ReviewsReview: Grim Dawn

Review: Grim Dawn

Definitive Edition


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War is a terrible and needless act! There are always winners and losers, and then there are the innocent bystanders whose lives are ruined. Grim Dawn: Definitive Edition explores this idea within its dark fantasy world and eerie and creepy atmosphere.

Developed and published by Crate Entertainment, this is a wonderful isometric ARPG adventure. Fans of Diablo or Path of Exile must pay attention, as Grim Dawn is a new contender to the throne. Capable of being played solo or with a party of four heroes, this is one game that’ll entertain you for hours.

Grim Dawn highlights mankind’s greed.

No matter the genre or format, I love a great tale that highlights mankind’s greed. Grim Dawn is the latest game to utilise this idea, and unsurprisingly, it’s the catalyst to our end. Cairn is a grimy, dark place that is on the brink of destruction thanks to an otherworldly battle between two spiteful beings. Mankind tried to manipulate these entities for their advantages, but shock, horror, it went wrong. Our error allowed these creatures to enter our realm, and this was one of many mistakes we made.

The evil monsters care not about humans or their world, they simply want to be victorious. They will stop at nothing, and they use us as a pawn in their deadly games. First, there are the Aetherials, who like nothing more than to steal our bodies for their own devious plans. And second, the Cthonians are a destructive bunch who love to kill Aetherials while they are possessing humans.

No matter which way you look at it, mankind is doomed! Grim Dawn opens with your character hanging from a noose. He/she has been possessed by an Aetherial and 3 wily hunters capture you to destroy this beast. Before they can complete their task, the creature leaves your body, and you are left fighting for your life. Here your journey begins as you are taken in and must build trust with this tiny pocket of humanity.

So many wonderful areas to explore.

Familiar mechanics that lack creativity.

Whenever I tackle an ARPG, I expect character customisation and an element of creative flair. However, Grim Dawn ignores this staple mechanic. Fortunately, though, this oversight matters not, as it has zero impact upon the gameplay or story. Unlike its peers, you open as a blank canvas with only the option of your gender available. As you level up, you are awarded ability points to spend on each skill tree. This was fantastic, as you could tailor your class to your approach. Furthermore, if you play with friends, you can create a band of warriors that complement each other.

Like others in the genre, this is all about quests, fast-paced combat, and oodles of loot! You must level your character, destroy all-powerful monsters, and arm yourself with absurd equipment. You quickly become absorbed by the madness that ensues as you hack away at your foes while exploring a vast, dank world. Subsequently, the story and its otherworldly entities play second fiddle to the intriguing quests that unfold.

You’ll be expected to listen to NPCs and make decisions from the text-based dialogue. The often depressing and sombre tales leave you with limited choices. No matter what you decide, the outcome is usually as grim as the information itself. It was wonderfully dark as you decided to help one party, kill another, or leave them to their own devices. This side of the game never became tiresome and was a welcome distraction from the unprecedented levels of hack n slash action.

So much equipment to collect.

Grim Dawn lacks the polish of its peers.

I’ve spent hours playing Diablo III, and I loved its polished finish and detailed world. I guess this has tainted my expectations of the genre, as Grim Dawn looks understated by comparison. Therefore, experiencing this on a 4K TV was painful, as the lack of details made it difficult to follow. Subsequently, the combat is usually a blur of spells, gunfire, and the flailing of swords. You tap away on your controller and kill the hordes of enemies that engulf you. However, you have little idea of what is happening. This gets progressively worse as you tackle more powerful creatures or attempt to play with friends.

Though the combat is blurry and hectic, the landscape and barren world are phenomenal. The Victorian-era setting is beautifully represented, and the atmosphere is enhanced by the earthy colours and grainy finish. The isometric viewpoint is assisted by the excellent and free-flowing camera. This was an excellent decision, as you can manipulate your viewing angle for the best possible experience.

In a gritty world filled with desperate humans, you need a strong and dramatic soundtrack. Grim Dawn delivers this by the bucket load thanks to its blend of upbeat and slower tunes. Complemented further by its snippets of spoken dialogue, you quickly become swept up in the moment.

Far too much going on.

Better with a mouse and keyboard.

Unsurprisingly, Grim Dawn is more enjoyable when played with a mouse and keyboard. A controller lacks the required accuracy, and this makes the UI clumsy and counter-intuitive. Therefore, altering equipment, combining items, or selecting submenus was tricky. Luckily, however, with a little patience, you’ll overcome the shortcomings and master the cumbersome controls.

ARPGs are created with longevity and replay value in mind, and this is no different! You’ll explore, gather loot, take on quests, and level up. There is never a shortage of things to do and this is helped further by the multiplayer option. Whether you tackle this solo or with friends, you’ll have a great time.

Grim Dawn: A great addition to the genre.

Creating a classic game in this genre is tough. Diablo has the lion’s share of the market and breaking that monopoly isn’t easy. However, Grim Dawn offers enough to make it stand out from its peers. It’s not perfect, but few games are. The graphics lack detail, the loot system is a little off, and the controls aren’t the best. Yet, these are minor flaws compared to their many positives. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! The world is ending and survival is your primary concern. Do you have what it takes, or will the warring entities end mankind’s existence?


Grim Dawn: Definitive Edition is a wonderful and dark ARPG. You must explore the vast, dank world while fighting endless hordes of horrendous creatures. Collect loot, level your character, and choose your path.

+ Fantastic audio.
+ It rivals Diablo.
+ Solo and multiplayer action.
+ Lots of replay value.
+ Masses of equipment.
- The graphics lack detail.
- The controls lack accuracy with a gamepad.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC.)
Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email:
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Grim Dawn: Definitive Edition is a wonderful and dark ARPG. You must explore the vast, dank world while fighting endless hordes of horrendous creatures. Collect loot, level your character, and choose your path.<br/> <br/> + Fantastic audio.<br/> + It rivals Diablo.<br/> + Solo and multiplayer action.<br/> + Lots of replay value.<br/> + Masses of equipment.<br/> - The graphics lack detail.<br/> - The controls lack accuracy with a gamepad.<br/> <br/> (Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC.) <br/>Review: Grim Dawn