Necropolis: Brutal Edition

Game review by
Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media
Necropolis: Brutal Edition Game Poster Image
Vastly improved adventure is challenging test of skill.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No positive messages to be found, just fighting, killing monsters, getting taunted constantly by a sentient pyramid.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players take on role of male/female without a backstory, so hard to know if characters are positive/negative. They fight to protect themselves, but motivation unclear.

Ease of Play

Simple controls overshadowed by lack of tutorial, codex information, large difficulty spikes in dungeons. Game designed to be extremely challenging for players.

Violence

Main focus of gameplay, with characters using swords, shields, hammers, crossbows, other weapons, bombs to destroy opponents. Enemies fall to pieces, collapse, but no blood, gore shown.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Necropolis: Brutal Edition is a downloadable dungeon-based adventure where the point is to explore, collect, and fight as far as you possibly can before dying, then starting at the beginning all over again. This game is exceedingly difficult, with enemies frequently spawning or rooms generating large numbers of enemies to fight against. Combat is the main focus of the game, and players will use a wide variety of weapons, including swords, hammers, and more, to destroy monsters, although there's no blood or gore shown.

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What's it about?

NECROPOLIS: BRUTAL EDITION is a rogue-like adventure that doesn't really have an explicit story. You're immediately dropped in as a character known as a Blackguard, without any notes regarding why you're in the Necropolis. Eventually, you discover through notes written on the walls and comments narrated by the Brazen Head (a sentient pyramid) that you're in the realm of Abraxis, a powerful archmage that disappeared from the world to work on his magic away from others. But to exit the Necropolis and uncover its secrets, you'll need to hack through the various enemies that are randomly dropped through its rooms and corridors in each newly created game session. Players will acquire weapons, armor, and components that can be used to craft new items and will be able to unlock special bonuses with tokens earned by completing goals or acquiring a certain number of gems. The updated edition is the culmination of a set of patches and updates with new features, such as a new character, the Brute, who walks slower and causes more damage with his strikes. There's also a new environment (the Black Forest), more balancing adjustments to gameplay elements, and new enemies.

Is it any good?

This adventure through a vast, randomly created dungeon is difficult and challenging, but updates to the gameplay have made this a challenge worth fighting through. Necropolis: Brutal Edition takes you and up to three other people into a strange lair to fight through hordes of monsters to figure out why you're there. Your skills will be pushed to the limit, as you'll have to parry and attack enemies (while balancing the stamina costs these actions take), craft items for health boosts, and avoid environmental traps in an attempt to get a bit farther. Of course, as a rogue-like, you're more than likely going to die repeatedly before you make some progress. But Necropolis does a really good job of ensuring that you can always get a bit farther by converting some of your gems and other stats at the end of a game into tokens, which can be used to unlock new codices that improve your stats and skills in various ways. It can also keep you interested by sometimes dropping random weapons with elemental effects or gear that provide new abilities. Many of these may come from fighting enemies, who will sometimes accidentally attack each other (because friendly fire is on for players and monsters alike), meaning a tactical player can get beasts to fight among themselves and can clean up the pieces later.

What's nice about the Brutal edition is that a number of fixes improved some of the gameplay bugs and flaws while enhancing the challenge. It's really nice to smash your way through a room of monsters as the Brute character, absorbing many blows that would crush a regular character. But don't expect to waltz your way through everything. New creatures like the Fire Djinn, and new attack behaviors for beasts, will still demand much of you as you explore the narrow hallways. While you may still get attacked from behind, it's not nearly as overwhelming as it used to be, which reduces the frustration of dungeon exploration. Unfortunately, while there were some attempts to improve some of the vague and unclear elements, some of these still don't make any sense. For example, the codex to lessen your stamina loss doesn't really have an impact on this key stat at all. This being said, the vast number of improvements that have been made through multiple patches makes Necropolis: Brutal Edition what the launch title should've been: a fun, challenging dungeon crawl that will keep you and your friends entertained for many hours.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games such as Necropolis: Brutal Edition. Would a game like this work at all if violence weren't part of the gameplay? Is the violence OK because it doesn't have blood or gore?

  • Talk about persistence. This game thrives on the "one more game" feeling, but does the challenge of the play provide this hunger to keep going?

Game details

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