It took me a while to gather my thoughts to write this review because Grim Dawn is one of the few games that I’ve actually fallen in love with.
When I started playing Diablo 3, I was new to ARPG genre and I immediately fell in love with its gameplay, the story, and the enormous amount of loot that I was able to gather and collect like a greedy child.
I never imagined there would be another game like Diablo 3. Even after playing Path of Exile, I was confident Diablo 3 is one of a kind. But, that changed when I discovered Grim Dawn.
Even though Grim Dawn was released in 2016, the game has aged and improved really well to offer a rich and satisfying experience to even the newcomers to the game and the whole ARPG genre.
Thanks to the continuous updates, patches, and DLC that are still being released regularly by its developers, Grim Dawn has now become a well-polished ARPG that can compete with big-budget triple-A games like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile.
Let me explain why Grim Dawn is a great Diablo 3 alternative, in many ways.
Unlike most Diablo 3 players, I actually loved its main story campaign. When installing Grim Dawn, I was expecting a similarly interesting story and the game over-delivered. As a single-player/co-op game, Grim Dawn offers the most rich and engaging story campaign I’ve seen in an ARPG.
Sure you’re not going to meet a lot of interesting characters of different races, gods, demons, and angels, like in Diablo 3. But, the main NPCs and quest givers in Grim Dawn are more interesting and usually has a good backstory that interconnects with the stories of the other NPCs. So each side-mission you run in the game has some sort of connection to the main campaign.
Grim Dawn also has a gameplay and combat system that’s more similar to Path of Exile. The abilities and the skill tree works just like in Path of Exile, except with fewer supers and stat modifiers.
One amazing game mechanic that sets Grim Dawn apart from the other ARPGs is its unusual class (or masteries) selection that allows you to combine 2 different classes to create a more powerful character. For example, the character I’m playing right now is a combination of Soldier and Necromancer masteries which in combination makes a Death Knight. It’s a pretty tanky build with some ground-slamming super abilities and it makes the game super fun to play.
When you buy Grim Dawn with its major expansions, you get to select from 9 different classes with different abilities and skills. It also allows you to try different class combinations. Which offers plenty of replayability to keep you playing this game for a long time. In fact, there are players with over 1,000 hours recorded on Steam.
The only downside to playing Grim Dawn in 2019 is its outdated visuals and graphics. You’ll instantly notice and feel the outdated graphics of the game. But, it will only bother you if you let it. It never really affected my gameplay experience since I was swept away by the amount of loot and the different missions that kept me busy each time I launch the game.
Even though Grim Dawn looks like a fairly easy game to play, this is quite a tough game to figure out. In my first playthrough, I actually gave up the game halfway since I kept dying over and over in boss battles.
It wasn’t until after I found a guide referring to a build I was able to survive and actually have fun playing the game. Make no mistake, you’re going to be reading a lot of guides and following guides when playing this game. If you’re a fan of games with steep learning curves, like me, then Grim Dawn is going to keep you busy for a while.
Much like Diablo 3 and Path of Exile, Grim Dawn also has an active player community and lots of tools for building armor sets, guides on farming loot, and much more. Thankfully, I found a great YouTube series made by LiftingNerdBro, which I followed to find all the right tools to experience the best of the game has to offer.
Now, why did I say Grim Dawn is a better alternative to Diablo 3?
Well, one thing that made me quit Diablo 3 is the lack of endgame content. The seasons and the loot offered for mindlessly grinding the same bounties and rifts over and over again made no sense to me and I felt like I was wasting my time.
Grim Dawn fixed this with its massive selection of loot, customizability, crafting, and the mastery combos that made the game more interesting to play over and over again.
The lack of quality updates and expansions is another aspect of Diablo 3 that made me leave the game. Grim Dawn is still receiving fixes and brand new expansions. The new expansion, Forgotten Gods was released in 2019 with tons of new content and made the game one of the best selling ARPGs on Steam.
The developers are continuing to make this game better and deliver more value to its players. That’s more than enough for me to keep playing this game, at least until Diablo 4 comes to existence.
Grim Dawn goes on sale on Steam all the time. I managed to grab the game for just $2 bucks. Be sure to grab this gem with all of its DLCs when you get a chance, you won’t regret it.