New Game Review

Review – Project Warlock (PC)

Sweet heresy!

If you’ve been with us for a while, you might know that I’m a sucker for old school and retro-inspired first-person shooters. I love older titles like Turok, as well as more modern retro-inspired titles like Quake ChampionsDoom and Wolfenstein. When I found out about Project Warlock, a brand new retro-inspired shooter exclusive to the GOG store, I knew I had to test out that bad boy. After playing its dozens upon dozens upon dozens of levels, I finally have my (very positive) verdict.

warlock1
The staff is the only magical-related attack worth caring about in this game. It’s also overpowered as heck.

Project Warlock is obviously influenced by the classic shooters of the 90’s, but Doom isn’t its only source of inspiration. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Heretic, a medieval-inspired shooter also designed by John Romero, was also one of the game’s main influences. Project Warlock features tons of labyrinthine levels, secret rooms, no reloading, and a huge arsenal of weapons, all inspired by Doom. It also features inventory management, tons of medieval-inspired enemies and levels, being able to look up and down (in a limited manner), and magic spells, all inspired by Heretic.

Thankfully, the game doesn’t follow some cliché trends from the indie gaming market. Don’t expect roguelike elements, for example. Levels are linear and always have the same objective: go from point A to point B, usually looking for keys in the process. With the exception of its much improved physics, Project Warlock looks, sounds, and feels like something that could have been created in the 90’s.

warlock3
I ain’t cleaning this bloody mess.

Unlike games like the old Doom, aiming at enemies feels a lot more natural. You WILL hit whatever you’re trying to shoot, as long as it’s in your crosshair and there’s nothing in front of your target. Please be sure to learn how to circle strafe, as well as diving into the configurations menu to tone the mouse sensibility down. A lot. I have no idea who on Earth thought putting it to the maximum as default was a good idea, but I guess that’s the world we live in.

Project Warlock is very challenging, but there are a few moments in which it actually felt unfair. That can be seen right from the get-go in the first proper level of the game: lots of booby traps and tight corridors with a mob of enemies dealing unavoidable damage await you. Suffice to say, you’ll most likely die once or twice, turning some sections of Project Warlock into boring segments of trial and error. Given the fact the game has a limited amount of lives if you’re playing on any difficulty other than easy, those poorly designed traps act more as a nuisance than a test of skill.

warlock5
No matter which retro shooter you’re playing, a shotgun will always be your best friend.

While the gun-based combat is a blast (no pun intended), I couldn’t say the same about the implementation of magic in Project Warlock. You get a magical staff right at the beginning of your journey and that’s probably the best weapon you’ll use throughout the entire game. It’s basically the only magic spell worth caring about. Other spells need to be discovered throughout the levels and then purchased with the same upgrade points you use to create better weapons for your arsenal. In fact, I ended up not bothering that much with magic. All I did was grab the free “flashlight” spell to help traverse through this excessively dark game.

warlock4
Hi zombies. Meet crossbow.

Overlooking some annoying difficulty spikes and a few bland music tracks, Project Warlock is a great example of retro gaming done right: it looks retro, it sounds retro, it feels retro, but it doesn’t feature the limitations imposed by older hardware. If you’re a fan of Doom, Quake, Heretic, or just old-school gaming in general, give this one a try. You’ll die a few times, without a doubt, but you’ll most certainly overcome your obstacles and enjoy one of the coolest shooters of the year.

 

Graphics: 8.0

It emulates the visuals of a Doom clone from the early 90’s, but on a more modern engine. It also runs a lot more smoothly.

Gameplay: 7.5

Your standard FPS control scheme with no jumping and a very limited field of view. You’ll need to tone the mouse sensitivity down a lot prior to starting the game.

Sound: 7.5

The first few MIDI-based tunes aren’t anything special, but the soundtrack gets better and better the more you dive into the game.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Project Warlock borrows elements not only from Doom, but also Heretic, and a bit of Quake in order to provide players with a great mixture of retro and fresh. It’s also quite challenging.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Project Warlock is available now on PC (GOG exclusive).

A copy of Project Warlock was provided by the publisher.

Advertisements

About Leo Faria

Founder and mastermind behind Way Too Many Games, hailing from the southern swag that is São Paulo, a Sega widower who considers the Dreamcast to be the greatest console ever released, the greatest Guitar Hero and Tetris player you’ll ever meet. My favorite games include Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie, the Guitar Hero series, Bioshock Infinite and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II. I also own an Ouya. Never turned it on.

%d bloggers like this: