Huge franchises like Genshin Impact, Fortnite, and Roblox all prove that there’s room at the multiplayer party for every platform, however big or small. But it’s unusual for an unknown cross-platform project to come out of nowhere and become one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year. Undecember pulled off this feat for one reason: presentation and its first impressions are worth mentioning.
The first trailer, followed by the South Korean launch in January, showcased an action–RPG of eye-melting beauty. Now that Undecember is available globally, we’ve had the chance to check it out for ourselves. Here are our first impressions of the game.
UNDECEMBER brings visually stunning graphics
First up, it looks just as good as we were primed to expect, with photorealistic 3D graphics in the pin-sharp definition. The backgrounds look great and so, unusually, do the character models. On the visual front, Undecember is more than a match for better-known rivals in the space like Diablo Immortal.
In terms of controls, Undecember feels a bit like the mobile tail wagging the PC dog. Rather than steering your character around with the W, A, S, and D keys, you click with your mouse cursor to send them running in that direction, mirroring the action of tapping the screen. For mobile, it has an onscreen joypad.
To press the point home, the game even directs you to touch the screen from time to time. The good news is that this apparently mobile-first approach doesn’t hinder the action at all.
Hacking and slashing are still a blast. Your main attack is bound to the right mouse button, and your skills are bound to Q, W, E, and R. Or you can just use a controller. Whichever option you go for, the gameplay will be entirely familiar to anybody who has played a Diablo-Esque action RPG before.
In short, you run around a series of more or less apocalyptic environments, wiping out waves of enemies and picking loot from their steaming entrails on Undecember first impressions.
Among Undecember’s big gameplay innovations is its classless growth system. This basically means that the character you create isn’t constrained by class, and can use any of the weapons and skills in the game. The skill system itself contains a fun little twist. Skill Runes are hexagonal, and to bring them into your active inventory you need to slot them into a hex grid.
The twist is that the sides of each Skill Rune are different colors, and by connecting them with matching Link Runes you can give them a boost in power. It’s possible to attach multiple Skill Runes to a single Link Rune, too, so you can have fun experimenting with different placements on the grid.
And while we’re on the subject of Undecember’s growth mechanics, there’s also a neat Zodiac system that lets you distribute Trait Points across your character’s Intelligence, Strength, and Dexterity traits as you see fit. Now let’s get back to the action.
Before long you’ll have both a sword and a bow in your inventory, along with a raft of offensive and evasive skills. Some of these skills, like the Spread Shot, are tied to particular weapons, but for the most part, you’re free to mix and match.
UNDECEMBER first impressions: Decent storyline that comes with cinematics
Undecember opens with a short prologue stage in which you’re gloriously OP, giving you a glimpse into your future if you stick with the game. After that, there’s a second, spectacularly cinematic stage that takes place on the back of a gigantic creature called a Sand Walker. And then you arrive at Malo Front, a dusty clifftop village that serves as a world hub.
Malo Front contains a Blacksmith, a Peddler, a Recruitment Board, a Storage box, a Mystic, and more. There are fellow players there, too, preparing for their own adventures, and NPCs making idle conversation about bandits and Sand Walkers.
It also contains a checkpoint, where you can strike out into the wider world to hunt Dimps, giant spiders, wolves, scorpions, wyverns, and loot-stuffed boss characters. All of which is lots of fun. We’ve only been playing Undecember for a couple of hours, during which time we’ve leveled up pretty quickly, pushed deeper and deeper into Traum’s perilous landscape, and killed a lot of enemies.
Undecember also celebrates Halloween from October 26th until November 23rd. This would be a great time to jump into the world of Undecember as there will be some valuable loot given out. More information can be found on the official Discord and Website. The game is currently available on Android, iOS, and Steam.
Whether Undecember is worth playing in the long term is down to the fairness of its free-to-play mechanics and how much variety developer Needs Games has managed to pack into its gameplay. We haven’t gotten that far, but from what we’ve seen Undecember looks like a fun new entry in the hack-and-slash genre.
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