Dolmen Review

Dolmen game review:Massive Work Studio, a Brazilian video game development studio, has made their first attempt at creating a new Soulslike with their game Dolmen. Oh, Dolmen. You were one of the reasons we had such high hopes.

Both Matt K and I had really high hopes that Dolmen would be able to overcome its technical challenges, which we had both noticed in our separate previews of the game that were spread out by five months from one another.

In the end, Dolmen provides little more than a few creative concepts, but these ideas are buried by a cavalcade of performance problems, technical concerns, and a wholly forgettable tale that is scarcely even cohesive.

Is there more to Dolmen beyond the fact that it is merely a Lovecraftian-inspired clone of Souls? Read on for further information in our review of Dolmen:


Massive Work Studio is the responsible developer.

Prime Matter is the publisher.

Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (reviewed), Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X are the platforms available.

Date of Initial Publication: May 20th, 2022

Participants: 1 (Up to 4 for boss co-op)

Price: $39.99 USD

I’m just going to come right out and say it because I can’t think of a more diplomatic way to put it: Dolmen has one of the most unengaging narratives I’ve ever experienced in a game of this kind.

I thought the plot in Hellpoint was bad, but the one in Dolmen is the most boring, poorly put together nonsense I’ve come across in a video game that wasn’t a $5 indie and wasn’t designed solely to unlock achievements.

I don’t know if the developers of Dolmen don’t speak English as their primary language, or if they simply only had a framework of a story in place that they ran out of time to expand on, but to tell you the truth, the experience of playing Dolmen would have been more enjoyable if they hadn’t even bothered with a story at all.

I don’t know if it’s because the developers don’t speak English as their primary language, or if they simply only The quality of my Dolmen review has decreased as a direct result of this.

The plot of Dolmen can be summarized as follows (and despite the fact that I almost never do this, I’m going to give away the finale because it’s so disappointing): The Zoan corporation is searching the entire planet of Revion Prime for something called Dolmen power crystals, and for some reason, these alien monster things are in possession of them.

There are also a few individuals present who are ultimately in charge of the monsters due to the fact that they are able to harness the power that is contained within the Dolmen crystals.

After you have vanquished the last boss, the Zoan corporation will determine that it is in their best interest to forget that any of this ever took place.

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Then, Zoan sends like eight more people out of cryopods (why the hell was I doing this alone if this was an option? ), with the mission of clearing the planet and eliminating all evidence that anyone may have ever been there.

Because it is so unbelievably terrible, they really ought to have just developed the game without any kind of plot at all.

Dolmen isn’t all horrible. Inside you’ll find some hard boss fights, along with some challenging boss battles, some beautiful scenery, and some unusual opponents.

The fact that you will need to farm the bosses for components to develop weapons adds the fact that each enemy has a distinct gimmick to add to the challenge of the fight against them.

To give you an example, in order to craft the Terrorantula weapon, you will have to defeat that foe a total of four times.

This fight is very straightforward; you’ll be facing a large spider that will occasionally call on her minions from the arena’s periphery to help her out.

The battle against the queen has a number of novel gameplay elements, including the necessity to strike tentacles that emerge from the ground below.

The queen fight requires you to dodge a complete grid of the tentacles that rise up, so you are put to the test to rapidly analyze your surroundings and locate the one safe spot in the arena before you are killed by whirling dervish tentacles that also deal fire damage for some reason.

In spite of the fact that I struggled with them at first, I thought the boss’s mechanisms were very cool. The Dolmen experience is truly highlighted by this particular moment.

There are also some interesting normal enemies, such as people who swing a chain that they whirl in front of them to create a shield that reflects all projectile attacks, pausing briefly to lash the chain out and hit you with it.

Other interesting normal enemies include people who swing a chain that they whirl behind them to create a shield that reflects all projectile attacks.

The shadow monsters are also interesting since you can get them very close to death, at which point they will teleport behind you and try to grab you to feed. If they are successful, however, they will return to full health because they siphon your health to replenish their own.

