Rising Star Games invites you into what they claim to be a “vibrant interconnected fantasy realm.” What’s really present here is the lovechild of Dark Souls and The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, with quite a few birth defects. Play as an elf-like and relatively silent protagonist in order to restore peace to their homeland. Explore dungeons, fight enemies, equip armor and weapon upgrades, and get ready to die. The territory is quite familiar here, for this title introduces nothing new and doesn’t refine any existing mechanics or themes.
Upon beginning a new file, the game introduces a tiny bit of backstory. The protagonist’s home village is on fire after an attack and it’s only necessary to retaliate. I assumed this to be the tutorial, since I was immediately thrown into combat, but found no hints or guidance. As someone with little to no Dark Souls experience, I quickly realized what I was getting myself into.
After this brief intro, you are then taken to the main game. Interactive magic stones placed along the pathways will tell you about the controls and game goals. It would have been nice to have some of this knowledge beforehand. I actually died fighting the one enemy from the beginning since I had no time to figure things out. The burning exposition could honestly have served as an intro cinema instead. This would have saved some confusion.
From Point A To Point B
Once you get into the campaign, you’ll find a relatively generic story arc: Find those who destroyed your home, and eventually put yourself in position to rid the land of all evil. As you progress, you’ll encounter other characters and discover new quests to move the plot forward in this seemingly empty world. Decay Of Logos is very linear, at least as far as I could endure. There isn’t much variety as to how to play the game. Having trouble at a certain checkpoint? Too bad. Try again and again until you finally make it through. Tired of walking the same pathway? Well, there’s no climbing mechanic to help you find shortcuts. With little emphasis on side quests or a fully explorable environment, you can easily get stuck stuck at certain points and lose interest.
Respawn and Repeat
With long distances between checkpoints, and death imminent, you will respawn and cover the same ground many times over. Any Dark Souls fan will be used to this, but those coming from Zelda: BOTW are in for a rough time. Fortunately you won’t lose items or quest progress upon dying. But this means that there is no need to play it safe. You can easily run past most enemies without a need to encounter them a second or third time. And that I did, for the combat has faults of its own. For example, the hit boxes failed to register at an alarming rate. Neither the player nor the enemy took damage in several encounters despite contact being made. The time spent enduring the glitchy combat mixed with the same hallways being traveled is unnecessary. This is exacerbated with the inescapable slowdown that Decay Of Logos suffers from.
SNES Era Slowdown
I experienced a lot of slowdown playing this game. It’s not clear where it comes from and why. The graphics aren’t too complex, the draw distances don’t span very far, and there aren’t many enemies on screen at a time. I believe the dev team was small, but this doesn’t always excuse an unfinished product. Games such as Axiom Verge and Stardew Valley were each programmed by literally one person, and those are quality titles. Yes, the 2D pixelated graphics may be a reason behind their success, but you see where I’m getting at. While I don’t mind a little slowdown here and there, it becomes a huge problem when it lasts minutes at a time. As a result, this can make travel an absolute slog and the game borderline unplayable.
It’s never enjoyable to read off a list of all of the things wrong with a game. I did my best to keep an open and optimistic mindset during my experience with Decay Of Logos. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many good things to say and can’t recommend this title. It’s not necessarily a broken game, just very rushed and unfinished. The glitches, slowdown, and mundane collection of motifs that have been done to death don’t add up to anything worth seeking out.