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9/10 dark fantasy ARPG gets a massive update to rival Diablo 4

Grim Dawn update 1.2 is a huge overhaul for one of the best games to follow in Diablo 2’s footsteps, ahead of the Fangs of Asterkarn DLC.

Grim Dawn - A Necromancer in a green cloak with big, jet-black hair and dark eyeshadow running down her face in this dark fantasy, Diablo-style RPG.

Grim Dawn, one of the best Diablo 2 spiritual successors alongside the likes of Path of Exile and Titan Quest, gets a huge update today ahead of its next expansion, Fangs of Asterkarn. The beloved Steam ARPG, which boasts a resounding ‘very positive’ Steam rating of 93% across more than 72,000 reviews, is getting a ton of balance changes, quality-of-life features, and reworks to its loot tables for a smoother, more fun experience. If you’re looking to take a break from Diablo 4 and fancy something different, Grim Dawn update 1.2 is a great time to jump in.

Diablo 2 will always remain a defining moment; not only did it set a bar for the format, it inspired many of the best RPG games that would follow, including 2016 release Grim Dawn. With its new Fangs of Asterkarn DLC coming in 2024, and set to take us on a Norse-inspired adventure in the style of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and God of War Ragnarok, developer Crate Entertainment has given us an early holiday treat with the game’s biggest update ever.

Grim Dawn 1.2 aims to “modernize the game and usher in the next era of Grim Dawn.” This starts right up top with more versatile difficulty scaling, which now allows you to choose which level of challenge you want at all levels up to the cap of 100, with scaling across the board. You’ll be rewarded with more experience and better-quality loot on higher settings, but can adjust the feel to your liking.

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Defeating the final story boss now unlocks two higher difficulties, elite and ultimate. To help you take these on, there’s a new baseline evade skill that will immediately feel at home to Lost Ark and Diablo 4 players. Bound to the spacebar by default, this dodge lets you cancel out of any action in safety, offering a handful of iframes to give you a brief invulnerability window. You’ll also need to employ this handy trick to deal with a new boss mechanic, Sunder.

Your inventory management is about to get a lot easier, too, making grabbing the best loot all the simpler. Firstly, loot tables have been reworked – you’ll now see “30-60% fewer items dropping,” but a higher average quality, meaning less time spent poring through mounds of useless trash. There are also new loot beams, drop sounds, and icons to help you quickly spot legendary and epic items, those juicy double rares, and monster infrequents.

Health and inventory potions are no longer items that will clog up your inventory space – instead, they’ve been reworked as baseline skills with their own slots on the game’s interface. Your skill bar gets tidier, too, as toggled buffs will now be automatically enabled without the need for them to have their own dedicated space on the bar.

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Alongside this come “hundreds of balance changes,” a streamlined relic crafting system, a whole raft of bug fixes, and a ton of quality-of-life and accessibility features. These include numeric cooldown timers on your skill bar, adjustable monster health bars for better visibility, and the ability to toggle on or off fog as well as the game’s day/night cycle. All in all, Grim Dawn patch 1.2 is a massive upgrade to the 2016 game that should help make it feel altogether more modern.

Grim Dawn update 1.2 is out now on Steam. If you’ve yet to try it for yourself, head here to get started – expect to pay $24.99 / £19.99 for the base version, or $55.21 / £45.45 for the definitive edition, which includes all three pieces of DLC to date. You can also check out the full, expanded patch notes courtesy of Crate Entertainment.

Still got that itch to scour the lands in search of the very best gear? Worry not, as we’ve rounded up the best games like Diablo to help you do just that. You might also want to bring your friends along for the best co-op games, and we’ve picked out some of our favorites.

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