Closers: Return of the Beat ’em Up


Wolfgang CG Screenshot

With the arrival of the Wildhüter faction in Closers, I thought it might be time to revisit it and see how things have changed since then. I’ve been fairly active in Closers since it was in Beta, and while I enjoyed the initial release, there were some serious points of contention, like clumsy controller support and the fatigue system. When I first began playing Closers, you could use a controller, but it was awkward, and it was difficult to tell what button did what since the buttons would show a keyboard button instead of a controller icon. Now the UI uses an Xbox One controller scheme (ABXY, LB LT RB RT), even with a Switch controller or Playstation 4 controller, it’s easy to know what buttons I need to be pressing in conjunction with each other to produce results. These controls are tight and responsive, and I no issues with things like following a basic attack up with a jump, so I can turn that attack into a juggle combo, creating very stylish bursts of damage. As a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, I personally want it to feel like something I can play on my couch, mashing out combos of moves and attacks on a controller instead of a keyboard and mouse. Fun action games deserve easy-to-understand controller support. Closers is easily the best side-scrolling beat ’em up online game I’ve played, and it’s nice that the others in the genre have some serious competition.

Then there’s Stamina/Fatigue. The moment I saw it in the game during the beta, I knew there was going to be a backlash. It’s a system that belongs in a mobile game, but not on a PC title. Nothing turned me off faster than only being able to play a certain amount a day before stopping and waiting until tomorrow. I am definitely in the camp of people who believe in supporting the free-to-play games that they believe in and enjoy, as long as I do not feel forced to. Now I don’t feel compelled to spend money simply to play the amount I want to a day, and thus am okay spending money on cosmetics and other facets of the game, so I can help it grow. This, alongside the adjustment of the leveling curve (so players level up a bit faster and can tackle harder content easier), have really made it far more fun.

Wolfgang Knockback

There have been other changes too, such as changes to crafting and achievements to make those systems a bit more streamlined. More rewards are linked to achievements, making them more desirable, and the UI for these systems also makes a lot more sense and is easier to navigate. Those changes happened a bit ago, but we’re right on the heels of a brand new update, and there’s never been a better time to hop in and play. Did you start with the beta and lapse? Well, now there are eleven characters to play, each with their own backstory, motivations, storylines, and adventures. They are very three-dimensional characters, and even if you have hit level cap on say, J, there are so many other options to explore and characters to try out. Personally, most of my time is spent on Harpy or Yuri, but there are quite a few other characters I’m looking at trying after I explore Wolfgang more.

In fact, there are two character-themed events going on until October 1st, 2018. There’s one for Tina to celebrate that she’s reached “Special Operative” status. At level 30 (and every 10 after that) you’ll get a box that gives enhancement items to power up Tina, and then there’s the matter of Rank Promotion Costumes. When your Closer first achieves a new rank, they can craft a permanent version of the Rank Promotion costume is added for you, for a limited time. Players will have until October 29th (10 pm PDT) to do this, and completing stages with her will also grant Special Operative Certificates. These can be used to craft useful items for Tina.

Wolfgang Special

Then there’s the matter of the “Returning/New Player” Event, which will give players temporary, but powerful items to get them back on track. There will also be login rewards every fifteen days after that, ranging from boosts to special event costumes. Closer Coins will also be given for each stage completed, which can also be used in the Crafting System for costumes, accessories and other items.

As the star of this update is Wolfgang, he also has an event to discuss. It’s the same deal as Tina, where you gain tokens instead of certificates, and every 10 levels after 30 will give useful boxes of goods to level more efficiently. Now we have reached the part I’m most excited about: Let’s talk about Wolfgang! As the first Wildhüter, it’s important that he makes a big scene and is worth playing. Wolfgang very much strikes me very much as a very striking character and stands out from the rest of the male cast. Naddic pointed out that he was a challenge to create. They said, “He was the first male character after Nata in Wolfdog, and there have been attractive male characters in Closers already. So it was very challenging to create him with different charming points. We tried many different concepts, and they were resulted in ‘Wolfgang Schneider’. His key concept is ‘a beautiful young man with long hair and a sharp tongue”. With that in mind, let’s discuss Wolfgang, now that I’ve had some time to play him.

