In a grimdark medieval world torn by plague and military conflicts, you decide if you should exercise or exorcise your inner beast with dire consequences for you and your allies! The brutal grimdark gridless turn-based tactics RPG is coming to PC via Steam Early Access this 25th of October.
Table of Content
- BEAST Overview
- Character Creation
- Characters & Skills
- Mechanics & Gameplay
- Video Preview
BEAST is a dynamic, brutal, tactical turn-based game with RPG elements developed by False Prophet in the Unreal Engine 5. The game transports players to the dark, plague, and heresy-ridden medieval Carpathians. As the system propels you into a labyrinth of difficult moral decisions, command your squad in exhilarating, gridless, turn-based tactical battles to either advance or survive intense and visceral encounters. It features a gridless turn-based battle system and a wide array of weapons, items, characters, RPG elements, and a converging story seen from two perspectives.
BEAST mainly follows the story of Anton Sabbados, a loyal war veteran presumed dead before returning after ten years of being an Ottoman slave. Due to his Carpathian homeland being feebly reigned by a demented prophet-king, its lands have been ravaged by raiders and cursed with a hellish plague. Everything he loved and cherished is either gone or has changed beyond recognition.
The game follows a narrative seen from two different perspectives. Anton’s and the cruel Prince Nikolai. Despite the prince being the obvious villain, the game stresses that this war-torn land is devoid of any good, and the only choices are evil and lesser evil. As Anton, you suffer from your inner demons, and you have to decide if you should take the path of mercy by quelling the demons within or embrace the savagery and unleash the BEAST with brutal consequences for your enemies and allies alike.
BEAST features a simple character creation system to customize your playstyle, as Anton Sabbados. During this Alpha build, you can’t really customize the character’s look, only their starting stats that fit your chosen playstyle.
You can select from three presets: Assault, Blast, and Command each encompassing the unique playstyle, Melee, Ranged, and Support, respectively. Choosing custom presents simple quiz questions that correspond with a character’s starting stats. After choosing your stats, you’ll be given a choice for some extra starting weapons and items. As well as a couple of points for your skill tree.
So far, the questions during the character creation don’t really seem to affect the story in any way, shape, or form. And is only there to serve as a starting point for your main character
Characters And Skills
Aside from Anton, you’ll be managing your very own Warband, where you’ll recruit a group of warriors, each with their own unique traits, roles, abilities, and skill trees.
Each class specializes in a certain type of weapon and playstyle. For example, you can take on the vanguard with the Defender. Slash and shoot your way through the enemies with the Burster, or snipe annoying enemies from afar with the Scout. Every class has three skill trees each specializing in a different form of Melee, Ranged, and Support abilities. Completing missions gives the involved party members experience points and levels them up, earning points that you can allocate to improve further your character’s stats, traits, and abilities
The game also features a reputation system where, in certain chapters, the warband will have certain needs or demands that you, as the player, can choose to neglect or fulfill. Neglecting a member’s needs too much may cause their outlook toward you to sour and may result in them leaving the party or, worse, betraying you in battle.
BEAST features a wide array of weapons and items fitting for its late middle-age era themes. As of this early Alpha version of the game, some of the weapons I’ve encountered are swords, axes, and heavy weapons such as hammers, bows, and matchlock pistols.
Each melee weapon is slightly different from one another to a certain extent. For example, heavy weapons such as the hammer have a longer reach than other melee weapons. As for the ranged weapon types, I’ve only encountered the guns and the bows thus far. The guns in the game are of the 15th-century variety. So they’re mostly matchlock and similar firearms. The main difference between a gun and a bow is that a gun needs to be reloaded for every shot, while a bow can be fired consecutively.
Weapon Class Requirements
But despite having a wide variety of weapons, every class will be restricted to specific weapon types that they can use. For example, The Defender class may only use heavy two-handed weapons and cannot equip any ranged weapon. Each weapon also scales with a specific stat, like swords scaling with dexterity and heavy weapons such as battle axes and hammers scaling with strength. This is something to keep in mind when gearing up your characters.
Armor isn’t a prevalent element in the game. You’ll eventually receive armor with a better rarity, but it won’t really involve any important decision-making scenarios. You’ll just slap that new armor on your favorite character who can equip it.
Aside from Weapons and Armor, BEAST also focuses on various consumable items. The world of BEAST is bleak, and resources are limited, so decent resource management is essential in surviving through the game. Even bullets for guns and arrows for bows are very limited.
Because of this, the game provides other alternatives for you to survive your encounters. You can patch up your wounds with canvas, stop bleeding with needles, sharpen your weapons with whetstones, and blow up the enemy with bombs. These consumables will be necessary, and you will have to use them as efficiently as possible. Running out of supplies could mean certain death.
Featuring a gridless turn-based tactical combat system, BEAST approaches turn-based tactics with freedom of movement in amazing natural landscapes.
Each unit, including enemies, has three (3) action points per turn that they can use to move and perform other actions, such as attacking and using abilities. The game is devoid of grids, allowing you to move your characters anywhere that it allows you to freely. Take advantage of the higher ground, take cover from enemy fire, or use waypoints to go around and avoid the enemy’s range of engagement, all in an effort to vanquish the threat and survive.
Most of the time, you’ll have to get up close and personal with your foes and strike, but sometimes, it’s best to avoid a sticky situation by thinning their numbers with a couple of ranged attacks. However, you’ll constantly have to decide when it’s best to use your limited munitions.
There are also times when engaging from afar or aggressively charging into a group of enemies just isn’t an option. This is when it’s a good idea to start playing defensively and use overwatch. Hole up in a chokepoint to ambush enemies or group up to create a defensive line when surrounded. All tactics are valid when it comes to survival.
Quality of Life
With how the game is presented, it can be a bit confusing and hard to see where everything is. That’s why the game comes equipped with different camera movement options, 360-degree rotation, and a zoom function. Aside from that, there’s also a highlight button to easily see your characters, enemies, item chests, and engagement range for ranged attacks. Furthermore, if you’re unfamiliar with the enemy, you can also inspect them to see a breakdown of their stats, abilities, and equipment.
The mainstay of the game is its BEAST system. Throughout your playthrough, you’ll constantly have to choose whether you’ll prioritize brutal carnage or balanced teamwork. As Anton is plagued by his inner demons comes the insanity meter. Once filled, Anton can decide to embrace the darkness within him and transform into The Beast. Gaining otherworldly strength and abilities.
Although he gains unmatched combat abilities, hitting the insanity threshold also makes enemies stronger. Which in turn makes them try their best to kill you and your allies. Entering Beast Mode may strengthen Anton’s combat power but may inadvertently lead to the deaths of his warband.
Attempting to redefine the tactical RPG genre is a monumental task, but BEAST highlights a bunch of unique features. With the potential to be some of the secret ingredients that the tactical RPG landscape is looking for. The gridless feature introduces a freedom of movement barely seen in other tactics games.
As a side effect, the game is able to convey a more natural-looking level design compared to other games in the genre. With an extensive list of late middle age weaponry, the game does a great attempt at showcasing the middle age Carpathian landscape. Not to mention the unique transformation system that the game flagships. BEAST releases on Steam Early Access on October 25th, so wishlist the game so you get notified when it gets released.