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’33 Immortals’ first look: Defying a god is more fun with friends | Engadget


Have you ever struggled to bring together four folks for an Overwatch team? Tried to figure out how you and your friends can play Destiny 2 simultaneously? 

Can you imagine assembling 33 players for a 25-minute raid? 33 Immortals plans to do exactly that.

Channeling the animation style of retro cartoons (and a little Banner Saga), 33 Immortals is a massively substantially multiplayer roguelike top-down action game, from the creators of Spiritfarer. At a session following this week’s Xbox Showcase at Summer Game Fest, five fellow spirits and I tried to escape hell. 

In this early build of the game, there were two character types in play: a swordsman who could deal heavy close-range damage and an archer who could send up to three arrows toward enemies before having to reload. I got to play as the latter. Alongside the standard attacks, I could hold the action button to charge up a heavier piercing shot. The archer, when he reloads, recalls his fired arrows back to him, meaning strategic placement can effectively double the damage dealt.

All the characters also have a dash move, while trigger buttons open your world map, emote wheel and co-op powers. These co-op powers will vary depending on your character type and often demand careful planning to pull them off. Pressing the RB trigger displays a trio of circles on the ground; two of your fellow immortals need to activate the empty circles in order to trigger the attack. For me, this rained arrows on a wide area of the map, but for the swordsman, it launched a wide-ranged healing spell.

33 Immortals§

Thunder Lotus

With plenty of enemies on-screen, especially in the more challenging portal dungeons, it’s a lot of fun just chaotically spamming attacks, helping the rest of your team finish off mid-bosses, or picking off easier foes at a distance before they coordinate their attacks.

If the sword and bow options sound a little limiting, don’t worry: 33 Immortals will offer up plenty of different character types to play with. With seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues, we’ll likely get to play around with seven different warriors. Outside of co-op powers and quirks, the button layouts don’t change among characters, making it easier to try out every option. To add a little more complexity, you can gather up in-game currency from monsters you kill, exchanging them for healing or trinkets to boost attack speed, defense and more.

And you’ll likely have to try, try and try again. Each raid is built to be around 25 minutes long, and you’ll want to keep as many players alive (and online) as possible so you’ll be able to fell the boss at the end. More players will mean it’ll take less time to shave the health bar of bigger enemies, as the game apparently isn’t built to scale with how many characters are playing. More immortals is always better.

By the way, you’re not quite immortal as a fighter, either. After taking too much damage, you’ll fall and reappear as an ethereal spirit, not able to do anything but float around until another raider can resurrect you – something that proved to be particularly frustrating in the middle of difficult fights. Naturally, it’s just better if you fight more cautiously, heal your allies and… don’t die.

33 Immortals is inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. You’re rebelling against God’s final judgment that your soul is damned, and there’s a fun twist in the way God delivers his anger when you beat one of his dungeons. As you step out of the portal, the ground around you will get immolated in holy fire, and you’ll have to dodge this and spawning enemies until God chills a little.

While this was an early demo, latency was a struggle for my machine, but the team has plenty of time to stabilize – and offer demos that are not in the middle of a hectic Xbox showcase. I’m excited to play a roguelike as part of a mob, and I’m curious to see what the other character types will be.

33 Immortals is coming to Xbox Series X/S and PC in 2024.

Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest right here!


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