No Rest For The Wicked Early Access Impression – A Reinvention Of The Genre?

One motive that’s been recurring in the marketing for No Rest for the Wicked, the new action RPG from developer Moon Studios and publisher Private Division, is their goal to reinvent the genre with this game. While I am enjoying the game so far, I just keep thinking… what about this is reinventing anything? This feels pretty familiar. I’m a few hours into No Rest for the Wicked’s Early Access build, and here are my thoughts so far.

What it seems to come down to is how you choose to position this game. If you are trying to sell No Rest for the Wicked as an isometric action RPG, then I suppose I can see how this game adds a bunch to the formula. But then, at the same time, isn’t this “just” a Soulslike? Once you look at No Rest for the Wicked from that angle, it doesn’t really do much new apart from changing the camera angle. I don’t want to downplay that, because that in itself is of course a pretty fundamental change to a game. But it doesn’t feel revolutionary to me.

The first boss you encounter

No Rest for the Wicked has all the trademarks of a Soulslike. You got the bonfires, the stat point attribution and how weapons scale with those stats, balancing the weight of your gear and how that affects your dodge roll, difficult boss fights and normal enemies that at times can feel like their own minibosses, parries being your bread and butter, and much more. I don’t want to give you a whole list of every single similarity between the games; just know that as I was getting into No Rest for the Wicked, I kept thinking, “Is this not just literally isometric Dark Souls?”. To be fair, there are some differences. You attribute stat points not with souls or any other currency, but with level ups that you get from killing enemies. You also don’t seem to lose anything for dying, which I’m very thankful for because the game is punishing enough as is. Weapons aren’t unique items you get, but drops with random attributes. And then there’s all of the crafting with all the useless stuff you’ll be collecting on your adventures.

I suppose No Rest for the Wicked does mix the two different sides of a soulslike, and a more classic isometric action RPG, and that in itself is an evolution. I’m having plenty of fun with No Rest for the Wicked, with its challenging and strategic combat and absolutely stunning art style, which certainly makes it one of the prettier games I’ve played this year. And who knows, it’s very possible that more mechanics are introduced that might make it feel more like a grand reinvention of the genres. Both in what I still have left to play in its current early access state and any of the content they add between now and the game’s full launch. As for now, well, let’s just say if you’re a fan of soulslikes you should probably check this out.

Nairon is playing No Rest for the Wicked in Early Access on PC with a review code.

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