The first time I got really far in Mortal Sin and unlocked its third area, I thought I was overpowered. My character was basically Guts from Berserk: he would become immune to damage whenever he launched into his spinning sword Beyblade power attack, and he'd snagged a rare drop greatsword that would trigger it without a windup to boot. On muddling through that third area and reaching Mortal Sin's early access endgame though, I realized my error: you have to be overpowered to survive these final levels.
Mortal Sin is a first-person melee combat-focused roguelike from solo developer Nikola Todorovic. We actually published a review of Mortal Sin last March after an early version of the game was mistakenly labeled as a finished build by a third party representing Todorovic. Despite that mix-up, PC Gamer contributor Tom Sykes loved that early version of the game and its "heart-stopping melee" combat, giving it a very respectable 81%, and I'm pleased to report that the complaints he did have are well addressed in the game's impending early access release.
The first-person melee combat is the star of the show here, and it's been refined and reduced like an unctuous demi-glace. Connecting a hit with an enemy produces a crunchy, screen-shaking hit register that clips the action ever so slightly and sends their nasty giblets flying every which way, leaving delimbed (and often beheaded) opponents to wander impotently until you put them out of their misery. It feels incredible, and when you wade into a big group of enemies and just give them one big swing of the "One Hundred Man Slayer," hoo boy! Just a chunk chunk chunk, with the screen juddering as it makes contact with each enemy in turn, practically lagging out from all the hit registers.
Mortal Sin passes two crucial gut checks for me: the first is that when I'm not playing it, I find my thoughts drifting back to its blue and red hellscapes and brutal melee dance—it's a game I got lost in playing, and I was so deep in one play session that I almost forgot to run out and buy my nephew's birthday gift before the shop closed. The other is that each class unlock feels like it could be my new favorite. Tom's criticism that the early version of Mortal Sin didn't have enough meta progression was well and truly addressed.
I was wondering how I could play anything other than the pugilistic, open palm and roundhouse kicking Monk, but then I unlocked the Berserker and found that damned sword, the only videogame Dragonslayer, Buster Sword, "large hunk of iron," big ass sword that's felt as good as the ones FromSoftware makes. And even as I say that, I find myself eyeing the distant unlock of the blood orb-launching, cast-from-hit points Vampire class.
Mortal Sin is elevated further by its presentation. Every frame looks like it was lifted from a metal album cover or '70s fantasy dust jacket. It's a Van Wizard, prog rock sort of game. Mortal Sin has the timeless, cell-shaded perfection of something like Okami, and I think my only wish is that Todorovic gets more sci-fi and weird with future dungeon tilesets, like he did in the game's final level and hidden areas.
Really, it's a must-buy, even in early access, and I can't wait to see how it grows as development goes on. You can wishlist Mortal Sin on Steam right now, and can play it yourself in just a few days when it releases on March 15.
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Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.