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Dark Envoy: Director’s Cut Review – Great Tactical Control

Dark Envoy is an isometric RPG with tactical slo-mo combat and was developed by Event Horizon, launching in October 2023. The world blends elements of fantasy with a steampunk aesthetic, aptly described as “Guns n’ Sorcery” creating a unique visual identity and is set in the same universe as Tower of Time. The Director’s Cut of Dark Envoy attempts to rectify the flaws that marred the original release.

The Director’s Cut provides players with a reworked narrative, including a new narrator and revamped opening cutscenes. You control two siblings, Malakai and Kaela, both driven relic hunters. You start character creation where you need to choose between five distinct classes that lead to a further twelve specialisations. You need to do this for both characters, and you will meet more characters to add to your party as the game progress which offers a good amount of depth and flexibility.

You can craft a party that caters to your preferred playstyle, be it a hard-hitting warrior, a cunning rogue, or a potent spellcaster. There are also moral choices to be made throughout which will alter your party’s journey and impacts the game’s ending. The combat system itself is a blend of real-time action and tactical slow-motion. This allows you to pause the action mid-fight, issue commands to your party members, and strategise your approach. Further to that is the ability to switch to slo-mo as you watch your spells fire off and characters moving. You can see the enemy attacks before they hit yours, so you can alter their line of attack to dodge and reposition. It feels really cool to be in total control of the action.

The AI companions can sometimes be sluggish to react, and when there’s heaps of action going on at once, it can get confusing as to who you were controlling and where they were going in slo-mo. In these instances, I would just pause combat completely and re-evaluate everyone’s position and actions. It does require constant micromanagement at times to keep the party effective, but I didn’t mind this if it meant I saved someone from dying.

With Dark Envoy Director’s Cut, the developers have acknowledged the technical shortcomings of the original release and have implemented bug fixes and performance optimisations. A significant addition in the Director’s Cut is a stronger connection to the lore of Tower of Time. If you enjoyed the core gameplay loop of Dark Envoy’s original release but were frustrated by the bugs and story, the Director’s Cut is worth a revisit. The potential improvements to the narrative and the Tower of Time connection could offer a more rewarding experience, especially if you’re already invested in that world.

Overall, Dark Envoy’s dual protagonists, robust character-building system and tactical slo-mo combat makes for some dynamic combat situations. You can customise your party well and control them even better on the battlefield, switching between tactical pause and slo-mo with ease. The Director’s Cut definitely has the game in a better place than at release, and if you enjoyed Tower of Time, you would get even more fun out of Dark Envoy.

This review utilised a key provided by Evolve PR and Dark Envoy: Director’s Cut is out now on Steam and GOG.


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