Arguably one of the best disclaimers I’ve read of late, Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer states that this is a hardcore tactical roguelike and that you should ‘be prepared to spend several hours mastering the game to achieve victory and bring death to the mortal lands’.
It’s refreshing for a game to be upfront on the sacrifices you’ll inevitably have to make to get to grips with the game. There are four difficulty levels starting with Cakewalk, through to Eternal Harvest – reserved for those ‘eager to go one step beyond’. For review purposes, I opted for More Pain! the next one up from Cakewalk.
This review is a double whammy as I didn’t have the base game, so this is a review of that including the DLC with the new minion, the reaper – quite possibly my favourite, so good timing, eh?
Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer Review
In Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer, from Unfrozen and published by Daedalic Entertainment, you play Iratus – a necromancer who has been sacrificed one too many times but is back from the dead to command a legion of minions.
Initially, it was some poor miners who stumble upon your grave, so naturally, you have to kill them all, dungeon-crawling to an extent so that you can rise another level to finally get to the surface and enslave the living.
Visually it’s like Vambrace: Cold Soul – you could say Darkest Dungeon, but I haven’t got around to playing that yet. Out of the three examples, Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer looks the best. The character models and lighting effects no longer have that cut out aesthetic, and I found myself marvelling at them – notably the varied characters on offer.
It’s ok to take a bit of time here as Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer is turn-based combat. You’d assume that the game would be a real-time strategy; commanding the hordes of the dead; instead, you have a small party to survive as long as possible. Should a minion die, you make a new one until you’re out of ingredients.
Combat is intuitive in that you want to reduce the enemies HP as swiftly and as efficiently as possible. However, there’s another element here that plays on sanity levels. Characters can induce fear and cause stress to one another, inflicting various stages of sanity.
In this case, you can weaken the enemy, inspire them, cause instantaneous death and also provoke them to flee a battle. This is a great strategy to weaken enemies, along with debuffs and abilities to increase your attacks.
Stats and resources are whittled down to three things: mana, wrath and spell power. We all know what mana is for, but with wrath, this is required for ultimate abilities and spell power increases each time you level up a character. While Iratus isn’t a character on screen, you can select from a range of destructive spells to cast, while still controlling your minion’s turn.
Consumables in Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer can be used once per battle, and you can craft these at your base using various ingredients, combining similar types to make potions or wearable gear for your party. Additionally, there are artefacts too that can be equipped by Iratus.
Literally, Build An Army
In between battles you can create new minions from parts awarded from your fights. Create anything from banshees to the new reaper, exclusive to this DLC; Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer. Easily my go-to character, the reaper is horsebound and slashes the enemy with a powerful melee attack with his scythe.
These characters can be levelled up through usage. Equipping them with better gear, a new brain (yes, you can insert a brain with a higher level to improve their stats and abilities!), choose an alternative skin and rename characters with names such as Chlamydia or Nancy.
As your numbers increase, you can then create a squad of your best talents. Perhaps a damage-dealing setup, a party that features a tank at the front and stress inducers at the back, or even a mismatch of characters to interchange between battles to rest them, should you not have enough vigor left. There are four parties you can use, but I seldom had enough minions due to sacrificing them for new gear.
Most of the time, you can select a path on the map screen. It’s not overly complicated as you typically take the left or right path, but sometimes planning will be the decider on whether you’ll survive or not. Another way of boosting your chances is by developing the buildings in your base by assigning a minion, and the cog currency for experience boosts, more cogs plus other boosts like wrath, vigor and mana.
Not So Much A Grind
Despite the earlier disclaimer, I didn’t find Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer to be incredibly difficult – certainly not hardcore. Then again, this was for the opening stages where I was winging it a bit and didn’t realise I was in the tutorial mode. When you genuinely have to manage what consumables to take in with you, levelling up a team that work well together (and not just having a ‘star player) is paramount to survival.
Expect to die (again), and you can’t bring these minions back, so don’t get too attached. That said, levelling up a character so far to lose them is so frustrating. As long as you have the option in the difficulty mode you select, I recommend checking the save game option. You’ll need it.
That said, if you’re able to swap out and rest your players, there’s a good chance of levelling up and lasting longer. My faithful reaper, Gary, is still with me, as is my dark knight, Vulgaris. The archers in the game are wicked with their critical hits, but I often lost mine so had to rest them a lot due to low health, but decent evasion skills.
Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer is quite a long game and can get a little repetitive. I certainly didn’t get bored and would spend hours running through to complete one floor at a time. There’s plenty of options for customisation and incentives to unlock new minions by completing feats, so for me, this is a hit. If you like similar titles, Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer with the wicked reaper is undoubtedly worth the purchase.
Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer
A well thought out strategy game of anti-heroes with excellent abilities (stay clear of the Lich though!), Iratus Lord Of The Dead Wrath Of The Necromancer with he new reaper class will make you want to get out of your coffin in the morning.
- Varied playstyles; melee, magic and stress!
- Excellent character design (including enemies).
- Pretty tough, but fair.
- Can get repetitive.
- Losing a favourite minion sucks arse.
- Challenging to unlock more minions.