Kult: Heretic Kingdoms

Kult: Heretic Kingdoms is an isometric two-dimensional ARPG (Action Role-Playing Game) that was in the making for a long time. This probably helps explain why it’s a 2004 game that kinda looks like Diablo 2. The story is an oddball ride of its own – religion has been outlawed and any practice of it is deemed heretical. You play as an Inquisitor in all of this, or rather one in training, and your actions ultimately influence how the story plays out.

6You develop your character however you want – classes aren’t etched in stone here, so you don’t start by selecting the Warrior class or the Mage class and go from there. Rather you allocate skill points over the course of the game to your four key attributes (Melee, Ranged, Magic and Speed). Magical abilities come in the form of elemental damage from Fire, Water, Air and Earth. You choose an element in the early part of the game, but unlike many RPGs this does not limit your ability to use different elements during the game.

How you choose your character is also dictated by one of the unique elements the game offers, called attunements. Basically, through meeting certain requirements and using an item, you get ‘attuned’ to it, and get to tap into its inner powers. For example, if you choose Fire as your initial element, you get a small weapon from your master, called a ‘Focus’. The Focus does a small amount of Fire damage in both melee and ranged combat, but as you use it, you will notice that the attributes for the Focus show a percentage meter that increases as you battle.

9Another innovative feature is a parallel reality called the Dreamworld. This world is occupied by spirits and other non-physical beings, some of whom you can interact with but most of whom you simply want to destroy. It is also a place to gain power and experience as there are randomly placed ‘hex marks’ that boost your XP. The Dreamworld can also be used strategically to get out of a difficult combat situation since you can leave the real world, move to a better position, then re-enter the real world. Of course, you can also find yourself in a worse position when you enter the Dreamworld with no safe escape back.

Balancing issues are one of the major gripes you’ll have to deal with, since the difficulty arc seems to be structured ass-backwards. The game will seem very hard at the early parts of the game, will feel about right halfway in, and pretty damn easy towards the end as long as you do a good job building your character. This detail aside though, the game offers a good deal of originality and plenty of action, all bunled in a retro isometric package.

System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 256 MB RAM, Win2000

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