Decay of Logos – Out Now (Switch, PS4, XBox One, PC) – Versions Played: Xbox One, Switch – Published by Rising Star Games
This isn’t a review; it wouldn’t be fair to claim that I’ve progressed enough in Decay of Logos to give it a properly reasonable assessment. Instead, this is merely my first thoughts and a recounting of my experience with the game so far.
I’ve played Decay of Logos on both Switch and Xbox One; though it looks beautiful on both consoles, the frame rate can be a bit of a little inconsistent on Switch. It’s a beautiful game regardless – there’s an absolutely wonderful visual style here, giving it a look somewhat like Breath of the Wild, particularly in its open, colourful vistas.
The animation on the lead character and the sometimes-bizarre enemies I’ve encountered so far (including ones that look like very angry onions) is also worth a mention; as is the look and motion of the noble-looking, beautiful Elk creature who follows you around (you can ride this creature if you treat it well enough!).
So, despite all of these wonderful touches and the excellent look and sound of the game, why haven’t I been able to give Decay of Logos a full review? Well, it’s hard. Punishingly so. In a way that actually feels pretty unfair, to be honest, rather than simply challenging. Even those onion-esque enemies that are the first you’ll encounter in the game – beyond a short and misleadingly straightforward intro scene – will take you down with surprising ease.
The real kick in the teeth? Getting killed reduces your stats. Just as you think you’re getting a handle on the combat, your stats are reduced so far from a few deaths that you’ll struggle to inflict damage and will also be killed even easier by the very persistent enemies on your next attempt. Though your stats can ‘only’ drop to 50%, you’ll notice that the game becomes noticeably more difficult and it feels like you’re being punished before you’ve even learned how to deal with the world and its inhabitants. You can recover your stats at a camp, but these feel too few in number and you’ll often struggle to reach one when you’re under attack. Not only that, but you can get attacked while in a camp too – it’s pretty relentless.
The combat feels somewhat unresponsively slow and inconsistent too, especially against enemies that attack very quickly, with uncanny accuracy – and for a game that’s determined to present you with a stern challenge in combat, that combat should at least be fair.
It’s all the more disappointing that the difficulty is turned up to eleven in this instance with no way of adjusting it, because the game world itself is absolutely stunning and I’d love to explore more of it. Your creature companion is beautifully realised and I’m also keen to get to know my friend better. However, the challenge is so tough – almost immediately – that it’s off-putting pretty much straight away.
It’s undeniably impressive that Decay of Logos was made by a team of just four people. It’s just such a shame that the look of the game, which seems to invite wonder and exploration of the world and its inhabitants, is so at odds with the clear desire to make a dark and punishingly difficult experience. There’s absolutely no thought to accessibility made here and that’s a real shame. I have heard the arguments against lowering the difficulty in games such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne; I can see the logic behind that – their challenge is what makes them attractive and that’s fine. It’s a badge of honour to overcome that and progress with such a high level of difficulty. There’s nothing wrong with that at all; I just have to accept that this level of difficulty just isn’t fun for me specifically.
Beyond references to being ‘challenging’ in the game’s description, there’s really no indication that Decay of Logos will have its difficulty dialled up to such a ridiculous degree, so it is a bit of a shock – especially once you’re past the aforementioned prologue, in which you can dispatch a large enemy with relative ease. The game’s description also mentions that there’s an emphasis on exploration, which would be fine if you felt like you could actually explore – but unfortunately, the difficulty in the combat really doesn’t allow for you to just explore and take in all of the – admittedly beautiful -sights.
So, not really a review then. However, I’ve played Decay of Logos for a number of hours on two different formats at this point and I think it’s fair to say that I’m at least able to express my disappointment with it. Perhaps, then, it’s a game that just isn’t for me. Those of you more attuned to games with incredibly steep learning curves, who relish the kind of challenge Decay of Logos provides, are likely to get an awful lot more out of it than I did.
Many thanks to Rising Star Games for providing me with the Decay of Logos game keys.
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