Loki ReviewCain Dornan
Those familiar with Blizzards Diablo II will instantly recognize the countless similarities that Loki serves up. Cyanide as unashamedly borrowed quite a few ideas from the iconic classic that has long set a benchmark for countless point-and-click RPGs, mixing together a decent storyline with engaging and addicting gameplay that saw so many people enjoying both its single player and online multiplayer counterparts. Attempting to capatilise on Diablo IIs success and possibly provide a Diablo III stand-in, developer Cyanide has set out to create a game that doesnt try to do anything new. Instead, it grabs already familiar ideas and mixes them together to make a tried-and-true experience that is solid throughout.
In some ways, Cyranide succeeds in creating the type of game they set out to achieve. Unfortunately, the fairly uninteresting storyline and the tiring gameplay that suffers from familiarity results in this one being only a small filler until something new is unleashed into the genre.
Loki tells the typical story of a crazed god, in this case the Egyptian god of chaos, Seth, who has managed to return to existance and plans to cause havoc on all living creatures. Naturally, as a hero, youre tasked with embarking on a blood-filled quest to put an end to Seths plans, laying waste to hundreds of evil creatures and crawling dozens of forests, caverns and other locales as you retrieve new items, fight a fair range of different creatures, and focus on leveling up your character on top of fitting him or her out with the best weaponry and armor you can find. Anyone who has played a game of this genre wont find anything remarkably new here: its same-old, same-old, although it has been done quite well.
Alas, some annoying bugs, glitches and stability problems lay waste to what could have been an almost problemless game. Throughout our review time, we were faced with random game crashes, unexplainable slow-downs, enemies becoming locked in the same position, and the mouse icon becoming lost and malfunctioning when trying to deal with the in-game menus.
Whats probably a more important problem, however, is that the game is just far too familiar. Solid? Yes. Different, refreshing, and new? No. It sounds good on paper, but when youve spent countless hours over the years with similar games, it does become more of a chore to plow through a title that feels like familiar territory. It is a solidly made game, apart from its technical problems that can be easily fixed with a patch, but it suffers far too much from the painful been there, done that feeling that will make many genre veterans shy away from this one quickly.
Upon beginning a new game, youre given the choice of choosing a character: the towering Norse barbarian, the Egyptian sorcerer, the Greek fighter or the Aztec shaman. Each offer their own unique abilities and attributes, which will affect the way in which you play the game and approach different scenarios. While the Norse character deals best in hand-to-hand combat using his immense strength, the Egyptian sorcerer is clearly a better choice if youd rather fight using spells and other magical avenues.
Levelling-up and skill trees play a major role in the gameplay, with the skills that you can learn being divided between the Gods and vary according to the character that you have chosen to play as. The quests you embark on, and the areas you cover, vary with each individual character, offering some potential added lifespan for those eager to play through the game completely using each character.
Much like its gameplay and features, the visual offering that is served up is much like your usual fair; it looks decent, but not exactly jaw-dropping. The overly-repetitive motions of enemies and the characters you control arent exactly pleasing, but given that many games within the genre use a similar repetitive system, we cant complain too much. The locales you travel to can become a bit sparse at times, with only handful of remotely interesting locations that we romped through sticking in memory.
Much of the same can also be said for the games sound. Average voice acting is ensured, along with the standard groans and moans of pain as you strike your enemies. Sounds effects are standard, and the games soundtrack isnt exactly breathtaking.
The problem with Loki isnt that its a bad game, but that its a game that is far too familiar for those who have played other games in the genre. What it does it does well, but we cant help but feel slightly cheated with the re-used ideas that fail to engage us like other games in the past have. If youre in a desperate need of a fix in between the likes of the impressive Titan Quest and the next big-hitter (such as Diablo III, fingers crossed), Loki is a worthwhile look.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.