Review: Vambrace Cold Soul (PlayStation 4)

Vambrace: Cold Soul is a roguelike fantasy-adventure set amidst a frozen landscape. Plan your expeditions underground, then journey to the cursed city surface with your team of heroes. Wield unique powers, avoid dangerous traps, brave strange encounters, and survive deadly combat!

Pros:

  • Two difficulties-standard and cold soul.
  • 3 save slots.
  • Platinum trophy.
  • An opening tutorial then pop-ups.
  • Collectible codex pages for lore.
  • 2D Roguelike RPG gameplay.
  • Difficult.
  • Turn-based combat.
  • Hellion-currency. Used to buy items and gear from vendors in town and in the world.
  • Team-you and 3 members. You hire/recruit members from the recruitment board and it shows their main bonuses and stats.
  • Top-down overworld.
  • Ascending room-used as the way to go to set destinations in the world.
  • Each map location has a set of levels, clearing out five then unlocks the boss battle.
  • Random encounters.
  • Choose your own adventure style interactions with objects/items.
  • Stats are the key to everything from combat order to finding bonus loot/traps etc.
  • Camp-find them in the world and set a character to overwatch and heal up, deal with equipment and health.
  • Crafting/upgrade table. Collect resources in the world.
  • Interact with many parts of the world and you get a lot of options akin to a point and click game.
  • Retreat home at any time.
  • Unlock new outfits and change at any time in your room.
  • Central storage locker.
  • Feels like a homage to Darkest Dungeon.
  • Clear button icons and combat show clear Crosshair for who’s attacking who.
  • Beautiful art pieces.
  • The game has a huge emphasis on planning out strategies and replaying fights, running away and regrouping.
  • Death is permanent to your teammates whereas you lose progress.
  • Decent loading times.

Cons:

  • No explanation on difficulty.
  • Can’t skip cutscenes.
  • Can’t rebind keys.
  • No real voice work outside the occasional grunts and one-word exclamations.
  • Slow starter thanks to continuous conversations and laborious tutorial pop-ups.
  • Everything is just icons with no tooltip or explanation.
  • Difficult.
  • Slow combat pace.
  • Music doesn’t react to the gameplay.
  • They use a small pool of character models and avatars.
  • The RNG used for recruitment purposes.
  • Possible to screw yourself with the formations as some characters may not be able to do anything and it does a poor job of helping you learn.
  • Overall it’s a slow pace and you can only run in your main home/hub.
  • You can’t do any tweaks to team or gear unless you get lucky and find a camp.
  • Traps are instant and unavoidable until much later on.

  • 9/10
    Graphics - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Accessibility - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Length - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Fun Factor - 8/10
8/10

Summary

Vambrace Cold Soul takes a lot of inspiration from Darkest Dungeon from its art style to animation and general gameplay. Vambrace is a Roguelike RPG game set within the icy lands of Icefell. You play a character that armed with a magical Vambrace can go through the ice that is currently holding a town’s population captive. You get a short opening tutorial then all-new actions trigger pop-ups. Combat is turn-based and relatively straight forward. You build up your bar to do special moves and get melee/magic/ranged attacks/support. Be warned that the game starts off slow, I mean you soon realize it doesn’t actually speed up in any way and it’s just a very slow game. This is evident in its combat and traversal. Vambrace is a really a weird beast as it plays like an RPG very well but the story is not strong enough to hold your attention and when you combine that with the slow ass combat and clunky menus, Vambrace is just a game with some ideas from other games and mashed together. I tried many times to get over the speed and focus on other parts but the game does little to mix things up or make it all fun. It’s difficult but in a way that is frustrating more than a challenge. In short, Vambrace plays it safe and uses mechanics from a handful of games and combines them with a mediocre story.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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