Wasting Away

HIGH The level design.

LOW The launch month.

WTF Those slime attack routines are lose/lose.

I am incredibly sympathetic to the stresses of launching a title. Having worked in testing for over 14 years now, I understand that sometimes things can go horribly wrong.

Things going horribly wrong is exactly what befell Decay of Logos’ developers when codes for an unfinished version of the game were sent out to be reviewed. Of course, it garnered some brutal criticism and the response was so bad that its release date was pushed back.

Now that the dust has settled, I guess the question is… was the wait worth it?

Decay of Logos is a pastel-colored, third-person action-adventure with a visual style similar to recent Zelda games. The player takes on the role of a young villager whose home is destroyed, spurring them on a quest to find answers and revenge. She is joined by a large elk-like creature who aids her by carrying gear and helping solve some puzzles.

The combat has borrowed liberally from the likes of Dark Souls by including a stamina bar and deliberate, animation-heavy strikes and anyone familiar with stamina-based combat will recognize the design tropes – understanding enemy patterns is needed to win, and runs towards bosses will be punctuated with exploration and rests at save points. These points replenish health and any stats that degrade by taking damage. However, refreshing the player in this way also brings all non-boss enemies back to life.

There’s also a base levelling system that increases speed, stamina, strength and other attributes at a fixed rate, and players can get gear that improves affinities and immunities.

None of this is new but Logos does have a couple of things that elevate it above some of its peers.

First, each area has been thoughtfully laid out with a great sense of height and depth. Dark tunnels run under some areas with only the small glow of a torch to light the way, and winding hills topped by solitary windmills are early demonstrations of the vistas available. The visuals of Logos continue to impress as the player progresses.

Secondly, the elk companion feels fully-realized, both in appearance and its interactions with the protagonist, be it cuddling, feeding or riding. The dev team has done a great job of conveying mutual respect between the two characters without any words exchanged.

Sadly, the core of Decay of Logos doesn’t fare as well.

The patterns for the enemies, including most bosses, are incredibly repetitive. Approach enemy, prompt them to attack, back off before nipping in and hitting them once. Repeat until dead. The exceptions to this pattern are when errant attacks caught me off guard, but these felt random.

For instance, one time an enemy was stunned by my combo, but the next time it shrugged the same combo off and delivered a double punch. There was no logic to why it resisted a previously-successful stun and it wasn’t possible to predict. In a game where deliberation and precise timing is key to victory, any damage received by unpredictability is galling.

Unfortunately, Logos doesn’t have many layers to it. The incredibly repetitive encounters and uninspired boss fights overshadow any effort put towards relationships and exploration. I just didn’t want to continue when the majority of my playtime was spent on fights that were average at best and boring at worst.

So, with the fixes now applied to the pre-release version, is Logos worth playing? It’s a solid experience with plenty of beautiful environments to see, but the repetitive nature of combat punctuated with unfairness puts a damper on the whole experience, as if the disastrous launch month hadn’t made it damp enough already.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Amplify Creations and published by Rising Star Games. It is currently available on PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBO-X. Approximately 10 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Blood and Violence. There’s a creepy vibe here that might be scary to younger kids, however in terms of violence it’s incredibly mild.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: It’s going to be tough to play this game without sound as many of the enemy attacks do not have clear visual cues and the text cannot be resized. This is not fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: The game offers two control schemes.

AJ Small
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