The Last Dogma: A promising start for solo dev

The Last Dogma is a first-person shooter with heavy story elements, puzzles, and a sense of adventure. At the time of this write-up the game is still in pre-release so this is more of an unscored preview than a scored review. What is here so far is interesting to say the least and could quite possibly end up being rather compelling. Rather than barreling through a series of encounters and racking up kill counts and head-shots, this requires a more methodical approach. There are few enemies, but dying is easy. Dogma requires a light touch, and with physics-based puzzles and objects to manipulate, it didn’t take me long before I was picking up pallets of wood to block enemies.

In a dystopian, empire-expanding US, you play as an Anti-Terrorist Force agent ostensibly infiltrating a cult compound. This is only the beginning though, and by the time you’re dealing with demons and time-travel, you’re going to be very confused.

By the time you’re dealing with demons and time-travel, you’re going to be very confused.

There’s also a large amount of satire spread throughout. The tutorial in particular made me laugh. It has a kind of dry, self-aware sarcasm that’s rare in video games; poking fun at itself for being a tutorial while teaching you basics like jumping and crouching. The only other example I can think of is the tutorials from the Spider-Man movie adaptations, narrated by Bruce Campbell. There’s also a bonus level that satirizes the game industry as a whole.

The “adventure” part of Dogma is mostly in the conversation/investigation system which uses the very traditional look, talk, examine that will be familiar to anyone with experience in the genre, with major story points told in comic book format. The feel of the combat, however, is a bit more in the direction of Silent Hill, with avoidance usually being the best option, and emptying a clip when you cannot.

While I cannot comment on sound as a whole (much of it was missing from the version I played) the music was creepy and effective, easily heightening the sense of dread and menace present while playing.

I wish there was a bit more direction early on. I spent a lot of time wandering around looking for objectives. This is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things and something easily fixed before release.

The real charm of this game is that it’s clearly the vision of one single person. While rough around the edges in a way that you don’t ever see in mainstream gaming, you’re going to ultimately get a more personal, interesting experience. The only caveat is whether or not the divergent elements can come together elegantly, or end up being a rather odd duck. I for one can’t wait for the finished product.