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E3 2015: Eitr Hands-On

by: Travis -
More On: E3 2015 Eitr

We had a chance this E3 to stop by the Devolver Digital encampment down the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center. I sat down with the two developers at Eneme Entertainment behind upcoming isometric role-playing game Eitr. I had immediately fell in love with the game upon first glance purely for its visual style. Fortunately, the gameplay matches its visual style in its uniqueness.

Described as a combination of Diablo and Dark Souls gameplay, the developers said they admired both games and took inspiration from them in the creation of Eitr. The most unique element of the gameplay is with how skills function versus the genre norm. Skill trees in Eitr function as loot items that players acquire throughout their adventures. Since the skill trees are items this enables players to switch between them depending on the situation. Since the game uses a randomized loot generation system this means that some generated skill trees could contain either all passive or active skills.

While Eitr may take inspiration from the Diablo series for its isometric view and loot system, the developers have focused on creating handcrafted levels versus the now common procedurally generated systems. Following with the Dark Souls series, players utilize bonfires in levels to save progress, respawn, and transport to the game’s nine Nordic-inspired worlds. However, Eitr changes the formula by requiring players to collect items such as flint to light the bonfire before it becomes usable. The respawn function of the bonfire also differs from Dark Souls in that it doesn’t spawn enemies again in the levels.

Eitr also deviates from its Diablo inspiration in that players have a wide range of control over their character movement. The game’s controls allow for players to parry against enemy attacks, perform running attacks, block with shields, and a range of other movement and attack functions. As the developers described the gameplay of Eitr, they want players to feel better at the game alongside the progression of their in-game characters.

One element of the game’s presentation that isn’t noticeable upon first glance is its lack of music in favor of atmospheric silence. The developers have focused on creating high quality sound effects to create a deep sense of ambiance during gameplay. The only music in the game is found during boss fights.

Eitr shows a lot of promise from my hands-on time with the game and brief discussion with its developers. The game’s gorgeous visual style and unique combination of gameplay genres make Eitr one of the most promising titles I saw at this year’s E3. Eitr has been announced for release on both PlayStation 4 and PC at launch.