No Rest for the Wicked Early Access Preview - No Rest for the Souls

For someone like me, that played every major Soulslike in the past 9 years and is a veteran of ARPG genre ever since the very first Diablo, No Rest for the Wicked seems like a wet dream. Made by Moon Studios, of Ori and the Will of the Wisps fame, ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ delivers a combo of tough action combat that requires learning boss movesets and utilizing dodge/parry/block combos combined with isometric camera, itemization and loot grinding of dungeon crawling action RPGs. There’s a lot of things they need to do right for the fans of both genres to be satisfied. To make sure they do it right they’ve released No Rest for the Wicked in Early Access, so it can get the polish obtainable only through input from wider gaming audience. After spending more than 40 hours with the game I can say that they are on the right track.

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No Rest for the Wicked Early Access Preview Gosunoob

Work of Art

You are a Cerim, descendant of the lost race that fought, and won, against the Pestilence that plagued the island of Sacra. You start the game on a ship sailing towards the island, which can mean only one thing, the Pestilence has returned. This is all conveyed through beautiful intro cinematics that look like they were hand-drawn by Italian comic book artists.

Elongated faces and weird looking body proportions add a stylized look that gives the game a unique and grim tone. It sets the emotional stage of slight despair and looming doom, so appropriate for Souls games.

no rest for the wicked nameless pass gosunoob

This elongated look also has a practical purpose. The game uses an in-game camera that is curved. They call it a curved perspective. It lets the player see more of the surroundings in comparison to standard 3D isometric view. Elongated nature of models combined with the curved perspective makes everything on the screen actually look just the way it is supposed to. Excellent graphics design and dreamy texturing further enhance the experience. I can go so far to say that almost every frame looks like a painting you’d find in an art gallery.

No Rest for the Souls

It immediately becomes clear that No Rest for the Wicked has proper Souls mechanics implemented. Combat is hard, but fair and very dynamic. Using a controller is the preferred way to play. The biggest achievement is that fixed, isometric, perspective does not diminish the feel of the combat, which was my biggest concern. You will be dodging, blocking and perfecting your parry to deal with increasingly difficult enemies in no time. Combat sets it apart from the Diablo-like action RPGs where you would spend most of the time just clicking the mouse furiously. You have to engage in positioning, timing and correct attacks to achieve success and this revolutionizes the ARPG genre.

warrick the torn no rest for the wicked preview gosunoob

Another very Souls mechanic is done masterfully. Exploration is extremely satisfying. No rest for the Wicked has level design of the greatest quality, on par with the greats of the genre. I found myself constantly being amazed that there’s a shortcut here or a secret passage there. Levels flow seamlessly and you find yourself immersed in the game’s world without effort.

Grind Galore

Diablo-esque part of the game is the loot you can get and the grinding mechanics that enable that to happen. Unlike souls games, where loot has fixed positions and initial stats, you’ll get loads of items from defeated enemies and chests. These items have slightly different stats based on the tier of the world you’ve unlocked through progress. Each time you defeat a major boss at the end of a story chapter the world resets to a higher tier level and new, better quality, loot starts to drop. This also makes the enemies tougher.

Enchanting mechanic, where you turn gray quality items to blue or purple quality items, applies random stats to your gear. This creates that “collecting loot and then ‘gambling’ for stats” loop that makes finding unicorn items such a thrill for ARPG fans.

grind galore no rest for the wicked preview gosunoob

Itemization is obviously in a beta stage at the time of the writing of this article. It all functions and you can clearly see the direction they’re heading, but I can’t shake the feeling that it needs more polish to be perfect. The important thing is that they did not miss the point and No Rest for the Wicked speaks volumes to Diablo-like game fans.

An interesting mechanic that I found very engaging for loot grinding is the end-game crucible. After you finish the early access story chapters you’ll get access to the Crucible. This is a set of 5+ rooms with enemies that drop the highest tier loot and a boss at the end that drops unique (legendary quality) items. If you die just once, everything resets and you must try from the first room again. Upon successfully defeating the boss you can go again with hope of different or better drops. It is a great grinding gameplay mechanic that I can see myself engaged with for quite a while after I finish the main story.

Early Access Bane

Games releasing into Early Access first is rarely a good sign. There are only a few titles that managed to use Early Access to truly satisfy the customer when they get to the final release stage. At launch, No Rest for the Wicked had some really bad design choices concerning item durability and scarcity. There is also an important section of the game where you spend time in the major city called Sacrament, which is also the central hub of the game. This is where you’ll engage in crafting, upgrading gear, improving vendors and even unlock housing. This whole section was a slog that stopped the game dead in its tracks just when things were getting interesting because of aforementioned design choices.

No Rest for the Wicked Sacrament Gosunoob

Moon Studios released three hotfixes within the first 7 days since launch of Early Access. These addressed most of the pressing issues the community had with the game. This made the experience much better and removed the biggest gripes I had with the game on day one. Such fast reaction time is commendable and makes me think that they will deliver on many promises for final release.

The game is supposed to be much bigger than what’s included in the early access launch. It is obviously going to have some sort of multiplayer and PvP. If they provide about 3-5 times the length of initial early access offering they will also provide something great for a single player experience.

Sacrament Sanctum Sanctorum

no rest for the wicked echo knight gosunoob

No Rest for the Wicked revolutionizes the action RPG genre by implementing dynamic, Soulslike, combat and making it work within a loot grinding system and isometric point of view typical for the genre. It also provides great storytelling and quests that are, even in Early Access, better than anything Blizzard released since Diablo 2. At the same time, Soulslike players will not be disappointed by the combat mechanics and exploration. I just hope to God that Moon Studios will keep working with the goal of providing the best thing they can for the players and not for share holders. If they take their time and do what Baldur’s Gate 3 did we could have another iconic RPG on our hands in a year or two.


  • Beautiful looking game.
  • Decent Soulslike combat and challanges.
  • Great storytelling and quests.


  • This is just 1/4 of the game.
  • Some systems are still unpolished and may leave a bad impression.
Preview platform: PC
Review platform: PC
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Author Serge profile picture
Having games be part of his life since Commodore 64 it was only natural that Serge co-founded With every new game he travels from being the Noob to being Gosu. Whether he does coding or editorial work on the website he is still amazed by the fact that gaming is what he does for living.