Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn – Everything You Need to Know

Your musket is no match for my magic fox

Posted By | On 02nd, Jul. 2024

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn – Everything You Need to Know

Here we go again, folks, another new Soulslike game from…wait, what’s that? It’s a Souls-lite, not soulslike? Oh, okay. The creators of the co-op soulslike game Ashen are finally nearing the release of their most ambitious project yet, Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn. If you watched the impressive June Xbox conference, you likely saw this game and thought, “Huh, that looks cool. Nice magical fox!” Well, a demo is out on Steam for Flintlock and my impression leans on the positive side. Here are the 15 things you need to know before you buy Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.

From the Makers of Ashen

Ashen rode the inaugural wave of Soulslikes when it released at the tail-end of 2018. That game took a more minimalistic approach to the sub-genre with its basic moveset and an unassuming clay-like art style. Oh yeah, and the entirety of Ashen could be played with a partner via co-op. Because of A44’s history developing Ashen, they have the experience necessary to craft a larger Souls-lite game. It would be really cool to see Flintlock eventually get the dedicated co-op treatment that Ashen had, but it’s an entirely solo affair for now.

Is a ‘Souls-lite’, Not Quite a ‘Soulslike’

Flintlock aims to be less punishing than its FromSoftware inspiration. For one, the gun combat really makes getting out of a tough situation more feasible with the ability to quickly get out of harm’s way using the numerous mobility options afforded to you. Flintlock makes the experience more approachable with three difficulty settings: ‘story’, ‘normal’, and ‘hard’. The most striking difference from its Souls counterpart is the way the story is told. Flintlock isn’t afraid to throw in cinematics and dialogue that actually makes total sense the first time you come across it. As such, the story and combat are more welcoming in Flintolock: Siege of Dawn than typical Soulslikes.

Has familiar Souls ‘Bonfire’ System

flintlock 1

The devs don’t shy away from Flintlock’s FromSoft inspiration, and nowhere is that seen so strongly as its checkpoints. Checkpoints reset enemy encounters on the map and dying ejects your currency called ‘Reputation’, requiring you to return and defeat the enemy again to reclaim them again. This bonfire infrastructure isn’t deviating much at all from what initially inspired it, managing to provide satisfying risk/reward within the gun/axe gameplay found in Flintlock.

Pre-determined Build Similar to Sekiro and Bloodborne

Want to break the game using a crazy build the devs didn’t originally intend? Well, that probably isn’t possible in Flintlock. You control a pre-established main character named Nor, along with her magical fox companion Enki. Nor only uses her axe, flintlock pistol, and musket to dispatch foes. To help keep your tool kit fresh, there’s a skill tree for your weapons and Enki’s magical powers. Think of a more clunky combo of Bloodborne’s gun-countering abilities and Sekiro’s stance meter and you have the right picture of Flintlock’s gun/axe combat.

Movement is Quick, but Floaty

flintlock 2

Speaking of clunky, the movement aims to be graceful, yet ends up feeling floaty instead. The game prides itself on its dance-like parkour maneuverability with abilities such as a double jump and aerial dash. In addition, the fox companion Enki allows you to take flight and teleport between long distances. That said, movement feels somewhat imprecise at the moment, with floaty jumps filled with animation fluff getting in the way of seeing where you land. There’s no reliable way to block attacks in Flintlock, so dodging and ‘dancing’ around your enemy is the core method of defense; I hope it’s just me settling into the feel of the game’s groove and this imprecision isn’t something that keeps people from enjoying it. That being said, this game is heavy on parrying, so you can always go that route to avoid getting hit if evasive maneuvers prove too janky to rely on.

Demo Has a Number of Bugs

Flintlock isn’t out yet, but the playable demo on Steam has seen its fair share of bugs. Thankfully, a lot of the bugs can be ignored and fall within the range of humorous backward-flying dragons seen in Skyrim. Other bugs, however, leave tutorial characters stuck in the terrain halting your progress forward. Hopefully, the team can squash the larger bugs plaguing the demo before Flintlock’s release on July 18th.

Semi-Open World Environments

Flintlock gives you plenty of freedom to explore and play in a non-linear way, but these open areas aren’t seamlessly connected in games like Elden Ring. There are three large zones in Flintlock that we know about, each separated by a loading screen. This division of areas may appeal to gamers overwhelmed by huge open-world games. It can be nice having bite-sized chunks to complete rather than a huge landmass with an endless amount of seamless content.

Unique Setting With Some Myth Thrown In

flintlock the siege of dawn

Flintlock’s fusion of historical and fantastical myth, with a pinch of New Zealand thrown in, is quite unique. This fusion of styles permeates every aspect of the game, from its gameplay using guns and magical abilities, to the lore embedded in the names ‘Enki’ and factions like the Coalition army. There’s not a lot of games inspired by the New Zealand landscapes, so Flintlock hits a pretty unique niche that sets it apart.

Flintlock’s Lore is Straightforward and Plentiful

The story and lore of Flintlock’s world isn’t told to you through item descriptions and puzzle pieces. Instead, A44 Studios took a more straightforward, cinematic approach. Cutscenes outlining key events are interspersed throughout, and characters talk to you with the intention of being understood, a far cry from the more obscure storytelling of FromSoft games.

Plot Is Rushed at Times

The story may be straightforward, but I found it to be rushed at times. The beginning portions of the narrative sweep you off from one plot point to another without any time for the characters to develop in between. Still, there’s some juicy story implications here that can turn around for the better in the mid and late-game plot reveals.

Your Fox Companion Enki Is Always by Your Side

First off, Enki isn’t annoying in the slightest; what a relief. I can’t be the only one getting fatigued by quippy companion characters like the talking cuff from Forspoken interjecting smart remarks every time you take a breath. Enki helps the main character Nor to set the land straight again. I really like Enki’s magical abilities and enhancements to your more grounded attacks, and I’m thankful his dialogue isn’t cringe-inducing.

Character and Enemy Designs Are More Unique Than Trailers Suggest

flintlock the siege of dawn

The preview footage for Flintlock shows a large dosage of undead enemies, but my time in the demo surprised me with even more outlandish character design. The bosses look very striking, taking inspiration from real-world myth and legends from various cultures. And then there’s your multi-limbed barista casually hoisting its scarlet mask away from its strange body in the coffee shops. There’s still a lot of undead enemies though, however, their uniformity is offset by the faction system at play throughout the game.

Formulaic Settlement System

The usual tropes of open-world games encroaches upon Flintlock with zone settlement liberations. Each settlement has its own boss that, upon defeating, re-populates the area with services such as coffee shops and NPC quests. The side quests are generic ‘fetch item A and bring it back’ fare and the stories accompanying them aren’t much better. Such a formulaic pattern is sure to be a pain point for some gamers, but it may be less painful in Flintlock due to its more involved gameplay systems and interesting setting.

Tabletop Card Game Offers a Nice Diversion

And of course, what better setting to have a card game in than Flintlock’s mythical fusion? Yes, there’s a fully-fledged card game within the coffee shops of Flintlock, and they’re quite fun. While not as involved as The Witcher 3’s Gwent, it offers a fun diversion from the usual action-oriented gameplay. The Blackjack-based game has some issues with AI making poor decisions on turns, so hopefully this minigame gets patched at launch to provide a more balanced experience.

Is a Single-Player Only Game and Not a Live-Service

Last but not least, we can’t end this list without mentioning what a relief it is to see Flintlock releasing as a standalone single-player experience with no live-service stuff. The base price is $39.99, with a promotion on Steam for $35.99 until the game’s release. Flintlock may be worth checking out if you want a straightforward action game with no strings attached.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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