Unfortunately, with the exception of the bosses and a select few hard creatures, the most of the foes you will fight are the standard insect and spider varieties that can be found in any other game that focuses on dark exploration.

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Sadly, if you want to experience the finest that Dolmen has to offer, you’re going to have to put up with a lot of technological troubles in order to do so.

You’ll be able to summon up to three extra players to help you out, however the multiplayer experience was completely broken while I was playing through the game. Multiplayer is only available for “farming” the bosses.

When I was about 75 percent of the way through the game, I joined another player to assist with a fight.

Not only did the game fail to update when I took damage, so I was never sure what my current health status was, but the boss’s health bar also failed to update, so I wasn’t sure if anything I did even made a dent in his overall health.

Even when I was hosting multiplayer lobbies, the game would load new players in while the fight was going on, which resulted in people who couldn’t enter the boss arena standing there like goons and also being out the cost of entry for joining the session.

I learned the mechanics of the fight later on when I got to him naturally in my playthrough, but even then, the game would load new players in while the fight was going on.

You’ll notice that foes may occasionally drop Dolmen fragments, which serve as a form of cash and can be used to respawn or take on bosses.

Because it costs three pieces to resurrect a boss for an attempt, you will either have to pay for them and be teleported into the boss fight alone, or you will be able to host a session in which you will idly wander around waiting/hoping that someone else will join you.

You also have the option to look for open sessions and join one of them by paying an additional cost of three fragments. If you die, you will not be able to successfully farm these fragments because they are a random drop and cannot be controlled.

I know that I had to clear away garbage mobs for approximately forty-five minutes in order to acquire three crystal fragments.

I required those fragments in order to try to spawn the Ferromancer once more in order to gather the necessary components to construct the boss weapon. During the course of my Dolmen review playing, I participated in and hosted approximately six boss fights in the multiplayer mode.

Even if it were only three fragments per crystal, and you could convert the fragments to an item that would allow you to bank those points for when you need them, I think it would be a far better idea if the crystals could drop as whole pieces that could be shattered in the crafting station. While I think the fragments are a neat idea, I think it would be far better if the crystals could drop as whole pieces.

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The fact that you not only lose your Nanites (souls) but also any Dolmen fragments when you die presents a challenge for the execution of the game, despite the fact that this is an interesting concept.

Due to Dolmen’s unstable performance and ambient collision issues, I lost count of the number of times I was cheap-shot, stun-locked, or just fell to my death while making my way back to a corpse.

During the course of writing my review for Dolmen, I would venture to guess that I misplaced more than 30 fragments during the length of the approximately eight hours it took me to complete the game.

The fact that I liked Dolmen enough to score it, despite the fact that it actively worked against me for the entire game, is a source of immense frustration for me. There is a Quality mode available on PlayStation that traces rays and looks good, but the frame rate is so low that it is unplayable and runs at something like 12 FPS.

Even in performance mode, the game is still marred by jank and stuttering, but it runs more smoothly and is definitely playable.

There is a random chance that the frame rate can drop or stutter, and foes will occasionally just appear out of nowhere with their textures. On top of that, locking on is unreliable, which means that you may be shooting an enemy that you have locked on, but then all of a sudden you could be shooting the ground because it decided to unlock.

I also fall off of the earth because I got too close to an edge or a hole even though you should be able to walk straight across it. In addition to this, the camera randomly decides to just start spinning, and yeah, you get the idea.

Dolmen isn’t a terrible game, but it was most certainly not ready to be launched when it was originally planned. It’s possible that future patches will make it better, but as it is, there’s no way this game is worth even $20 in its current state, let alone $40.

It’s not even worth $10. If you are looking for a futuristic Souls clone, you should try the Hellpoint or The Surge titles instead of picking up Dolmen unless the game is available for free on PS+ or Xbox Game Pass.


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