What comes to mind when you hear the letters RPG? Do you think about the games you played with a controller trying to increase your character’s levels? Maybe it’s a particular character that can casts spells or who can shoot those arrows with such accuracy that is your favorite. Or maybe it is the times where you can sit with friends as you roll the die, trying to collect treasure, and just see the hours pass by as everyone is having a good time. But do developer Resolution Games bring the fun and immerse you in the tabletop experience in VR? I am saying it now, yes…yes they do. Let’s find out more with Demeo for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
Demeo is a dungeon crawler played in the classic fantasy RPG genre where a dark force has taken over the underworld as terrors and treasure await you and up to 3 others that are brave enough to enter the corrupted catacombs. You will need to choose your champions wisely and where the outcome depends on your choices and the luck of the die. Each game consists of three levels. In the first two levels, the task is trying to find a key and then the exit gate. In the last level, you will have to defeat the evil guardian that is protecting the sarcophagus of the mad elven king.
Now, I know it may be hard for some to realize that there was a time before playing games online or even now, where friends would actually gather around, roll a physical die, and hopes that their team of players would succeed in whatever they came across. Sometimes the outcome would not be as happy and actual figures would need to be moved as they came across enemies such as spiders and goblins while trying to get to the treasure and defeat whatever it was along the journey. But it’s true and it allowed people to actually communicate because you were right next to each other. Resolution Games have magically brought in the experience, along with the social aspect, and brought into Virtual Reality and it really is a good time.
When you first start Demeo, you are given some of the history of how the king made a terrible pact with the outer darkness and bringing certain doom on himself and his loyal subjects. Thus, their spirits become sealed in sarcophagi scattered across the necropolis, and their plight has caused vile corruption to seep into the surrounding lands. So it is up to you and three others to set the spirits free and defeat any enemies in your way. But before you jump right in and die before you can get started, there are a few rules that you need to know. Luckily, your first time starting Demeo, you are welcomed by a woman who will give you the basics of the movements which you will want to pay attention to so make sure you give the best view for your experience. And it is pretty awesome how close you can get into the game.
Because this is in the traditional tabletop RPG sense, there are some things to remember. You have two action points for each turn. When it’s your turn, you only have a certain amount of movement you can make in an area. . So each move costs one action point. If you interact with certain objects like doors, for example, that will count as an action point. So to interact with an object, you simply pick up your character and place it on top of that object. When you are out of moves, it will then be the enemy’s turn to move and possibly attack. When you come up to an enemy, you simply pick up your character again to interact with that enemy, and then a die will appear that you will need to roll to see the outcome. The die can have one of three different outcomes. If it comes up with one sword, that means one hit, a double sword that means a critical hit, and a skull means that you have missed.
So you will need to decide which character you will be as everyone will have their favorite…
You have Sigrun, the Guardian of the Realm…
There is Zedokar, the Sorcerer of the Speheres…
We also have Kai, which just might be my favorite. Kai is the Assassin of the Shadows…
Then there is Allin, the Hunter of the Woods…
But I will say before actually starting the game, to take a moment to look around as the setting is in a basement with an old tv, posters, furniture, and some pretty good detail of other objects to make this a perfect setting. You are also given some choices, you can do a Skirmish if you don’t want to play with others, and really gives you a way to test the waters for when you do so you will be used to at least the basics of the game. You can host or join a game. And what I like is on each of the four sides of the table is the room code for that particular game. So if you are hosting and wanting your friends to join, they would just need to enter the code to join in the fun. There is also Quickplay, where you join in a multiplayer game. If you do not feel comfortable with talking, you can mute everyone as it doesn’t interfere with the game, but sometimes people may use language and I get it. But then there are times when you have the right amount of people playing who are really into it and it makes it a blast, plus, you never know when you can learn something.
Now, that you have your character and you picked an online game or a skirmish, it’s time to enter Demeo. I forgot to mention, on your left or right hand, if you rotate it out, the cards that you have will appear. The cards can be a variety of things from Call Companion which will allow you to call a powerful friend from the wild to fight by your side, Poison Bomb will have a certain area that will be a poison trap which can be helpful if there are quite a few enemies around, but be careful if you are or your team gets too close (yes, I died by my own poison bomb), to even things like Panic Powder which will cause a single enemy to go in a panic just to name a few. At the top of each card will show how many action points are needed to use that card, and of course, you have your card meter health as the very last card. Coins that are collected throughout the game can be used to buy new cards and even any duplicate cards that are gained can be sold for money at Cleepto’s Bazaar. On your right hand, you will have a bracelet that will show who’s turn it is, how many action points they have, and even if it’s an enemy’s turn which is very helpful and useful.
Also, when you play with other people you will see their hands and what would be eyes going all over as they are trying to get their best view for their turn. The eyes are masks that as you play, you can unlock new masks, skins, backplates, and die to use within the game. You also have a progression rewards system that will show where you are, your rank, and how far or close you are to your next reward. You will need to be careful opening any doors because it can have tons of enemies in there and if you are down to one or two health, then it might not be wise to go that path. Remember, it’s not always the smart thing to go off on your own, because if you are too weak, then that means someone on your team will have to make their way to come and try and rescue you and they only have a certain amount of moves and when you have enemies that could be near you waiting to attack you in your dying state, it might not have been the best choice you made. So try and stick together when necessary. And as I mentioned, if you get the right amount of people that are there for the fun of it all, it can really add to the fun and immerse you into the game.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. On the Quest 2, the graphics do look good, and with the PCVR version of Demeo looking a little better. But don’t let that be the determining factor. Being able to read the cards clearly, seeing the characters up close, being able to pick up each character and enemy and reading the stats, and making out very well what everything is, Demeo does a great job visually on the Quest 2. Sound-wise, hearing that RPG music in the background, hearing the doors open with the creaks, the roll of the die, and the sounds of the characters and enemies making their attacks just brings the balance of the experience.
There are just a few things I would love to see. For one, the four characters are great and are well defined here, but what about adding even additional characters and classes added to the mix such as a Druid, Thief, or even a Reaper. Yes, the four classes here easily have some variation of the classes, but there are so many classes that can be added here to add to the fun. Second, (and this is more of it would be a cool moment) is when you are in the basement, there is a window and by the looks of it, the time is either at night or there is a bad storm. It would be pretty cool to add actual weather based and/or time of the day based on where the player is. Yes, that would be extra time and effort, but again, it would be really cool and would take away from the focus of the game, but it would be cool just to see. And lastly, I would love to see was when I first started playing was Book 1: The Black Sacophagus. I was really hoping that more would be added, but being Resolution Games, I remembered that they have promised more content is indeed coming with Realm of the Rat King which is supposed to release in the Summer. So when you add that each time you play it is going to be a different experience, with cross-platform support, and additional content, Demeo should be experienced.
Demeo shows us that we can still have those times when we could play games close together even if we are further apart these days. It brings social interaction even if we can’t be face to face in our own homes, but allows us to be in our virtual ones with friends of the old or new ones in the making. And at this time in our lives, isn’t having someone exploring the darkness together better than trying to explore it alone?
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more Demeo to play.