Wolfgang Blast

At present, I’m level 30 with Wolfgang, and well into his storyline. I wish I had a little more time to really get into the nitty-gritty with him, but I’m going to continue to level him up and explore his storyline. Wolfgang is a Librarian who is now affiliated with the Wildhuters, a section of the Closers. His weapon is not traditional, and is known as “The Black Book”. Through it, he wields tremendous power and dark magic, conjuring blades of red and black energy, dark fire, and other incredible feats of will. His passive is “Cursed Librarian”, and states that anytime he uses a “Ritual”, he’s empowered with the “Black Book” buff, which stacks three times and lasts twenty seconds. As an example, one of my primary abilities, “Ritual: Sanguine Grasp” has (for me) a 7.7-second cooldown, and my other Ritual is “Ritual: Dark Matter”, which has a skill cooldown of 13.62 seconds. So if you want to stack this buff, you have to be aware of what Rituals you have, where they are, how to stagger them appropriately. It’s not hard, but it may take some getting used to.

With all the red in his abilities, he reminds me of a Blood Mage, channeling vitae to obliterate enemies in front of him. His abilities combo together well, and I noticed that no other characters (other than Wolfgangs) were around me. I learned that this is because he’s the only Wildhuter, so he can’t party with any other characters, except in certain Hubs and of course in Raids. This is because of where he fits in the story presently, as I’ve come to understand it. That’s just fine for me because he obliterates everything in his path with horrific ease. His primary weakness as I’ve seen in gameplay are his cooldowns. So if you can equip gear that fixes that (CD Reduction), and lots of Psi Damage/Psi Crit, he’ll be good to go. These high cooldowns will be a liability in PVP, despite his damage and other positives. His arc of damage is incredibly high, with nice large AOE, and wide swathes no matter what ability he uses. While I love his ability to dump huge numbers, the part I like the most is his counter-play and mobility. On the note to PVP, a key to victory is to be able to disrupt or stall your enemy out. Wolfgang has a few options to be aware of:

  • Sanguine Grasp: Wolfgang charges forward, and any enemies (no matter how many) and pushes them back, interrupting their attacks. In PVE, enemies who are immune to grabs are instead inflicted with Sanguine Infusion.
  • Ritual: Absorption: If used in conjunction with a directional key, he teleports in that direction, to get him out of a potentially sticky situation, and the actual ability pulls enemies closer. If it’s over level 3, Belial will also show up to strike your foes.
  • Ritual: Dark Matter: This super-dense ball of matter draws enemies in and deals damage. With the first activation, it also lifts enemies afflicted with it into the air.
  • Cancellation: You can use your Cancel to temporarily stop attacks from locking you down. Follow this up with Sanguine Grasp into Iron Claws, for a nice pile of damage, and leap out with Dark Portals, so you’re in the air, dealing more damage.

His abilities combo well together, like I said, but in the early going, my bread-and-butter was to pull with Ghost Bow, and when they’re close, Sanguine Grasp, Summon – Eligos, then follow up with Ritual Absorption with whatever’s left. He also has options that vary depending on what direction he is moving/hitting. Summon – Eligos has three attacks for Neutral (Aggressive Strike), Up Arrow (Red Lotus Strike), and Down Arrow (Storm Strike), for when Eligos is actually summoned. The second button press, when coupled with an arrow key (or no arrow key) will use one of those attacks. Since I have not had the opportunity to play Wolfgang with anyone else yet, except other Wolfgangs perhaps, but while he does have some complicated options in when to use summon abilities and rituals, based on the sheer damage he does, he’s very newbie/ user-friendly. Another thing I have noticed that when some of his abilities are active, you can move enemies around and shift them in the other direction if you have someone behind you and want to continue hurling magic with reckless abandon. He’s got a lot of fun tricks and tactics to employ. I can’t wait to see what other people come up with. With the Wolfgang event in play, you absolutely must give him a try. Do you want to see how he handles? Check this stream out where I dive deep with Wolfgang!

Watch MMOHuts Live with Jason: Let’s check out Wolfgang in Closers! from MMOhutsLive on www.twitch.tv

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  • billy mcneil

    this game is so awesome!!!

    • Ragachak

      It really is! I love playing it.