No Rest for the Wicked Preview

No Rest for the Wicked Preview

By  Luz Victoria - 28th Apr 2024

Defeat the Pestilence

No Rest for the Wicked Preview

No Rest for the Wicked, the latest experience from Moon Studios GmbH, is a game that seeks to set itself apart by blending ARPG with platforming and soulslikes elements. The developers, known for their exceptional work on Ori and the Blind Forest and its sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, have partnered with Private Division to bring a new level of innovation to the genre. Can this ambitious mix really work together despite some of its seemingly contrasting ideologies?

Fight Back the Plague as the Cerim

Fight Back the Plague as the Cerim

King Harol is dead, and his naive and unprepared son, King Magnus, has taken over. The Pestilence is running amok, turning the inhabitants of the land into monstrous creatures that are unrecognisable versions of themselves, and the ancient Cerim race seems to have failed in their quest. There's no reason to, yet hope remains in the form of small settlements and the last remnants of humankind.

You start your journey as a Cerim, setting off to the town of Sacrament as you converge with the rebel forces fighting back. It is here where the entire Early Access gameplay takes place, where you will help out the residents of Sacrament to fight back against the Pestilence. 

The citizens and story of No Rest for the Wicked are an easy highlight of the entire experience, with the beautiful works of Moon Studios returning to life in the form of a narrative experience with more to it than the original titles they'd created. The cutscenes have a unique art style that stands out, and I couldn't get enough of them—every cinematic was a feast for the eyes.

An Innovative Experience

You'll start your combat journey relatively soon, and from there, you'll be able to experience the unique gameplay of No Rest for the Wicked. The team's primary purpose was to reinvent the genre with this newest release, and, truth be told, they did a pretty great job at it.

This is a mixture of ARPG with soulslike elements, though it plays more akin to V Rising's combat with reactionary battles and randomised loot, giving you the opportunity to try a myriad of builds whilst also focusing on RPG elements and giving you adventuring and exploration opportunities in the form of platforming. There's so much to this game that it tackles a lot at once, yet it seamlessly amalgamates every single aspect.

The combat is an obvious highlight, but it feels like there's a lot to do, and it adds these elements surprisingly smoothly. The world begs to be explored, not just for the gorgeous areas and the engaging platforming but also because it is the best way to acquire gear and equipment—areas even get engulfed by a fog of war once again, and items, alongside enemies, respawn.

Fight for Your Life

Fight for Your Life

No Rest for the Wicked is unashamedly soulslike, and it aces it in a unique way given its isometric perspective. The difficulty seems to vary heavily between players, where some find the combat simple and enjoyable and others incredibly punishing—I land in the former category, finding so much love for battling overall.

It has a slew of unique builds and abilities that give you the opportunity to take different approaches in combat. You can change your Rune skills (special abilities that consume focus), you can change your weapon, your armour, and you even have three different weight categories to fall into depending on what you're equipping. It's refreshing to have so many options, and it never felt like they were all more viable than the other; I played a quick-attacking rogue focused on Dexterity and a criminally low amount of HP (I would die in two hits!), but I found equal—if not greater—success in heavy-hitting strength builds that'll build you like a tank.

No Rest for the Wicked's adrenaline-pumping gameplay is exemplified in its handsome boss design. These one-versus-one scenarios are chill-inducing, pitting you against monstrous, towering foes, with each swing possibly being the last you'll feel. But the attack patterns are easy to discern, and it does a great job at making you feel like you should—the Cerim, bringing back the last hope to humanity against the Pestilence. Any game that manages to create a ludonarrative connection gets a plus from me.

And Plenty More

House-owning, trading, bringing back Sacrament to its former glory, it's all within the realm of possibility in Moon Studios' surprising No Rest for the Wicked. There are about a dozen hours of content to be had on your first playthrough, but if you want to decorate, return Sacrament to its pre-Pestilence glory, and do everything there is to do, it's just a lot and likely more than enough to keep you going until the return past the first act.

You can even partake in a roguelike Cerim Crucible at the end of your run to find the hidden final boss of the Early Access, testing your build and prowess as a Cerim—the highest challenge offered by the title that’ll test your capability to create a great build alongside strong reactionary gameplay. It’s a great way to play just a bit more past the final cutscene, and gives you the opportunity to train for whatever other monstrosities and abominations Moon Studios intends to send our way.

Play, Replay, Retry, Redo

And once you've done it all, you can—and should—do it all again. The ARPG elements included within give you the opportunity to re-experience the last few hours you've played with a new build, new approach, and new opportunities. After the engaging and enjoyable boss battles, it'll be a no-brainer to want to try it again with this weapon, and that weapon... oh, and maybe that build!

The randomised elements and the capability to replay Cerim's Crucible means that though it's still a relatively short experience currently, there are plenty of hours in the form of replayability. Trying out your hand at other builds, different items, perfecting blocking, learning how to ace the Echo Knight—so much, there are people who have spent several dozen hours, which is a testament to its enjoyability and replayability for an experience you could feasibly finish in your first dozen.

There are already plenty of plams to do much more, and it makes No Rest for the Wicked an easy recommendation for me. If you like participating in Early Access titles and watching a game grow, or if you can't wait to get your hands on this game, then I can confidently advise you to get it.

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