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    Dread Delusion

    Game » consists of 0 releases. Released Sep 25, 2022

    A retro styled open world first person action-adventure RPG.

    Dread Delusion and choice

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    jaqen_hghar

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    Edited By jaqen_hghar

    This will contain a lot of spoilers! If you haven't played this gem yet, I really hope you do before reading on. Also, I'm not much of a writer, so please excuse the rambling and the typos.

    Not so sure about these Inquisitors.
    Not so sure about these Inquisitors.

    Dread Delusion is a strange game. It looks strange, it plays somewhat strange and it is set in a strange world. A world where the surviving humans live on floating islands, far above the ravaged surface below. No one knows exactly what happened to render the surface unlivable, but it is. Most of the bloodthirsty Gods have recently been killed by the tyrannical Apostatic Union. And these are two of the factions you sometimes have to choose between.

    One of the things that struck me about Dread Delusion was how well it implemented the usual "good or bad" choices you could make. The Gods were undoubtedly bloodthirsty, making deals promising better crops and keeping plagues in check in exchange for, oh, just the blood and life of a few virgins a year. Or the unending torment of the Duke. But the Apostatic Union isn't much better, burning down farms and towns if they hear even the rumor of Worship happening nearby. The only reason the lands you play in seems somewhat free is that the islands are on the "rim", far away from the center of true civilization.

    As with many RPGs you can choose the outcome of some of the quests. In Dread Delusion you can choose what happens in almost every quest, and you will get a nice little Fallout-style slideshow at the end recounting what happened after you did whatever you did. I like those slideshows, but usually they are very predictable. Do you want to save this town, or blow it up with a nuke? Not much of a choice, unless you go out of your way to play an evil character.

    But what about this; the Duke has a pact with a God, keeping the plague away from his household and land. His part of the deal is to be in never ending severe pain. Do you kill him, thus ending his pact and his torment? If you do, the plague comes back in full force. Do you let his son take on the pain instead, keeping the pact going? Or do you let the Duke be, and make your own pact with the God?

    Zombies have great architecture.
    Zombies have great architecture.

    What about his; there is a kingdom of zombies, created by a massive kingdom-wide ritual a long time ago. They used to attack the nearby kingdoms to get food, but one day a scientist came to them with the technology to make artificial living meat. She gave them this in exchange of becoming an Endless herself.

    So now they live in peace, eating synthetic meat.

    One faction of the kingdom don't like this, they want to eat true living meat. They want to go back to attacking. Which would happen if the "flesh farms" stopped being a thing. So what do you do when you find out that the fake meat in the flesh farms has become sentient? You can kill the new life form so they can start over again, none the wiser. Or you can allow this new life to live, but effectively start the "cadaver crusades" all over again.

    But why I feel I need to write this down is the main quest, and how it really took me for a loop.

    Your mission starts out like this. You are "working" for the Apostatic Inquisition as a Penitent Prisoner. Capture the pirate Vela. She is deranged, trying to get her hands on a doomsday weapon. Easy choice, we can't let anyone have a doomsday weapon. During the game you learn more about her, and also what she is trying to find. She lost her mother and sister in a horrible fire, and she found a map to what most likely destroyed the surface. So she is obviously trying to blow up everything as an act of revenge for her dead family.

    What about a Clockwork God? Would that work? (No, it kinda won't)
    What about a Clockwork God? Would that work? (No, it kinda won't)

    But you eventually learn that she might be trying to get her sister back. Something not even the God of death can do. A God she has captured and chained up in her stronghold. And the map she has does indeed point to what destroyed the surface hundreds of years ago. An Angel. You see, the world is governed by words. All magic is saying specific words in specific patterns, it's the building blocks of reality. But an Angel is from outside of reality. So in theory you could use an Angel to rewrite the grammar of the language of reality. Which is what she wants to do. Not only to bring back her sister, but end death itself. Make everyone equal. Peace on earth.

    At this point I had been conditioned by the game to see the choices not as "the good or the bad" one. But so many characters in the game harps on how dangerous it is, how it would never work. We have to stop her. And I did, she agreed in the end. Then you are tasked with going up to this captured Angel and either banish it back to the Void, or merge with it. And in so doing change the grammar of reality as you see fit. I had come so far to banish this creature. But something made me rethink it all. Sure, taking on the powers of a God is usually not what gives you the good outcome in games like this. They warn you about what can happen at every turn. But her idea of an utopia where everyone is free to be who they want, live forever if they want... it suddenly seemed much better than the alternative. Every kingdom had its issues. Some very bad. The Gods seemed bad, and the Apostatic Union not much better. So I chose to merge with it, bracing for the "you chose the bad ending" cutscenes.

    Not sure if I would build a Pub under the skull of a dead God, but I'm no businessman.
    Not sure if I would build a Pub under the skull of a dead God, but I'm no businessman.

    What I got was... good. I hadn't chosen poorly, in fact, every kingdom and everyone had a better life after what I did. Yes, the player character is now merged with a never-ending entity that is just there. Humanity gone. But for everyone else life was so much better. I did not expect this. I fully thought I would get some variation of "your arrogance doomed everyone" or something. I have yet to look up what the other ending does, because I feel this ending works so well for me. Vela is very articulate and good with words. Her vision is a great one. But her rage and sadness over losing her sister makes it seem like the plan will fall apart. That the world will be rent asunder again. But your character has seen so much, done so much. Helped people all over the place, learned the fates of so many people. It just seemed right to take on that responsibility. And it worked out.

    This golden age of smaller indie games has produced many gems this year. I'm glad I took my time to play this.

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    Manburger

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    Don't sell yourself short: I thought this was well-written and flowed nicely! I've only played a early demo of this yet did not heed your spoiler warning (oops) but this does still seem like a game I'd like to experience for myself at some point.

    This is indeed the best time to be playing (indie) games! Though, with such a constant deluge of new releases it's easy for worthy experiences to get lost in the shuffle — fortunately it seems like this has picked up some steam.

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    jaqen_hghar

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    @manburger: Thank you! English is not my first language, so it's sometimes hard to gauge how I'm doing.

    I feel it is interesting and well written enough to be worth it even if you know where things go. The worldbuilding is excellent, and I hope they make more games in this setting.

    Indeed! I hadn't heard of Nine Sols until yesterday, which people say is like a mix of Hollow Knight and Sekiro. Two of my all time favorites. It's a packed year, and GotY season is going to be wild!

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    AtheistPreacher

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    I've had this game on my radar solely because it's a King's Field-like, and I'm obsessed with King's Field. At this point I've played Lunacid, which I enjoyed, and whose developer apparently got contracted to improve the combat on Dread Delusion. But I had no idea that the latter might have such intriguing-sounding writing. I also missed that it recently hit 1.0, apparently on May 14, I know it had been in early access for a while.

    I'll definitely have to pick it up eventually. Maybe when it next goes on sale!

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