Undecember Review

Action RPGs satisfy a very personal urge for destruction. Building a character into a walking machine of death can make each violent battle and bloody skirmish satisfying on an intimate level.

While most Action RPGs have gravitated towards high-quality encounters with a few enemies, like Weird West and Path of Exile, most refrain from mass murder on a gratuitous scale. 

undecember

Enter Undecember, a Free-to-Play unhinged RPG with no regard for life as we mow down literal hundreds of monsters nearly every moment of the game. 

Though Undecember delivers in terms of its visual quality and sheer enemy quantity, the graphic gameplay and visuals give way to a clumsy UI, weak narrative, and brutal paywall that bring our relentless butchery to a grinding halt.

Still, for those willing to invest a little money in this “free-to-play” action RPG or an excessive amount of level grinding, Undecember offers a wonderfully violent trip through a visually impressive wasteland.

Brutal Action to Boring Grind

Cathartic, visceral, and on mass, Undecember’s first two chapters deliver deliciously explicit gameplay.

The sheer quantity of enemies we face never ceases to amaze us as we hack, shoot, and fireball our way through hundreds of foes in each area. Especially with the game’s vast selection of techniques and spells, Undecember offers a staggering level of gameplay depth from the get-go.

Unfortunately, the further we get into Undecember, we’ll find ourselves progressively weaker as the foes scale at a pace we’re ill-equipped to meet.

While I endured the first few sections of the game effortlessly, I soon found myself teleporting past damage-sponged minibosses and rats. By act 3, it took nearly half a minute to defeat the weakest foe and 15 minutes to chip away a quarter of the final bosses’ health.

Overall, though it grabbed my interest at the start, Undecember’s initially fantastic experience progressively declined. Unless we’re willing to pay past the paywall, we’ll enjoy a decent 1-2 hours of fantasy mass murder and another 5 hours of tedious frustration until we’re unable to progress.

Authored by an Illiterate Ogre

Undecember’s story is a complex mess of fantasy elements fighting for control. While the game’s premise centers around our quest for fame and fortune, the overall narrative is buried under mountains of enemy corpses, stunted by abrupt area shifts, and plagued with busy work that leaves us decidedly numb to the world around us.

Even the characters function like cardboard cutouts of fantasy tropes (i.e. the gruff general or snake-like advisor) who address us with mundane dialogue and nonsense demands.

Although I have to give the game credit for giving each area a condensed story with a rewarding ending, the disconnect between sections leads to some frustrating situations.

Even after we’ve saved the sand settlement or medieval kingdom region, we’ll still have to prove ourselves to the local frog chieftain with tedious busywork and murder. The lack of acknowledgment between areas made our adventure seem unimportant and hours of struggle.

All in all, Undecember’s weak narrative and shallow worldbuilding make for a decidedly uncompelling adventure. Those looking for exciting stories with quirky characters and believable worlds will find little in Undecember’s meager universe.

Visuals: Fantasy Freemium at its Best

Despite the glaring issues with its narrative and gameplay, Undecember knocks it out of the park with the highly-polished monster and background visuals. From its varied enemy designs to ultra-detailed environments and cutscenes, Undecembers offers impressive visual quality for a free-to-play title.

highly-polished monster and background visuals

By far, Undecember’s best feature lies in encountering new enemy types in each room. Each area offered a uniquely designed enemy type, from violent pillar-wielding missionaries to tentacled eldritch horrors and so much more. Even if I enjoyed the combat less as I went on, I was always delighted to see the new type of foe endemic to a particular area.

new enemy types in each room

Despite a few reuses of the same assets, primarily the rats and bats, encountering the new enemies of a region was a delightful surprise that never failed to impress with its varied visual variety.

An Orc-Infested UI

an orc-infested ui

Undecember’s enemies aren’t the brightest bunch of the lot. While the bosses employ challenging movesets, we can sidestep and teleport past most enemies who immediately forget about us. While dull, I thoroughly enjoyed outwitting our foes with strategic pivots and dodge rolls. 

undecember's enemies

Unfortunately, Undecember’s inventory management and upgrade system were complex and clunky. Enemies yield excessive loot we’ll have to eliminate to make room for better equipment and runes. While this shouldn’t have been an issue, the game only lets us select a single piece of loot at a time, forcing us to individually drop 50 pieces of worthless equipment before continuing our journey each time.

undecember

Worse yet, the poorly explained RNG leveling system meant sorting through several rune upgrades that could impair unlucky players’ playstyles. While dedicated players may take it upon themselves to unravel this cryptic system, this was yet another hiccup that frustrated an already struggling playthrough.

