Morbid: The Seven Acolytes has big and classic things on its mind. It’s one of those RPG games that does a good job of immersing you in not only the world but also the lore. Still Running and Merge Games’ Morbid: The Seven Acolytes, seems to be after the very heart of horror and combat adventure. It combines a lot of gore and lore, adventure and plenty of Lovecraftian bits that further expand on the games overall lore.
Mobrid is a top-down, old school, RPG with added isometric approach. Much like Dark Souls it relies on stamina and strategically timed combat. Your swings, dodges and sprints are all really the bread and butter here.
The story focuses on the last Striver of Dibrom. Your whole lot in life is to take out the Seven Acolytes to ultimately free the world of Mornia. This sets up for 7 memorable boss battles and a ton of mini boss battles that are equally cool.
There is an awful lot of Lovecraftian lore that is spread throughout this world. From the fish people and tentacled monster design, to the connective bits concerning flooded cities and ship crews losing their sanity there is a lot here to take in. There are also tons of easter eggs scattered in there for big eagle eyed Lovecraft fans, and I think that it really enriched the whole experience.
Your sanity plays a large part in Morbid. A lot of games attempt to utilize the sanity meter and end up doing very little with it. This game actually uses it in an interesting way. Once your sanity meter drops beyond a certain point, defeated enemies release a specter that you have to fight as well. It makes it a huge pain in the butt very quickly, due to the fact that you are now essentially fighting the same bad guy twice. It’s also a creative way to illustrate a dangerous way of losing your sanity.
Boss battles in Morbid are right out of Clive Barker’s dreams. These Seven Acolytes are very well thought out and by that I mean, someone sat around and thought of some sick shit and then thought of how you could use said sick shit as a weapon. Bless them for that. Cause there results of the character design is aces. For, example one of the Acolytes uses her placenta and umbilical cord as a weapon. So, she is whipping it at you for the entire battle. If that isn’t the most metal thing I see in a game this year, I don’t know what I’m going to do.
The controls in Morbid are a little stiff. By that I mean I wish that your character would move around a little faster and a little more organically. Outside of that combat is done well, and controls do a good enough job of keeping you moving and able to pull off the hits and dodges necessary to survive. The parry is a bit of a let down here. You are instructed in a tutorial that if you do a successful parry, you are able to then counterattack and do major damage. Personally, no matter how I tried parrying, was way too stiff, and ended me up in more trouble than it did anything else. I decided to just not use it, roll dodging and striking is way more effective.
The game does a nice job of mixing things up in its Souls approach. There is an actual stealth button that allows you to sneak around the baddies. I’m not used to having stealth in my hack and slash souls approach, so it was a nice little mechanic that helped give me a break from running in swords swinging.
The music of Morbid is tremendous. There is a full orchestra that helps move the action in this one. It also makes the entire thing feel epic. It’s a really big score and you know it right from the title screen. I’m not used to top downs putting this sort of work into their score these days, so it was a very welcome change.
Like any good RPG, you can fully upgrade your weapons and traits, and of course you can add abilities to your weapons to give them classics like fire and ice. That goes for your melee as well as firearms.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes combines gore and lore that exists somewhere in the nightmares of H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker. The visuals although going for the pixilated look, still maintain enough detail to convey entirely nightmarish worlds and villains. Mechanics like stealth and having an innovative sanity system set the game apart from other Soulslikes. Its creative, memorable and grotesque boss battles actually made it hard to put the controller down. The games 8-12 hour campaign never overstays its welcome and maintains its ability to surprise and reward throughout. If you love Lovecraft and souls games this one is definitely worth your time.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.