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Iratus: Lord of the Dead (PC) artwork

Iratus: Lord of the Dead (PC) review

"A Darkest Dungeon esque Undead Overload dungeon crawler simulator at its finest!"

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I like playing Darkest Dungeon due to its appealing art style giving it a gritty, dark tone and the fast paced gameplay despite being a turn based dungeon crawler game, however one thing I particularly hate or loathe about the game is its unforgiving RNG wherein there’s going to be a time or moment one of your misfits of heroes going to die instantly via a suddenly surprise critical hit from one of the enemy minions which is really infuriating that I almost tempted to throw and break my keyboard/mouse then cleave it with an axe. Imagined spending time and effort raising up your heroes then they’re gone in a blink of an eye!

Frustrated and mentally exhausted from all the sufferings I endured from losing my beloved battle hardened trained heroes, I took a break from playing Darkest Dungeon altogether and beseech upon the gods that one day someone or somebody might make a kindler and fairer version of Darkest’s Dungeon with reasonable RNG while adapting similar gameplay or even better.

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After a couple of years have passed, there were some games that somehow borrows some of the ideas of Darkest’s Dungeon, however it wasn’t really that groundbreaking or fascinating to warrant me from playing them in the first. Nonetheless there was one particular game that really caught my attention and fancied my curiosity from the moment I laid eyes on it.

That game in question was none other than Iratus: Lord of the Dead! From the looks of thing and how the developer expresses their devout inspirations of the game, the game itself is visibly was inspired by Darkest Dungeon alright, although that’s only what appears superficially.

Wherein in darkest dungeon you take command a bunch of misfit heroes, in this game, you take control of the evil villain Iratus who also serve as the narrator of the game, an undisputed supreme necromancer during his prime almost conquered the entire world. Nevertheless, his plans for world domination by turning every living being on earth into the undead was foiled by a band of heroes. He tasted defeat and was imprisoned for all of eternity in the lower bowels of the earth. Centuries have passed since, the moment of his inevitable return onto the realm of the living has finally come to exact revenge for those responsible for his imprisonment then offer them the option of becoming one of his undead minions. Anyways about the game itself.

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There’s a very distinct difference in the way on how you recruit units in Iratus, unlike in Darkest Dungeon wherein you enlist the help of dozens of misfits of heroes passing through your hamlet via stagecoach, instead Iratus himself being a necromancer of immense power prefers to create his own minions by usage of different body parts from his slain enemies ranging from bones, skulls, hearts and pieces of flesh to name a few of the so called organic materials in making his obedient undead servants.

The gameplay aspect of Iratus: Lord of the Dead has an interesting twist, it features a four team party based system as seen in Darkest Dungeon though the catch is that your only allowed to have a four division of party teams in a given playthrough time, the reserves included unlike in Darkest Dungeon you are allowed to have numerous backup heroes. There are certain ways to keep a few number reserve units, eventually you are required to build replacement minions once they are killed in one of the encounters and it cost numerous parts to construct just one minion. Some people say because of this dilemma, this game in even difficult than Darkest Dungeon for if you ran out of organic parts, you won’t be able to produce undead units and consider it game over and retry again. They do have a point but I disagree with their stance.

There is a single Quicksave/Quickload slot feature in the game on normal and easy difficulty wherein you can quickly load your saved game if whenever you got screwed over by the enemy and your minions got slaughtered or you mess up with your tactics, which allows the game to be more forgiving than Darkest Dungeon as it lacks the aforementioned feature and only has a autosave function that saves every changes you made in the game, including the deaths of your party member which by the way is irreversible.

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The game also has a Heroes of Might and Magic inspired base of operation which the player may build to increase numerous stats to both Iratus and his minions as well as production of resources. During combat, aside from your undead minions, Iratus is also included into the fray by means supporting his troops with spells and potions. In addition, unique to this game, minions are able to utilize some form of an ultimate skill or move that requires wrath as a source of fuel similar to mana which Iratus uses to power his spells. Speaking of skills, dissimilar to Darkest Dungeon, you will be able to use all of your minion’s skills from the get go without needing to unlock them first and their upgrade options are pretty exceptional and practical that comprises of substantial growth in various stat relevant to that particular minion.

The art style in game very neat, boasting a combination of 2D and 3D artwork cleverly blended together to bring out a unique taste to the atmosphere of the game, the music score is decent and appropriate on most battle encounters however it is somehow lackluster without many variations. In short you might consider the music “dead”. Quite the irony as the game itself is about the undead itself.

It’s a polished playing experience through and through, the only downsides are the length game is kind of short and the gameplay is repetitive. It would be nice if they added some adventure book style events and other gameplay mechanics.

Overall I highly recommend Iratus Lord of the Dead to the folks who likes playing Darkest Dungeon or any turn based RPGs seeking for a great challenge and fair difficulty setting to satisfy that tactical itch!

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Community review by templarseeker (June 10, 2022)

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