The world has seen better days in Shockwork Games’ new tactical RPG Alder’s Blood. 

Players take control of the leader of a band of hunters who hunt creatures that plague the land and have left it in ruin. While they may be the only ones able to stop it, their use of dark banishing rituals has made them outcasts. Players will travel across the continent, seeking out answers and hoping to stop mankind’s extinction.

Combat is similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown — the player has a group of hunters who can move freely around each area to surround enemy forces and a stamina meter to show how many actions a hunter can perform before they’re exhausted. That’s where the similarities end, though. Alder’s Blood makes hunters extremely capable, so there’s no chance of missing a shot.

There’s also an emphasis on stealth. While each hunter can have a gun, shooting is really loud and will draw enemies toward the player. Firearms are effective in a crisis, but monsters on the alert can easily strike a hunter down in a single swipe. Alternatively, hunters also have melee and thrown weapons to attack silently.

Alder’s Blood feels realistic with regard to how players have to manage their hunters. Traveling around the continent requires food, so players have to worry about making sure all their hunters can eat. Players can make camp to scavenge for food or create items while on the road. Health doesn’t regenerate between combat encounters, so making camp will be required to heal but there should always be a hunter on guard duty to prevent monsters from ambushing the party. 

The monsters in Alder’s Blood feel like monsters — they cry out if they see the hunters, warning and alerting others in the area. Some have thick skin, making them immune to weapon types like spears or throwing knives. Each hunter also has scent lines coming from them. If a monster crosses these scent lines, they will immediately know where the hunter is hiding and can attack. It makes the game more tense than I was expecting, and I can’t wait to see how it progresses from here.

As of this preview, Alder’s Blood is still in beta with no current word on a release date. The Kickstarter page can be viewed here — and in the interest of full disclosure, know that some members of GameCritics have invested in this title.

Eugene Sax
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