Soulslike games are known for their esoteric game design and challenging gameplay, and sci-fi romp Dolmen is no different. There’s a lot to take in when first diving into this dark and foreboding world, including some unique mechanics that set it apart from other games in the genre. In this guide, we’ll briefly cover a few important things you’ll want to be aware of as you set off on your journey across the dangerous planet of Revian Prime.
Healing works a bit differently in this one
While other Soulslike games typically have a direct healing item with a limited number of uses, Dolmen has a few additional steps to consider. The blue energy bar beneath your health and stamina functions as your healing resource, and when it’s depleted, you’ll need to replenish it with one of your limited batteries.
Healing is instant, but using a battery to fill your energy gauge takes a few seconds of standing still, so be sure to distance yourself from enemies and time out your battery consumption between their attacks.
Energy is used for plenty of other things, too
To expand on the above point, keep in mind that energy is also the resource used for ranged attacks and Energy Mode. The gauge will automatically refill up to a certain point after normal ranged attacks, but some heavy ranged attacks will use up a permanent chunk of energy that will have to be recharged with a battery.
Energy Mode, meanwhile, can be toggled on to use energy instead of stamina for attacks, making it very useful when you’re low on stamina or simply want to conserve some. A few swings are likely to deplete your temporary energy stores for a short while, though, and you’ll have to wait a bit for it to recharge again.
Beware of your slow stamina recovery
Speaking of Energy Mode, it may come in handy more than you’d expect due to the game’s extremely slow stamina recovery. Once you’ve used up a large portion of your stamina, it can feel like an eternity before it refills fully, meaning that–especially when using large weapons that consume a lot of stamina–you’ll probably find that you spend a significant amount of time strafing around recovering it. Pay close attention to how much you’ve used so that you know when it’s time to back off and wait for it to refill.
You can’t respec, so level your stats carefully
Dolmen doesn’t feature a respec feature, so all of the stats that you level on a character will be permanent. Because of this, you’ll want to be sure you pay close attention to what type of build you’re going for and don’t accidentally spread your stats too thin.
If you’re aiming to use large weapons, you’re probably best prioritizing your health and stamina while putting some points in Strength, as you’d have limited-to-no use for stats like Science or Skill. Meanwhile, if you’re aiming to use ranged weapons or small, fast-paced melee armament, those latter skills will be significantly more important for you.
Farm bosses for nanites and special crafting materials
You can respawn bosses you’ve beaten by returning to the ship and speaking with the fellow upstairs. You’ll need three Dolmen Fragments–relatively rare items that can be farmed from any enemy and lost upon death–to respawn a boss once.
Each boss offers a special weapon that requires you to beat them at least an additional two times to obtain special crafting materials, and each completion also rewards you with a chunk of nanites for leveling up. When you’ve farmed the necessary materials from them, you can craft their respective weapon, which is typically a bit stronger than those you can craft from the beginning of the game.
If you’re stuck, use Dolmen Fragments for co-op
While you may want to farm for Dolmen Fragments so that you can respawn bosses, you’ll need to beat the bosses once to unlock that ability. If you find yourself in a battle that you just can’t seem to win, you could consider summoning someone in for some co-op action, which you can do by using three Dolmen Fragments at the strange alien-looking terminals just outside boss rooms.
Pay attention to what technologies your gear uses
Every weapon and piece of gear offers a bonus toward one or more technology types. There are three in total: Human, Revian, and Driller. Be mindful of the gear you’re building to ensure you’re filling the right technology trees for you. You can swap freely between gear in the game, though, so you’re never tied to anything should you wish to try some different bonuses from other technologies.
Getting to level three in Human is important for nearly any build, as that’s the tier in which you’ll gain 50% more energy when using a battery. Beyond that, its usefulness depends entirely on whether you’re planning to use ranged weapons frequently, as most of the skills near the end of the tree focus on ranged damage and attack speed.
Revian is the best melee-centric technology, offering decent boons to health and stamina to improve survivability. You’ll want to aim for a minimum of tier five for this technology to gain those benefits, though only Acid-focused builds will have any reason for investing further for the increased damage for that status effect at higher tiers.
Lastly, Driller provides some nice defense bonuses at tiers one and two, while the extra healing from tier three is invaluable. If you simply want to increase your leveling speed, you can also snag increased nanites from defeated enemies with tiers four and five. Otherwise, you’ll need to go all the way to the final two tiers to gain some significant increases to your energy, but the payoff is unlikely to be worth losing points in other technologies.
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