameplay. While some Mercenaries are easy to play (especially the Brute and the Villain), others offer a real challenge and make Gloomhaven a game far removed from the RPG for beginners.
Once the basic mechanics are well mastered, you will be able to explore the very RPG elements of this opus which are the items, equipment, buff / debuff, etc. In Gloomhaven everything revolves around your card management, but also that of your gold. Forget about the games where you amass enough gold to buy 8 houses in a few hours. In this title, every piece of gold is crucial and must be spent wisely to acquire THE most useful piece of equipment, THE saving potion or THE buff that will allow you to win victory. A gameplay that is quite deep and difficult to learn, but which will delight fans of the genre.
Gloomhaven: A nice artistic direction, but without dazzling
In my opinion, the artistic direction of this Gloomhaven is symptomatic of the main problem with the game, it’s nice, but without standing out from the crowd. The cel-shading rendering sticks well to the universe of the title, the animations are fluid, the different backgrounds are well detailed, the copy is clearly mastered. Despite everything, nothing gives Gloomhaven its own identity, sowe have more the impression of being in front of a good reproduction, than in front of an original work. Another major downside, the game suffers from a great lack of diversity in the enemies and dungeons offered, result: we do not find the spark of exploration that is usually the heart of dungeon crawler like Diablo II or Baldur’s Gate.
The Gloomhaven Storyline: Chance Without Surprise
From the launch of the game the tone is set, as in the original game, you will have to develop a troop of mercenaries through a succession of more or less interesting missions. If the concept is declined rather well in board game, it is unfortunately too redundant in video game. Although the first missions of the game are refreshing, we quickly find ourselves chaining more or less similar quests based on “Go here to eliminate all enemies”. Nothing new for a dungeon crawler, you might say, but the lack of originality in the missions, combined with the lack of diversity of enemies and dungeons makes the whole quite off-putting in the long run.
Co-op mode: A real success?
The biggest achievement of Gloomhaven is to have managed to make the co-op mode a real plus over the solo experience.. Finally, as in the board game, which is played with friends, this video game developed by Asmodée Digital especially appreciated by several. Whether you’re playing 2, 3, or 4, the adventure dimension takes on a whole different turn when you try to coordinate combined actions with your teammates rather than alone in your corner. In addition, the Mercenaries having their own objectives and secret side missions, playing in a group adds an additional dimension to manage depending on whether your friends decide to cooperate or not.
The demanding and atypical gameplay
The co-op mode that really adds something
Loyalty with the original board game
The rather monotonous universe
Lambda artistic direction
Lack of diversity of enemies / dungeons
If Gloomhaven has very good aspects, it is clear that it struggles to offer a real experience worthy of what one expects from a dungeon crawlers / RPG. Just as it is not easy to adapt a game to the cinema, an excellent board game does not guarantee an excellent adaptation into a video game. Even if the title may interest the most demanding players (and ready to find a team to play in coop), Gloomhaven may well have trouble attracting the general public. For the more curious, know that the title will be released on October 20 on Steam.