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No Rest for the Wicked Preview

No Rest for the Wicked Screenshot 002

When playing the tear-jerking, award-winning Ori and the Blind Forest, did you think, “Okay, cool, but what I’d love to see what these guys could do with a Soulslike”? Me neither, but that’s what we’ve got here. After making two outstanding Metroidvanias, the devs likely wanted to stretch their legs, as they waltzed into an entirely different world, combat design, and mood. Also, it’s isometric.

No Rest for the Wicked takes a page out of Path of the Exile’s book: you wake up on a dark, grey coastline among boat wreckage, collapsed forts, and ne’er-do-wells. Pretty soon, you realize that not even the crabs can be trifled with because the game demands careful stamina management, timed attacks, and acceptance that death is around every corner. Expect to find oodles of mangled equipment as you compare numbers and try to find the green numbers while keeping your weight below the cutoff so you don’t succumb to a nasty case of fat rolling. On the other hand, a heavy burden offers a shoulder ram ability that some players might find enticing, and the addition is welcome as it adds a little something to this action RPG sub-genre.

Climbing a windmill ladder with impressive forest valley vistas in No Rest for the Wicked.
Multi-purpose windmills are all the rage in this neglected landscape.

Secrets litter the landscape, with some hiding behind destructible walls and obfuscated by the camera. Rotating the camera is a constant temptation but isn’t an option. After a while, I became comfortable with all the systems, including the typical Soulslike fare and inventory. Still, I couldn’t help feeling like this was still just the beginning.

It was, of course, since the No Rest for the Wicked preview build duration was an estimated 90 minutes. I clocked in closer to 120 since I was especially thorough and went off the beaten path. I wish the preview time included an introduction to more systems, like crafting and enhancing equipment, though. On a basic level, No Rest for the Wicked is competent: it controls well, has a unique artistic style, and has tough-as-nails balance that Dark Souls fans are sure to appreciate.

Unfortunately, the build we received was extremely sluggish. While not a visual slouch, I would never call No Rest for the Wicked a game that even approaches AAA status, yet I was teleporting across the screen at times, and the performance really dipped during the preview’s boss battle. I hesitated to include this frustration because it hasn’t even hit Early Access, but in the interest of transparency and sharing my entire experience, I’m mentioning it here—I have no doubt it’ll get hammered out over the course of development, especially given the developer’s sterling track record.

Peering off into the distance from a lush overlook toward a city with a gate, towers, and rooftops covered in more lush vegetation.
Anor Lando with shingles.

No Rest for the Wicked has promise after boasting a solid foundation in this build. I can’t predict at all what the end product is going to look like; a strong beginning doesn’t necessarily equate to an enticing middle and end due to issues like budgets, publisher demands, and ideas that simply don’t land, but I also don’t want to come off as a curmudgeon. I had fun. Frustration hit at times, but I had fun. I certainly wish I could have enjoyed more of what the game will undoubtedly have to offer, but I guess that’s part of the point—leave folks wanting more.

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Jerry Williams

Jerry Williams

Jerry has been reviewing games at RPGFan since 2009. Over that period, he has grown in his understanding that games, their stories and characters, and the people we meet through them can enrich our lives and make us better people. He enjoys keeping up with budding scholarly research surrounding games and their benefits.

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