Dolmen – Dark Souls science fiction

A Soulsborne experience from Brazil that leaves something to be desired technically.

Dolmen is an intriguing example of the current era in which this industry finds itself. As the compelling popularity of Elden Ring demonstrates, we live in a time where the Dark Souls formula has become mainstream and is rooted in all manner of fan-made experiences inspired by the works of the masters. It’s something that’s been going on for many years, but nowadays it seems like the influence of From Software’s ideas is present in a much wider way, from a metroidvania to an action RPG and many more. others.

This work from Brazilian studio Massive Work shows how From Software shapes the imagination of creators around the world and presents you with an intense action RPG, with touches of terror and a difficulty that will demand your full attention. Dolmen claims a lot of things that seem to be directly copied from the works of this Japanese house, mixed with some of its own ideas and an execution that could betray the hopes of this team. Dolmen is a very difficult game, but it still needs polishing and optimization to reach the level you really want.

Despite its humble beginnings, Dolmen is clearly a game coming from a team that wants to go further and perhaps take the first step towards a future in which it is able to deliver more epic experiences. It’s an experience in a sci-fi environment, with Dark Souls-style gameplay, that aims to challenge you through combat and level exploration, with the usual focus on unlocking shortcuts and the feeling that every enemy can defeat you if you don’t care.

Traveling through Revion Prime, a planet full of bugs that want to kill you, means you’ll have to manage your stamina and the hammer buttons won’t work. Choose a character from one of the existing classes, with its specific elements, to enter clashes where you can alternate close attacks and firearms. As you’d expect, several things work together to get that risk-vs-reward tone in Dolmen. Here, energy management is the most important thing, since you’ll have to choose whether you want to use it to fire weapons or activate Energy Mode, which lets you unleash more powerful elemental attacks.

With a level design that forces you to explore every nook and cranny to figure out where to go and where the shortcuts are, Dolmen even forces you to manage your movements for a gameplay intensity that underscores its difficulty. Imagine a Soulsborne experience adapted to a sci-fi setting and you’ll know what Dolmen is right away. Protecting at the right time, counterattacking, dodging attacks that cannot be blocked, and attacking without melting the stamina bar is the core concept of Dolmen which works exactly as intended, challenging and demanding.

Dolmen intrigues with the environment of science fiction and the use of the formula of From Software, it is clearly a work that stems from the fascination that the team feels for these games and which even turns out to be a great asset. There’s the risk of losing XP, the need to think carefully about what skills and buffs you want to unlock to improve the character to suit your playstyle, and all those mechanics you’d expect from a good soul. . However, Dolmen reveals its humble origins in its technical aspect.

It is a game whose visual aspect cannot fully satisfy. From the level design to the monsters, Dolmen isn’t a very pretty game to look at, even played on a console like the PS5. The Brazilian team deserves praise for their efforts on Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, but you won’t end up remembering Dolmen for their visuals. However, more importantly, there is the feeling that Dolmen needs some updates to polish up, to polish up the gameplay. The team seems to have decided to put the feeling of heaviness in order to make the fights slower and more intense, something that takes away from the dynamism of the gameplay.

Dolmen is a game for a generation clearly addicted to the experiences created by From Software, despite the strong inspirations, it manages to introduce some personal touches and show how a new wave of creators will elevate the formula to new horizons. Good ideas deserved a higher technical level and we hope that this can materialize in a sequel. As a model for the future, Dolmen is intriguing but needs polishing.

Advantages: Versus :
  • A sci-fi-tinged Soulsborne experience
  • Demanding and challenging gameplay that tests your reflexes
  • Combination of short and long range attacks
  • Get the risk vs reward effect in gameplay
  • Visual quality is not impressive
  • Slowing down combat may not have the intended effect
  • Level design isn’t one of its best features

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