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Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn Demo Impressions

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Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is a third person action-adventure game from A44, developers of Ashen. Anyone who has played Ashen in the past should expect this game to be similar in design combat wise. It does have a lot of deviations, however, mostly in terms of its movement, deep skill tree, upgrade systems and different combat mechanics that make up the gameplay into something riveting yet challenging.

Forward Unto Dawn

In Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn you play as Nor, a soldier of The Coalition who is tasked with breaking an ethereal wall. The wall was erected by the gods to end a war against the forces spilling from a door behind it. But when the mission goes awry and a devastating god named Uru wipes out your platoon, you are sent flying into a ravine. Nor awakens in the presence of a small assuming fox named Enki. With the assistance of Enki and the survivors of The Coalition, Nor must find her way back to take down Uru and end the war once and for all.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn has a very exciting opening. It does not feel slow at all, and despite some of the tedious tutorials, getting into the action right away was exhilarating. Nor herself is an awesome character as well. Considering she always put the well-being of her squad before her. As well as convincing their leader to send more aid when they were in denial over the situation on the battlefield. The cutscenes are also presented very well, and flow perfectly into gameplay. This is due to the cutscenes being in-engine, and there are no sudden breaks of any kind. Such as fade to blacks or any other weird transitions. It created a seamless narrative experience in a very bombastic opening.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn The gameplay experience is also equally seamless and has a bit of a mechanical issue.

Wielding Gun, Axe, and A Fox in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

In Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn, the gameplay will flow similarly to a souls-like. However, you have to be very careful when attacking and utilize dodging and blocking to avoid taking damage. But where this game sets itself apart is not having stamina. This means you can sprint around, dodge at will, and block as much as you want. However, the game puts some mechanics in place to keep things challenging. Outside of swinging your axe at foes, you will have a pistol that you can use to stagger enemies who try to use an unblockable attack. You will have three bullets and have to refill it by attacking normally.

Where Enki comes into play is mostly with armored foes. You can send Enki to build a meter that when you attack them gets filled up until it eventually breaks that foe’s armor. Utilizing this mechanic can also build an ultimate attack Enki can use. All of these mechanics, including the counterattack system that follows a parry, feel very good. But balancing these mechanics requires a very focused mind. You have to keep track of the red dot to use the pistol. Mix in Enki to strip armor, and counterattack to instantly kill certain enemies. There is a lot to learn, but it all feels unique and fun.

One final mechanic to combat is the bonus “Reputation” you get from killing foes. Every little action you do builds up a bonus that you lose if you get hit. Creating more reward for the risk of not cashing it in. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn feels mechanically different compared to other action games, and I am excited to dive back in when it launches in July.

The Sights of Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

The world in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is fantastically realized. The grit of the battlefield in the opening contrasts with the mysticism in the cave Nor wakes up in afterwards. One thing I was not expecting when exploring the world was finding strongholds. Instead of long-form dungeons, the game opts to having a locked open region with a boss. This requires you to go through it like a dungeon, but once you kill the boss, it becomes liberated, and you find yourself in a town with people and a newly opened shop.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

This is also how you acquire more potions to use and cosmetic outfits. I just found the prices for the outfits jarring considering they almost match the price of upgrades for Nor in both her skill tree and her equipment. But between story beats and the strongholds. You also get to explore linear paths with some paths to take for upgrade materials and more fights. The most excitement I felt exploring was the unique traversal mechanic that Enki has. Where you activate these purple triangles to fly in straight paths to other locations. It feels so cool going from the normal story path to this pillar to acquire an upgrade for Enki and then fly right into a stronghold.

The world feels very realized and very cool to explore. It all flows well, and there are real rewards for exploration.

Sound Design, UI and Performance

I played the demo for Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn on my PC build consisting of a Ryzen 5 5600G, an RX6600, m.2 NMVE SSD, and 16 gigabytes of RAM, and the game very well. Using the Xbox Game Bar performance chart I saw the game holding 50-60fps at 1080p with all settings at ultra. There is a noticeable lack of FSR, so I could not get any performance gains. There was no pop-in and only some stutters when exploding barrels with the pistol. In my two hours in the demo, I did not experience a freeze or a crash, however.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

The world sounds very real too. You can hear the water from puddles as you walk across it, the impact noises from your weapons make combat feel more intense. As well as Enki’s attacks sounding as ethereal as they look.

The UI in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is very minimalist. I actually had to pay attention to my health bar instead of having it eat up a good chunk of the screen. The menus are also very easy to navigate, I just wish the “advanced” settings for graphics were not grayed out. Considering some of the similar settings that cannot be altered are grayed out as well. It would clear up some confusion when navigating the settings to improve performance.

Closing Remarks on Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn looks and plays amazingly. It is very intense, and beautiful. But could use with some streamlining of the many mechanics considering most enemies require 1 or 2 of them, especially the bosses in the demo. It is going to be a lot to digest, and I hope the rest of the game only improves upon what is here in this demo. I highly recommend checking it out and keeping your eyes on the full release next month on July 18th.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn will launch for $39.99 on Steam, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.