Dolmen is an interesting example of the current era in which this industry finds itself. As evidenced by the incredible popularity of The Elden Ring, we live in a time when the Dark Souls formula has moved into the mainstream and is becoming ingrained in all kinds of experiences fan-imagined and inspired by the works of masters. This is something that has been happening for many years, but nowadays the influence of From Software’s ideas seems to exist in a much broader way, from metroidvania to Action RPG and many more.
This work by Brazilian Massive Work Studio shows how From Software is shaping the imaginations of creators around the world and offers you an intense Action RPG, with touches of horror and difficulty that demand your full attention. Dolmen prides itself on so much that it appears to have been copied directly from the works of this Japanese house, mixed in with some of his own ideas and an execution that might betray this team’s hopes. Dolmen is a very challenging game, but it still needs polishing and improvements to get to the level you really want.
Despite its humble beginnings, Dolmen is clearly a game coming from a team that wants to move forward and perhaps take the first step towards a future where it will be able to offer more epic experiences. It’s an experience in a sci-fi environment, with Dark Souls-style gameplay, that aims to challenge you through battles and explore levels, with the usual focus on unlocking shortcuts and feeling like every enemy can defeat you if you don’t. your care.
The journey through Revion Prime, a planet full of bugs that want to kill you, means you’ll have to manage Stamina and click buttons don’t work. Choose a character from one of the existing classes, with their selected items, to enter into encounters in which you can switch between close-up attacks and firearms. As you’d expect, there are many elements that work together to achieve the Dolmen’s risk versus reward tone. Here, energy management is the most important thing, as you will have to choose whether you want to use it to fire weapons or activate an energy mode that allows you to launch more powerful elemental attacks.
With a level design that forces you to explore every nook and cranny to see where you go and where the shortcuts are, Dolmen even forces you to manage your moves for an intense gameplay that highlights difficulty. Imagine a Soulsborne experience adapted to a sci-fi setting and you’ll instantly know what a Dolmen is. Just in time protection, counterattack, dodge and attack the unblockable without melting the stamina bar is Dolmen’s core concept that works just as intended, challenging and demanding.
Dolmen sparks interest in the sci-fi environment and the use of From Software’s formula, clearly a work drawn from the team’s fascination with these games which turns out to be a huge strength. There’s the risk of losing XP, the need to think carefully about the skills and buffs you want to unlock for character improvement to suit your playstyle, and all those mechanics you’d expect from good spirits. However, Dolmen reveals its humble origins in its technical aspect.
This is a game whose visual aspect can never fully satisfy. From level design to monsters, Dolmen isn’t a very nice game to look at, even if it’s played on a console like PS5. The Brazilian team deserves to be commended for their efforts in the Unreal Engine at Epic Games, but you won’t leave Dolmen in memory for its visuals. However, and more importantly, there is a feeling that Dolmen needs some updates in order to improve the gameplay. It seems that the team decided to put the feel of heaviness in order to make the battles slower and more intense, which takes away the dynamism from the gameplay.
Dolmen is a game for a generation that is clearly addicted to the experiences created by From Software that, despite being a strong inspiration, manages to bring in some personal touches and show how a new wave of creators will take the formula to new heights. Good ideas deserve a higher technical level and hopefully that will come true in a sequel. As a model for the future, the Dolmen is interesting but needs some polishing.