Review | Morbid: The Seven Acolytes
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play Bloodborne with a SNES aesthetic? Well, then look no further than Morbid: The Seven Acolytes by developer Still Running! With an emphasis on dodging, the creepy and demonic atmosphere, and a gun to go along with your melee weapon, the two share a lot in common. However, Morbid carves its own path with an isometric viewpoint and Cronenberg-esque art style. WARNING: Some of the following images are graphic and disturbing.
The game starts with the player awakening on a dark and gloomy shore after being shipwrecked. You quickly learn that the land of Mornia has been taken over by an evil force known as the Gahars for quite some time, and you are the land’s last hope of human survival. The way this will ultimately occur is by slaying the titular “Seven Acolytes” who were powerful and influential beings of the land before the evil invasion, and now help evil reign supreme. But with horrors spread throughout the land, will your sanity be spared?
Going all the way back to 2002, the sanity mechanic in Morbid is reminiscent of Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. With a similar appearance to the health and endurance meters, players will have to keep an eye on their sanity, which drains by various sights and enemy attacks throughout the game. Fortunately, there are several items and character perks to combat this. But if you don’t manage it properly, additional enemies and other horrors will look to overwhelm the player.
Another unique mechanic in Morbid is sneaking. While it won’t work on bosses, you can sneak up on most other enemies and attack for massive damage, giving the player an upper hand in battle. This is invaluable in the early areas of the game, but becomes less necessary after learning enemy attack patterns and obtaining more powerful weapons. And without a shield, players will have to rely on their dodging and parrying abilities to survive. But do these things add up for a recipe to success?
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes has tons of visual variety with its environments and enemies. Going from fishing docks, to a cavern, an overgrown garden, a swampland, and even a steampunk themed city, the areas never feel stale. I can say the same about the enemies (especially the bosses). All the while, the music syncs perfectly with the on-screen horrors and tension. Creepy and pensive while exploring the level, the music boomingly takes center stage during boss battles, taking the experience to greater heights. This is exemplified in a boss fight later in the game.
Not only is the music during boss battles awesome, but so are the battles themselves. Requiring a different approach each time, the boss battle design is excellent and full of variety. They also provide insight into the pain and darkness that the host body has incurred, which plays well into the game’s lore. Also, the game isn’t as punishing as others in the genre. New items, runes, and weapons are plentiful throughout the landscape, so you never feel empty handed. And unlike other Souls games, you don’t lose anything upon death.
Even though it seems like your inventory load is massive at the beginning of the game, it really isn’t. Constantly having to pass on items and weapons or drop existing ones because you’re already at capacity is frustrating. Not having an in-game storage system adds to this frustration. It’s also odd that different NPC’s will repeat the same lines of dialogue spoken by other NPC’s. Initially, I thought that the character I was speaking to had migrated from one area of the game to another. Then I realized that the lines and character designs were being copied and pasted. Personally, I would’ve preferred a world with less human characters to talk to rather than seeing the same character and hearing the same lines over and over again.
When it comes down to it, Morbid: The Seven Acolytes does a lot more good than bad. The music and gameplay are stellar throughout and it takes a unique visual approach to a well established genre. Because of all this, it fits right in with the rest and is well worth your time.