Have you ever wanted the Warframe setting and theme to be paired with the soulslike genre? Well, look no further as Dolmen gives you a look at what it could be like. Dolmen isn’t perfect though; it takes a lot of great ideas from the Surge franchise and gives it a dark space theme. From there, it has flaws that begin to pile up and give it a sour twist it can easily remedy with time and effort. Plus, with Elden Ring still fresh, it needs to have a lot of potential to stick out.
In Dolmen, players find themselves sent to the alien planet named Revion Prime. This planet has yet to be colonized yet because it is overrun with dangerous alien creatures. The reason for a strong push to colonize it is because there are Dolmen crystals deep within the planet.
After an accident, the player is tasked with retrieving valuable Dolmen crystals, which allow interaction between different dimensions and hold the potential to revolutionize space exploration. As well as eliminating hostile creatures that have infested the planet.
Dolmen does a great job with the surroundings of the player in each area, especially in the beginning where you start in the caves. The living growth clinging to the walls of the cave and the chaos of death and destruction that now fills the void of the tunnels. After leaving the freshly dressed crypt, the player is welcomed to the surface of Revion Prime. Once again, beautifully done, as the world is filled with a large industrial complex, a stunningly bright surrounding, and chaos. Dolmen in every step is a beautiful game.
The character models are artfully done as well. From the arachnoid looking creatures, the fire zombies, to even the bosses, everything designed with a greater purpose. The melee and range weapons are well thought of and fit perfectly to the sci-fi theme Dolmen is going for. Not everything is as well done as the surroundings or character models in Dolmen. The cinematics leave the player wanting more, as the quality between them and the gameplay is painstakingly obvious.
Another issue players will run into is the combat. Dolmen uses the standard soulslike system. Melee for close combat, range for mid to long distance, and shields for parrying all the above. Players also have their dodge roll, stamina bar and an energy bar that dictates how often they can heal, use range weapons, or increase their DPS. From there, It then becomes a matter of learning how the enemy fights and adjusting accordingly. Groups of enemies can be overwhelming, but are not that difficult. Even bosses are fairly easy and really don’t add much of a challenge. Which makes players scratch their heads as this is a staple of the soulslike genre.
There are some great additions that Dolmen brings to the table. The player can use pods that allow them to teleport from previously visited pods and to teleport to your ship. In the ship, players are allowed to use nanite from killed enemies to level up and a forging machine to create new equipment. Everything from weapons to armor are all created on the ship and can have varying stats based on the material you use to create said weapon. Bosses can be resurrected and fought for the ability to craft weapons based on them. However, there are many issues that take the joy out of enjoying the good.
Dolmen feels like a game in beta testing at times. There are a lot of bugs and issues with the current state of the game. Areas not loading in properly, invisible enemies in some areas, and enemies floating in the air instead of falling to their death are a few bugs to be named. One particular issue is how and when doors open. Rather than walking right to the door and being able to open it, the player must actually go to side console of the door and use that. Doing this does add some realism but is more of a nuisance at times, especially when running from a mob of enemies at low health. Massive Work Studio will have to smooth out a few of the issues plaguing the game and make it better.
Dolmen is a great addition to the soulslike genre. It takes a lot of the classic Souls themes and adds a pinch of uniqueness to make it stick out. With beautiful environments and great character design, this has potential for being at the top of the genre. However, coming off the heels of Elden Ring players are expecting more from the genre. The addition of numerous bugs and issues also does not bode well for Dolmen. With time to fix some issues and patience from the crowds, Dolmen can easily be a great addition to the lineup.