Grim Dawn (PC) (2016)

Overview: An action RPG set in an apocalyptic fantasy world. The Aetherials have entered the world through openings called rift gates and are bringing an end to humanity.

Terina, Level 27 Arcanist (20190531)

Today I played Grim Dawn for the Steam Spring Cleaning Event "Speed Clean," where the task is to play one of seven games which are free-to-play. I would often think about my experience with Path of Exile (PoE), presumably because both are action RPGs. Of course, they have different premises and perhaps I am more fascinated with the premise and possible story with Grim Dawn. The first difference in gameplay which I noticed was that PoE allows for the map to be shown with transparency over the screen whereas Grim Dawn does not.

Setup: Moved all the graphics settings to max and turned all the optional settings on.

Steam Game Time: 34 minutes

While waiting for Eufloria to download, I decided to play more Grim Dawn. Although the download finished before I even loaded this game up, I decided to go ahead and play some Grim Dawn anyways. As a side note, loading up the game satisfied the "Speed Clean" event (in other words, the same game can be used for "Speed Clean" over the four days).

Steam Game Time: 50 minutes (session game time)
Actual Game Time: 5 minutes (session game time)

Fighting Warden Krieg

20190528 10:30: 00:19 | 00:58 | Lower Crossing Rift (The Burial Cave)
20190528 12:00: 00:39 - 00:01 (paused at end) | 01:36 | Lower Crossing Rift (The Old Dump)
20190528 13:00: 03:39 - 00:10 (pause time) | 05:05 | Burrwitch Outskirts Rift | Three hours into this session, I learned about classes and skills. I decide to play Arcanist. Remark: I was already level 12 by this point. I can't believe I spent nearly four and a half hours playing the game before realizing that I was missing on an entire portion of the game mechanics.
20190528 18:00: 02:45 - 00:10 (estimate pause time) | 07:40 | Warden's Laboratory Rift (Defeated Warden Krieg)
20190528 21:25: 02:35 - 00:05 (paused 1hr17min to 1hr23min) | 10:10 | Warden's Laboratory Rift (Kymon's Retreat) | First 24 minutes spent with exploring interface and reading through in-game help files.
20190529 22:23: 01:00 (32 minutes of gameplay not recorded) | 11:10 | Arkovian Foothills Rift
20190530 02:22: 00:42 | 11:52 | Old Arkovia Rift | First 25 minutes spent with skills and item management.
20190530 20:07: 00:27 | 12:19 | The Four Hills Rift
20190531 20:12: 03:09 | 15:28 | Broken Hills Rift | Last 29 minutes spent with item management and saying goodbye.

Class-Skill system

Game Time: 96 hours (total game time according to Steam), 13.6 hours (total game time according to the game)

Today would be my last day playing Grim Dawn. I had fun playing it. In fact, I would repeatedly get the itch to play the game afterwards. One regret I had was not trying out any of the augments.

: The game has a panel that explains various game mechanics; I would highly recommend reading through it in pieces; I would arbitrarily recommend doing so prior to level 5
: One of the more important game mechanics I overlooked was choosing a class and level-up up skills. These essentially allow the player to deal more damage (via class-specific attacks)
: I would encourage using augments. I didn't, but I later realized that they drop with reasonable frequency and early game items don't matter so much (the player can recover the augment while losing the item via the Inventor's apprentice Darlet)
: Can rotate the camera angle. Though I personally will return the camera angle back to "default": North on the map (N) pointing towards the top of the screen.


Admiring the waterfall.

+ Good visuals
+ Reasonable AI
+ Unlimited portal use

~ Enemies don't respawn
~ Slow pace

- Mechanics are tucked away; the game should encourage players to explore certain mechanics through quests (anecdotally, I didn't know about choosing a class and level skills until four and a half hours into the game*)
- No "flash" for movement
- Most, possibly all, spells and attacks are single target; occasionally makes for unsatisfying play (I mainly compensated by playing Panetti's Replicating Missile).
- Lacks a visual gear option

Devotion - passive skill system

*On 20190602, I was reviewing my gameplay recordings and noticed that

From my own experience with action RPGs, I would mainly draw comparisons to Path of Exile (PoE) and Torchlight II. Among the three games, I had the most enjoyable experience with Torchlight II. While I used an application to clone items which reduced the grinding and allowed me to enjoy destroying enemies, I would also praise the game for it's straightforward game mechanics. On the opposite extreme is PoE whose weapons slots allow for linking gems and whose skill tree is absolutely overwhelming for a beginner. With respect to complexity, Grim Dawn falls right between the two games: a class-skill system comparable to that in Torchlight II and a passive skill system ("Devotion") which provides depth but more simple than that in PoE.

Unfortunately, the game failed to deliver itself. First, I didn't even know about the class-skill system until after I played the game for four hours. Second, I didn't realize that certain Augments allow the player to use spells. Both of these mechanics could have been forced on me, the player, at some point in the game.

I did, however, enjoy the game's theme and story.

Overall, I enjoyed the game enough that I would consider playing more at some point in the future. However, compared to PoE and Torchlight II, I would likely spend more time with either of those games over Grim Dawn.

Terina, Level 1 Nobody

Grim Dawn (PC) (2016)

Relevant Links:
Grim Dawn (
Grim Dawn (
Grim Dawn (Steam Store Page)

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