• Zombasite: Orc Schism review by Rick Moscatello

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    Zombasite is a very special Diablo-clone. Yes, you’re primarily going to grab a beating stick and run around killing monsters in an endless quest for a larger beating stick, gaining levels and equipping your character’s doll with as many sparkly bits as possible like every other Diablo-clone, but there’s so much more than that.

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    You’re the leader of a clan, trying to survive in a world infested with a zombie parasite (the “zombasite,” get it?). You’ll need to feed your clan, and keep them happy, but they aren’t just drags on you. You can send them out to get food, treasure, or even take them with you while you fight. Yes, “them,” this is one the very few Diablo-clones where you can have several non-player characters battle with you.

    There are other clans, each with their own traits—they might well attack you, or ally with you. I’ve reviewed the game before, but the short discussion is Zombasite is a fine indie Diablo-clone, well worth the $20 (or the free demo) you can get it for on Steam.

    Orc Schism is the expansion for Zombasite. The main game is already pretty deep, nothing like the usual shallow game in this genre, so what does the expansion have to offer?

    There’s plenty of little stuff: new monsters, new quests, and new terrain types. It’s a testament to how good the game is that I never felt like there was a shortage of any of these, and unlike many games, the expansion here doesn’t do much in the way of tweaking the stuff in the original game (like character skills or particular treasures).

    There are also random towns; I always found exploring towns to be the dullest part of Zombasite, and I’m not sure this changes much…at least these generally aren’t main quest zones.

    You have far more options for defending your town, easily the most stressful part of the game. You can recruit more guards (speedbumps) and do more to make your clan-mates help you out. The toughest part of town defense is when an opposing clan attacks you, so I guess it’s time to talk about the bigger improvements in the expansion.

    There are more clans you might face. There’s incredible depth to Zombasite, and part of doing well here is understanding how a newly encountered clan will behave. The Soldak website goes over the new clans in detail, and it’s best to read there—Zombasite plays in real time, giving it a somewhat steeper learning curve than most games in this genre, as you’re usually too pressed for time to read paragraphs of background information (though there is plenty available). Learning the new clans and getting skilled in keeping them from trying to kill you (mostly by getting them to fight each other) is a big key to success.

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    Finally, there’s a new character class, the Bard. Zombasite uses a skill tree system, though the trees generally have many isolated leaves. Overall, I’m a little disappointed in the bard. He doesn’t really have any musical skills, and his primary attack skill is a sonic blast that, while effective, doesn’t feel very bardlike. While the class isn’t very flavorful, there’s a “multiclass” type option that lets you mix and match Bard skills with other class skills, so even if you don’t to be a full bard, you can still use it a bit (grabbing that “find extra treasure” skill might be an idea…).

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    This expansion goes for $10, and no way does it add 50% to the play value of the main, very playable, $20 game. Absolutely check out Zombasite, and if you find yourself playing it to death, wait a bit and try to catch the expansion on sale.

    Overall Rating: 70 (works well, just doesn’t add much to the main game for the price)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Zombasite: Orc Schism review by Rick Moscatello started by Doom View original post