The Brandish series’ trademark world-turning mechanic reaches its peak in Brandish: The Dark Revenant! Use the directional buttons to walk forward, walk backward, side-step left or side-step right, or use the L and R buttons to turn. Ares is always shown facing forward, so when he turns, the world itself smoothly spins around him, giving players a greater sense of what he’s seeing and experiencing without any of the drawbacks inherent in a first-person perspective.
The labyrinthine ruins of Vittoria are not always forthcoming with their secrets, so Ares will often need to flip switches or use keys to open doors, leap over obstacles, break down walls with sledgehammers, walk through walls that aren’t really there, fall through pits to reach otherwise inaccessible locations on the floors below, teleport to new places and more.
Wall plaques provide Ares with advice or cryptic clues for solving some of the mysteries left behind a thousand years ago by the Vittorian elite…
…or sometimes, they’re just there to taunt him!
Fighting occurs in real time on the same movement grid as dungeon exploration, with weapons that break and monsters that don’t always follow the rules. This allows for great variety and a high degree of precision in both offense and defense, and makes it absolutely crucial to keep a close eye on your inventory and learn as much as you can about the individual behaviors of every potential enemy.
Ares’ shield can be raised to block projectiles and enemy attacks, but must be lowered in order for Ares to strike back, leaving him momentarily vulnerable. Timing is the key to success… and survival!
Offensive magic allows Ares to hurl fireballs, freeze foes in their tracks, generate bolts of electricity and more. Be careful, though, as some creatures are impervious to magic and may even reflect it right back at him!
Bosses, both imposingly big and deceptively small, punctuate the story and create intense challenges that are equal parts puzzle and battle… and sometimes aren’t quite over when you think they are!
Traps, Maps and More
Rolling boulders, pits, spiked floors, slippery surfaces, enemy ambushes, fake treasure chests, poisoned potions, cursed armor and much, much more await, each requiring a different approach and ensuring that Ares can’t simply strong-arm his way through the challenges before him.
Players can let the game map dungeons for them or take a more active role by adding markers to areas of interest that might be worth revisiting later on. Multiple colors and styles are available and existing auto-mapped sections may be edited at will, making it possible to add extra detail and personalize the dungeon-crawling experience.
Other lost souls who’ve found themselves trapped in these seemingly inescapable halls have resolved to live out their days here, setting up shop in well-traveled corners of the dungeon floors. Ares can buy much-needed supplies at these locations or he can speak with the shopkeepers and learn of their plights – sometimes also learning of their deepening madness in the process…
A few failed adventurers have even set up a full casino (or two?) within the deepest, darkest depths of the dungeon, where a little levity is needed most. This casino is replete with slot machines, unique prizes (including exclusive items available nowhere else) and an original one-on-one card game called “Blade” which could either net Ares some big winnings or clean him out completely.