The Last Hero of Nostalgaia has one of the more satirical approaches to the Souls-like genre and earned a score of 8/10 on our website, stating the base game as being one that has “manifested another fantastic entry” with the Souls-likes. The Rise of Evil is the first DLC to hit the market, portraying a range of unique new weapons, enemies and familiar locations.
How Do I Get There?
There are two new ways to access the DLC that give players a chance to explore new locations, one of these being the Easymaker’s Retreat. Traversing through the sewers near Oreshaft Village will lead players to a familiar setting that hails inspiration from the first Dark Souls. Rickety bridges, wooden planks and dangerous enemy placements are all included in this homage to Blighttown. Whether intentional or not, the greatly reduced frame-rate in this area is either a clear case of bad optimisation or a funny callback to the seventh generation console versions. Nevertheless, players can fight new enemy types in these areas, such as giant pig-men with swords, tall abominations that attack with their necks like giraffes, and ninja-like humanoid enemies that prefer to constantly jump around the player in quick fashions.
Life’s No Beach for Heroes
Journeying forth brings the player to an abandoned beach-like area that holds most of the same enemy types but introduces a nice change of environment that doesn’t leave the player wondering whether enemies or gravity will be their doom. New NPCs are also introduced, including an armoured gentleman who appears several times through the areas surrounding Easymaker’s Retreat, eventually becoming a disappointing, ganky boss fight to finish off the first area. Souls-likes are well known for their memorable boss battles, but The Rise of Evil DLC doesn’t quite hit the mark. Why not maybe a giant crab boss to correlate with the beach or some kind of unique enemy that isn’t just a couple of NPCs? The inevitable conclusive fight for the first area dulls any kind of leadup to what the final confrontation could’ve been.
Hitting Bedrock Bottom
Remember the My Crafter weapon in The Depths? The second DLC area, known as the Builder’s Sanctuary, expands Nostalgaia into a huge, fan-serviced Minecraft world filled with killer Steve-like enemies, walking heads and stoned goliaths eager to take the life of the wandering hero. Unfortunately, this area is as linear as they come, and players cannot freely smash away blocks of stone and wood to access hidden pathways and secrets like they can in Minecraft. Instead, players must traverse this blocky world in true Souls-like fashion, traversing branching paths and evading ambushing enemies.
What Game Is This Again?
Players can find several new items in the Builder’s Sanctuary, like armour sets that would seem very familiar to gamers who have played Mojang Studios’ biggest selling video game. Want to look like somebody’s favourite square-headed protagonist? Well, you can’t, but you can don the armour of a pre-generated, blocky Minecraft citizen if you’re luckily enough to find the set. Equip a pickaxe and you’ll almost feel like you’re playing the real thing.
Voices in My Head
Unfortunately, there are no new NPCs to speak of, besides the overbearing Sophia, a voice lingering over the hero and sending mobs of enemies to defeat them when reaching certain points of progress. Sophia is the main antagonist of the DLC and is ultimately fought in a boss battle that begins with two waves of enemy ganks and finishing with an epic 1 v 1 on a platform surrounded by lava. Each phase has Sophia call more minions to help defeat you, which makes the fight more challenging in an annoying sort of way. Sophia is your basic Minecraft rip-off carrying a sword and shield who needs to rely on enemy summons to make up for her lack of unique move sets. Alas, this boss fight is not much better than the one in Easymaker’s Retreat and offers the same problems present in the first DLC area.
Finishing both areas will ultimately lead players to a final boss fight, which I will not spoil. However, aside from its stunningly new environments, spooky new enemy types and a fantastic but small addition of new weaponry, The Rise of Evil is an underwhelming experience that has the potential to have some truly brilliant final encounters but misses the mark on both sides of the coin.
Developer: Over The Moon
Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PS5, Xbox One, PS4, Steam, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 20th June 2023