Back in the day, when the second edition of Descent came out, my friends and I were eager to dig into it. We were hungry for a good dungeon crawling experience. Unfortunately, it didn't take long to completely lose interest in the game. Our main problem was the difficulty, or rather, the lack of it.
While Descent certainly looked gorgeous, and the rules were okay, we found that the game did not offer any challenge for the heroes. It was nearly impossible to "die" and even if somehow we managed to do it, it carried no remifications. On top of that, it took us very little time and effort to acquire so powerful equipment and upgrades that no matter what the DM threw at us, we could easily deal with it. As a result, the game required next to no strategic planning on our part because the decisions we made had no real weight. We were just running through the scenarios one after the other without feeling a sense of accomplishment! All this caused us to feel like we were just going with the flow, eventually getting bored with the game and stop playing it alltogether about half way through the campaign.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when FFG announced Imperial Assault. I'll be honest, when I saw the announcement, I had mixed feelings. Although I love the classic Star Wars setting and the story-driven campaign, I could not help but remember how disappointed I was in Descent. And this game looks almost exactly the same only with a Star Wars skin. Then I watched the 40-minute long tutorial video Team Covenant posted on YouTube, and it did not help to alleviate my fears. I found the same "problems" in Imperial Assault that I did in Descent, namely the complete lack of challenge.
The guys in the video were supposedly half-way through the campaign, yet had no difficulty whatsoever dealing with the swarm of imperials shooting at them. When one guy almost got killed, he just took a turn of "rest" and regained almost all of his health. I find this ridiculous. It not only goes against reality (not even in Star Wars can Han Solo sit down for a few seconds and stand up fully healed) but also kills all the challenge and strategy this game may have.
Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that Imperial Assault should have permanent death and other "extreme" difficulties, but I think the designers should do a better job of finding that sweet spot where the game is still fun for the casual player yet offers enough challenge and strategy so that the more experienced ones can find enjoyment in it as well. So far, I have not seen this in Imperial Assault. But the game is still in a beta stage; so, it is the perfect time to strike up a conversation. Am I onto something or completely off base? What do you guys think?
The game is gorgeous and has so much potential, I really wish it was a bit more than just a simple Descent re-theme.