The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot Preview (PC)

How do you innovate in a genre filled with the same copy-and-pasted mechanics? How do you go about creating another RPG, without designing the same busty elves? A Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is about to show you how.

A mightier name couldn't have been picked for Ubisoft's surprise of the year. Strafing in from the sidelines like a software ninja, this self-reverential action RPG has aspirations of being Diablo, Dungeon Keeper, and MineCraft - unexpectedly, it carries off all three with the type of chin-titled swagger known only to two unibrowed Manchurian songsters.

Taking on the role of both attacker and defender, builder and destroyer, this is an ambitious project more befitting of an indie than a hulking publisher such as Ubisoft. Players create their own castles, detailing fine furniture, ample living space - and then fill these houses of floating wonder with the machinations of death. With monsters, puzzles, and enough devices to strip Death Trap Dungeon of its name for being too conservative, this one looks particularly special.

At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Ubisoft has overlooked the fact that it is making two ARPGs. Might and Magic Raiders and A Mighty Quest for Epic look to share a common ancestry of fast mouse-clicks, and also a cartoony style: but this is where the comparison ends. Without shaming its publishing stable mate, the innovations on offer in this game puts it head and shoulders above the rest. Throw in online matchmaking and an auction house and I'll be swooning like a 1920's dame.

While story details are thin on the ground at this point, let's just say you are implored to design a castle. To save time, space, and to explain why there is thousands of them, these land masses also float. Everybody keeping up? Now in this particular world of Mighty Quests and really rather shiny loot, places made of brick and bracken also have a habit of being broken into. Numerous times.

And this is why you, like any self-respecting gun-toting farmer, fill it with traps and beasts. As other players storm your breach, and bother your loot room, it is in your interest to stop them, or at least release the hounds.

Which is why an entire jamboree of creatures are at your disposal. Each room within your gravity-defying sanctum can hold a specific amount of contraptions and teethy foes, so being creative is key. From a club-carrying Cyclops, to your generic, common or garden goblin, units can be spammed, trapdoors devilishly placed, and the odd dragon tethered to treasure chests. The fun never ends when murder is in mind.

So once you have designed your castle, then it is unleashed upon the world, and other players can jump-in and see if they hop over your tossed gauntlet. At the end of it all, a rating is submitted, and those with the best fortresses of death receive reward and renown as their creations raise to the top of the in-game scenarios.

And then there's the flip-side to all of this. If you are done you can turn Alpha and Omega; once creator and now destroyer of worlds - now it's your turn to equip a sword and go hog-wild in someone else's creations.

Like any self-respecting ARPG A Mighty Quest for Epic Loot comes with the usual trailing cans of the genre. There are class-definitions, as well as inventory considerations. The goal is to scale levels, gain cash, and strap on evermore increasingly impressive helmets. Or swords. Or leggings. You get the point.

In an MMO-like format, when looking for castles to storm, players are treated to a fully 3D overview of the world. Within this are 8 stages, each of which span 5 levels reaching to the cap of 35: the goal is to get there, and thus become a better person.

Entering someone's creation is a matter of surfing through the assembled levels and accepting the challenge. Once inside, it's all blood, guts, and glory. One of AMQFEL's biggest appeals is its charmingly self-aware visuals. Sitting somewhere between Diablo and DeathSpank, the self-parody becomes clear with high gothic arches effortlessly creating atmosphere, while humorous jabs such as goblin pianists dance along the keys off in the distance.

And would it sound wrong to take a moment and express and orgasmic glee at the game's textures? Everything from smooth floor tiles, to the flexing of Cyclopic muscles is rendering with slick confidence. This game doesn't just look good, it is pouting in your direction, occasionally thrusting its anti-aliasing towards you suggestively.

So once you remained your tongue from the screen, the action elements will feel particularly familiar. Hot keys cue up a number of predefined skills, while the left and right mouse will deliver pain. Each player can build to through specific talent trees, and while its traditional, this is the greatest let down of what is such an innovative product. When will we see something different when it comes to clicking and tapping in ARPGs?

With everything taken into account, AMQFL is looking to be a surprising leftfield hit for Ubisoft. Aside from the rather generic-looking combat, the only other concern at this stage is that there is no word of being able to dungeoneer with other players. Challenges can be wrought between friends as to who can complete a castle quickest, but nothing on the front of ganging up and taking down the dragon, Sir Flames A Lot. Get that in order, and this would quickly become one of the most anticipated games of the year.

A Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is shaping up to be a great addition to the ARPG genre. With user-created content, loot, and those ever so mighty quests, this could be a game changer. Expected sometime next year on the PC, I personally can't wait.


By nocutius (SI Elite) on Sep 19, 2012
This sounds very interesting, will try to keep an eye on it, specially if it ends up with some sort of co-op.