From Invincible Beginner to Weakling Hero

late-game monsters

Progression in Undecember is exceptionally underwhelming. While I enjoyed the power trip of demolishing hordes of foes in the prologue and first act, their increasing health and damage on future levels meant I was nearly helpless against late-game monsters.

late-game monsters

From the second act onwards, we’ll notice a distinct change in the power dynamic as common mobs kill us in seconds. By the third act, common enemies pose a monumental challenge, and the final boss of the chapter is seemingly impossible to beat without paying money.

Overall, expect to feel less like a mighty hero and more like an unlucky peasant the further we get in the game. Even as we gain access to new spells, armor, and weapons, enemies level exponentially, leaving us progressively weaker as we face increasingly aggressive foes.

A Goblin-tastic Second Playthrough

a goblin-tastic second playthrough

Playing through Undecember a second time can offer a unique take on the gameplay at the expense of retreading a bland story. The three sets of classes (warrior, ranged, and mage) offer vast sets of abilities that provide a greater degree of gameplay depth.

undecember gameplay

Still, issues with the paywall remain as we find we’ll have to spend even more money to give these new characters a fighting chance against the same buffed-up enemies we fought in the last playthrough. While it can be worth trying out these builds for the first hour or two, going any further requires a painful amount of grinding or an investment of money that’s generally not worth it.

Alternative RPGs, Fantasy Romps, and Monster-Packed Adventures

Obviously, Undecember won’t appeal to everyone. While free, the brutal paywall and lack of story will turn off players looking for a narratively cohesive game with fair combat.

Instead, I advise checking out other games with polished stories and gameplay. These games can offer more on specific core elements of Undecember. They’re also highly successful in their areas of expertise and worth replaying. Here are a few titles like Undecember listed below:

  • Weird West
  • Divinity 2
  • Lost Ark
  • Path of Exile
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  • Tower of Fantasy

Overall Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Visually Impressive world
  • Fantastic enemy variety
  • Initially amazing combat
  • Ever-Expanding World

Cons

  • Shallow worldbuilding and characters
  • Virtually unplayable without heavy grinding
  • Brutal Paywall halts game by the third act
  • Clunky inventory, upgrades, and combat

Play Log

JT spent 10+ hours slaying monsters, saving kingdoms, and tearing bosses apart. He killed over 3000 monsters, rescued two and a half realms, and managed to nearly save the world until the paywall brought his thrilling journey to a grinding halt.

As a combat mage, he employs two abyssling minions and casts firebolts and lightning storms to tear foes apart. While he doesn’t intend to pay money to finish the game, JT plans to return if the developers debuff the midgame enemies.

FAQs

Question: Is Undecember Free?

Answer: Yes, Undecember is free to play on PC, IOS, and Android. However, the game’s paywall by the third act forces us to spend money to progress if we’re unwilling to grind for hours.

Question: Is Undecember Finished?

Answer: Yes, Undecember was released on October 12th across several platforms. While we can expect several updates and potential DLC down the line, the game is ready to play.

Question: How Long is Undecember?

Answer: Undecember’s 10 Act campaign can take over 20+ hours to finish. However, we can shorten this process to nearly 10 hours if we’re willing to spend real-world money.

Question: What’s Undecember’s Story?

Answer: Undecember follows a Rune Hunter’s quest for fame and fortune across the breadth of a fantasy world. Each region details our character’s antics as we earn the local’s respect, save the kingdom, and move on to the next act’s area.

Undecember [PC]: Verdict/Score

Verdict/Score: 4 Pretty Bad

Overall, Undecember was a rather disappointing fantasy adventure. My initial interest in the cathartic gameplay and superb visuals deteriorated as the game gave way to buffed enemies propped by an oppressive paywall.

While I still appreciated the fantastically distinct designs of the various enemies, it wasn’t worth enduring tedious hours of grinding or spending money to see. It’s a shame that for all its creativity, most players unwilling to spend money won’t experience the vast majority of Undecember’s visual worth. 

All in all, even as a free-to-play title, I’d have to give a very lukewarm recommendation of Undecember. I could see the game improving by removing its paywall so we can finish the story, but the cheap narrative experience will remain. Still, if we’re looking for a passable action RPG with two initial hours of solid gameplay, Undecember offers a fine opening to satisfy players before its horrendous decline. 

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