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Achilles: Legends Untold Steam Deck Review – A Portable Souls-Like

The story of Achilles has been told since the very birth of the Greek alphabet and some scholars even think the sole creation of the written language was to document Homer’s song of the great battle at the city of Troy. With that said, none of that matters or holds any relevance in Achilles: Legends Untold and I’m fine with that.

What grabbed my attention is its isometric view and intriguing attempt to incorporate souls-like combat along with a rather depth-filled skill tree system. OH, and the fact it was released as Steam Deck verified was a definite plus.

Achilles: Legends Untold starts off as one may expect. You are Achilles and thrown into the great battle at Troy but suddenly (avoiding spoilers) you blackout and once awakened, you notice the area is now completely infested with skeletons and monsters. There are no cutscenes depicting how this occurred but rather just audio conversations with NPCs. Again, this is fine. I will always take audio over dialogue text-filled boxes any day. And honestly, the story is not the focal point of the game. It’s more of just the vehicle to get you to where the entire game will take place.

Similar to Diablo 4, the isometric view is locked which is a disappointment for one major reason. As mentioned, the game’s combat system is souls-like in that you need to study your opponents’ movements to make smart attacks, tumble rolls, etc. During boss and semi-boss battles, it would have been nice to zoom in or even have the game auto-zoom in on the action to fully immerse yourself in the fight.

Sticking with the presentation, the overall audio is solid. I played with headphones and could hear enemies faintly off in the distance. As you progress, you will get familiar with the various enemies’ distinct sounds. So picking up these audio cues gives you a chance to better prepare yourself for the fight. The soundtrack as well as the ambient sounds do a great job setting the tone in which the game is trying to achieve.

At the top right of the screen is a beautiful big map. I love on-screen maps or navigation guides. As someone who tends to wander off the main path or objectives in almost every game, it’s great to see there is a clear way back to what I’m supposed to be doing.

There is even a trail for you to follow like in RDR2. The locations you traverse become a bit repetitive. You will see plenty of burnt-out structures, dark grassy fields, plenty of stairs, and random monument-type structures but nothing mind-blowing. No, I’m not expecting huge towers or anything unfitting for this time period. I just think a little more creativity would have been nice for the location designs.

Along your adventure, you will find a good amount of loot. These can be obtained from fallen enemies, smashing barrels, or opening chests. Once you feel it’s time to save your game or apply skill points, you will need to seek out a shrine. It’s only at a shrine that you can use your skill points to obtain new skills. So, if you feel like turning in for the night, do not quit your game or all progress will be lost as you need to visit a shrine to save.

Thankfully, these aren’t too scarce and easy to find on the map. this is unlike Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order where rest points were almost completely miscible. The first skill move you are given is the memorable spartan front kick from the movie 300. This is great for creating space while in a fight with multiple enemies. Note: these skills also have cool-down times. If you have a shield equipped you can also use it to deflect light attacks but it’s useless against heavy boss attacks hence souls-like combat.

Unfortunately, one of the key features that were designed to make this Achilles: Legends Untold stand out from the forever-growing list of souls-like games falls short in the execution. The tools are present, shield blocks, light, heavy, special attacks, tumble, or dodge, and as you upgrade your skills the list can grow to make you feel like mythical Achilles, but it never quite produces that feeling. I could spam my light attack to kill common enemies and tumble around to regain stamina.

This same pattern worked with some of the bosses as well. Yes, it still requires the study of the enemies to know if a light, light, heavy combo will take them down, it just does not produce the outcome I think the developers of Dark Point Games were hoping to produce. I would have liked to partake in large battles alongside fellow ally NPCs but this never occurs therefore making it feel more of a solo affair. This complaint isn’t so much of a development flaw as more of an expectation I had considering the source material.

In regards to performance on the Steam Deck, I was getting a steady 58-60 fps with most settings on high by default. The game isn’t graphically demanding and while you will have multiple enemies on screen, it never dipped below 55 fps. I would have loved to include more screenshots with performance overlay which I usually do when talking about performance on the Steam Deck. However, the latest SteamOS update removed performance overlays from displaying on screenshots.

Nevertheless, the fact Achilles: Legends Untold looks & performs great on Steam Deck makes it even more enjoyable. The locations are easy to navigate, and the combat feels satisfying with a vast skill tree to dive into. I would have just liked a bit more variety in location designs, combat scenarios, and depth in the story. Achilles: Legends Untold is currently on sale for $18.83 on Steam with a very positive 82% approval rating. Developers Dark Point Games are on the right track and I’m sure this will be a game to keep an eye on over time.  

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This review was based on a digital copy of Achilles: Legends Untold for Steam Deck provided by Dark Point Games.

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