Demeo: PC Edition Preview – Back In Black (Sarcophagus)
Demeo – from virtual reality game studio Resolution Games – was ranked in the number two spot of my Top-10 Games of the Year list for 2021. The VR game features a truly authentic tabletop experience and, to put it plainly, acts as a social VR masterclass that pretty much every VR game should strive to be. Tack on Demeo's expansion packs of "Realm of the Rat King" and "Roots of Evil," and you have yourself some VR adventures that can't be missed.
That said, not everyone is lucky enough to have a headset. And even though Resolution Games has, in my opinion, nailed it in terms of preventing simulation sickness related to virtual reality, some players just might prefer playing board games within the virtual space on their tried-and-true gaming desktop, headset-free. Enter Demeo: PC Edition, which has received the official release date of April 7, 2022. I recently had the opportunity to take an early access look at Demeo: PC Edition and play with the game's producer, Gustav Stenmark, and senior developer, Paweł Pilacki. Demeo: PC Edition provides every bit as much of the engaging tabletop RPG experience as the VR version, giving you and your friends the chance to take on unforgiving sewers, corrupted catacombs, and other dangerous settings in a fun co-op adventure, whether you're playing with a headset or not.
Not Resolution Games' First Rodeo
Resolution Games is no stranger to developing titles that can be played cross-platform between VR and traditional PC players. In the past year, it had partnered with Odd Raven Studios to publish the multiplayer platforming game, Carly and the Reaperman, on Oculus Quest and Quest 2, with crossplay compatibility being made possible by way of Steam. I gave the port a perfect score in my review, saying that if the Carly and the Reaperman Oculus port was anything to go by, Demeo players were going to be in for a real treat – whether they were playing in virtual reality or on PC. Thankfully, the team at Resolution Games managed to deliver on all fronts.
Coming in Cautiously Optimistic
With Demeo being one of the most successful VR titles that I've played – whether I'm playing the single-player skirmish mode or online multiplayer – I came into the gameplay session expecting to enjoy the game, but not as much as the Oculus version. Little did I know, however, just how much the Resolution Games team did to make the experience just as good as the Oculus release.
After learning the new keyboard controls in the opening tutorial, I was pretty much set. Controls feel intuitive, which is good since (at least in the demo) the ability to customize keybindings wasn't available. From there, my party – which can be comprised of up to four players – and I jumped into our session.
Diving into the Dungeons
If you've played the Demeo in VR, you'll have zero issues running through dungeons immediately in Demeo: PC Edition. From picking up and moving your character to using ability cards, everything feels just like it does in the VR version of the game... and that's good. Demeo gets everything right on the Oculus Quest, so it's reasonable for PC players to expect the same thing that their cross-platform friends are experiencing while seated at the virtual table.
Gameplay in Demeo: PC Edition is the same in every way as well. Players take turns to move throughout the dungeons collecting treasure, power-ups, and battling enemies. Moves cost action points, and each player has two action points that they can use on each turn – that is, of course, unless you have a fun buff that allows you to make an extra move or attack.
During the game session, I was drawn into the virtual dungeon just as much as I am when I play the Oculus version. The Resolution Games team (wisely) led the strategy during my play session as the party moved our heroes through the dungeon. I took on the role of the Hunter class because, well, I love that particular class in this game. I've found that I can survive better when I can kill enemies from afar, compared to the characters who have more damaging hits up close. Things can go south pretty quickly over the course of a dungeon run in Demeo, though. And my preview session was no exception.
Living and Dying by the Dice Roll
Just like the VR version, Demeo: PC Edition is challenging. Not necessarily to the point of being frustrating, but you'd better be a good dice roller. During the session, I... was not. At one point, I think I had four missed attack rolls in a row.
If you ever played a Dungeons & Dragons game with me, however, you'd know that this is kind of my M.O. Apparently, I like to roll terribly so that the other heroes in the party can take all the glory of defeating an evil mob of enemies or dealing the killing blow during a boss fight while I sit back and watch. (Is this considered a legitimate play style? Probably not.)
At any rate, even though I was missing attacks, I was still having a blast during our campaign, which we actually managed to survive (with me being the key bearer that led us out of the dungeon. No big deal.).
It's the Little Things that Count
One cool feature that Demeo: PC Edition is its camera. When players make a move, the camera automatically jumps to the scene to make sure you don't miss a thing. Additionally, you can move the camera through the typical WASD controls, but if you hold the 'Q' or 'E' button, the camera will move at a deliberately slower pace. This is wonderful news for content creators who can take advantage of this system while creating cinematic YouTube videos.
Nothing really feels like it's missing from Demeo: PC Edition. You're not able to zoom in as far as you can in the VR version, but Demeo: PC Edition has plenty to offer to make sure PC players have the same fun experience. You're still able to zoom out and look at the virtual representations of the players sitting around the table. You're still able to watch (and judge) a player's moves in real-time as they grab and move their character around the board. The game still throws a steady supply of villains your way, ready to attack as you move from room to room.
Basically, everything that makes the VR version of Demeo such an engaging tabletop RPG is in this game, arguably a contender for one of the best multiplayer titles period.
The Real Treasure Was the Friends We Made Along the Dungeon Run
Demeo: PC Edition was well worth the wait. I can already see myself playing the PC version of the game when my eyes need a break from my Quest, or if I'm planning on a longer gameplay session at night. I think it's also just a lot more accessible to play, since playing with a headset takes far more effort in terms of setup. In fact, I can't help but feel like Demeo: PC Edition actually provides a safer experience in general, since even in stationary mode, I've been known to accidentally slam my head into a wall or my desktop microphone while playing in VR.
Get Ready to Dungeon Dive
The game will be available during the Steam Next Fest as a free playable demo that will be free to download from February 21 through April 7 (the game's release date). Demeo: PC Edition takes a huge step forward within the VR industry by making games accessible regardless of whether or not a player has (or prefers) a headset.
A PC code was provided to GamingPizza for this preview. Demeo: PC Edition will launch on Steam on April 7, 2022, and will include all previously released content, including “The Black Sarcophagus,” "Realm of the Rat King," and "Roots of Evil." Demeo: PC Edition can be added to wishlists today.