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  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: The game's similarities with Darkest Dungeon have been a point of contention since before its release, due to essentially the same sort of exploration of Side View dungeons filled with treasure and traps alike, interspersed with the turn-based random encounters. Both games even begin with the protagonist receiving a letter from their long-lost letter inviting them to an Eldritch Location! (Although Vambrace puts the combat tutorial from the POV of minor characters in front of that moment.) The similarities with A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones Northern plotline don't help either, with both works featuring a lot of magical icy undead, a huge enchanted ice wall, and even have antagonists with similar names (King of Shades here vs. the Night King in the TV series.)
    • For others, the main issue turned out to be that the core systems weren't a good copy of Darkest Dungeon. Most notably, the former's system revolves around every character having a choice of four skills in combat, which are themselves chosen out of a total of seven skills available to their class. In contrast, Vambrace: Cold Soul has a total of two skills available for each character, and one of those is always a default attack with few, if any, special effects, thus drastically slashing the range of available tactics. Another issue is that while Vambrace has a similar rank system for players and enemies, deaths do not push the enemies/party members into the free slots, meaning that you cannot even try to kill enemies strategically in order to mess up the survivors' ranks and force them into disadvantageous positions. Equally, there are no knockback/pull forward/shuffle skills for either the player or the enemies.
      • The game tries to compensate for that with a slightly greater enemy variety at the start, but they are also limited to two skills each, and many of them fight in a very similar manner, only differing in the stats and attack animations. It does have a greater accent on healer enemies (even including a frontline tank healer that doesn't attack at all, and a self-healing poisoner), but this is offset by nearly all of the attacks being straight damage, with debuffs mattering less and few enemies devoted to damage over time. The latter is also a consequence of there being no reliable way for the party to reliably clear status effects, and only one character class capable of healing others.
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    • Similarly, the game opted against adapting the stress system, thus also abandoning the torchlight management and the rich system of psychological afflictions that came with it. Instead, there's Vigor, which simply kills a character if they visit too many rooms without resting and also a Gheistometer, which simply fills the level with tough (and practically identical) combat encounters if you spend too long on the level. It was intended as a homage to the rebel fleet from FTL and the ghost from Spelunky, but remains a controversial element, as many find it simply artificially punishes dungeon exploration. This is especially true if you have any intention of reaching the boss, as this can only be done by going through a series of dungeons in one go.
    • Darkest Dungeon's exploration featured multiple objects on the level that were initially unfamiliar to the player, and had a range of effects when interacted with, with usually some being positive, and some negative. However, the player could also buy items from the supply shop beforehand that would enable them to always get a positive effect out of interacting with that particular object, thus adding another layer of planning to the pre-raid preparation. In contrast, the only comparable objects in Vambrace are Inexplicable Treasure Chests, with the player simply having the chance to fail to unlock them. Instead, there are random text-based encounters, but these are again completely luck-based. Any items you can buy to help you with some of them (like lockpicks) again only increase the percentage of success, instead of giving the guarantee, thus making pure randomness feel more important.
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    • The interface also received criticism for being insufficiently adapted to PC, and not giving enough information in general. For instance, you cannot find out which exact skills the characters you can recruit possess until after you placed them in your party. You can also only change the squad's formation and leader from within a separate menu, and cannot receive information about status effects and such by simply hovering a cursor over their icons - you have to go into the character's menu again to find out what they mean.

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