Garshasp : The Monster Slayer was a pleasant surprise in Spring of 2011. It was a short game released at a budget price, but it showed the vision of what Dead Mage was trying to create. God of War inspired hack ‘n slash combat mixed with Persian mythology, it was an intriguing first look at a promising franchise. Now Dead Mage is back with Garshasp : Temple of the Dragon, an expansion for the original game set as a prologue for the first entry. Is it a cut above the first or just a hack job?
30 Second Review
(+) Interesting and different mythology
(-) Terrible camera
(-) Extremely short campaign
(-) Lack of story details
(-) Extremely buggy campaign
Temple of the Dragon starts with Garshasp and his brother searching for the Temple of the Dragon to find the magical mace of their people. The Devs have invaded the lands, and Garshasp must find the ultimate weapon to give him the upper hand in the battle. Tales of the dragon inhabiting the temple are not enough to keep Garshasp from the task at hand, although they have certainly dampened his brother’s spirits.
Garshasp follows the lead of the previous game: third-person hack and slash with combo based attacks. You move with the left analog stick, and the right stick is used for dodging. The temptation to use the right analog stick for camera control is not only overwhelming, it will lead to many unwanted deaths. There are a couple combos that you can learn, alternating light and heavy attacks for a powerful follow-up attack. There are also some puzzles and obstacles and only one segment of the patented Garshasp wall slide this time around. Garshasp uses levers to arrange bridges and platforms to progress and even uses spike traps to evade and eliminate his enemies. I apologize if my descriptions sound scarce, but that really is all that there is to the game. Lots of combat, two tower/platform puzzle segments, two bridge/lever puzzle segments, one wall slide segment and two boss encounters.
Knowing that Temple of the Dragon was an expansion, I expected that we might not see all of the elements that the first game brought to the table, but I didn’t expect an experience that was over before it began. In addition to the short campaign, I found the camera to be extremely buggy, especially during boss battles. While speaking of boss battles, I found quite a few bugs in the game’s final battle—everything from clipping issues, stutters, freezes, characters disappearing and reappearing at different spots and environmental traps flat out not working and causing the camera to not pan back in as it should after said trigger is tripped. The abrupt and unexplained game ending also seemed to raise some strange continuity questions between this game and Monster Slayer.
I am sorry to say that I was disappointed with Garshasp Temple of the Dragon. While still using our Star scale for reviews, I gave the original 3/5 Stars, and you can read that review here. While the original game was not without its faults, it was a short encounter. It had some laughable voice acting moments, but it carried the player much further and seemed to offer more environments, more puzzles and more combat for the same asking price of $4.99. If memory serves, the campaign in the original game was twice as long, clocking in at 4 hours. I liked the Persian/Iranian mythology and the new setting and mechanics. Yes, it borrowed from other, more well-known franchises, but it also infused its own nuances and seemed to be a promising start for a new franchise.
I understand this is a small studio and a very reasonable asking price, but I just could not get past the faults of Garshasp Temple of the Dragon. Sadly, this isn’t a game that I can recommend, as it just doesn’t seem to have the same charm as the first game did.