Decay of Logos Review - Not Just Bad, Incredibly Disappointing As Well

What happens when you forego any kind of polish before the game's release.
3.5
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Action-Adventure
2019-08-27
DoL Open
Decay of Logos is in the running for one of the most disappointing titles of the year. Rising Star Games

Decay of Logos is a bad game. More than that, it is an infuriating and disappointing title, because behind this horrid mess of a game, there’s actually a promising project inside. The animations and performance in its last trailer told a completely different story from the terrible, buggy mess that I played, and that made the actual experience much more awful.

Technical

DoL Stuck
The elk likes getting stuck on trees and other obstacles. Photo: Rising Star Games

It’s rare for me to start talking about a game’s technical side, but for Decay of Logos I’ll make an exception due to how trash I think it is when it comes to optimization, stability, and polish. Decay of Logos is incredibly buggy.

In my first hour of playing Decay of Logos on my PC, I experienced four crashes, two of which came from pausing and unpausing, the third one when I put on a helm for the first time and the fourth one when I glitched into the terrain. I’ve played some questionably polished games this year, and Decay of Logos easily took the cake as the buggiest and most unstable of them all. The stutters and freezes are unreal, even when played on lower settings with most of the graphically intensive stuff turned down. This is not even supposed to be a problem for my PC in the first place, since I passed way above the game’s recommended requirements.

The controls often stop responding after a while, in particular the ones related to changing your potions and equipment. I had to restart this game and the GOG launcher so many times because I couldn’t switch between potions, and I often couldn’t even use one in the first place. The character would often bug through the terrain, especially during the first boss fight. Try dodging backwards into the tree stumps during the troll boss and you get launched into the air, and if you fly high enough, you’ll even take fall damage for it. It’s also not uncommon to see enemies running into walls, or your elk companion’s penchant for walking endlessly through trees.

Gameplay

DoL Fight
Combat is just a slog to get through. Photo: Rising Star Games

On the surface, Decay of Logos is going for a mix of exploration, combat, puzzle-solving, and caring for this strange elk companion in a fantasy world. Before its release, most impressions somewhat compared it to Breath of the Wild and Dark Souls, and while I can somewhat agree with the latter, I saw the former as somewhat misleading. It may have been the cel-shaded graphics, but once it starts you can see that Decay of Logos has nothing on both games, failing twice to capitalize on what made the two inspirations great titles to begin with.

Let’s start with exploration. Decay of Logos is described as an exploration-driven game with minimal hand-holding. Only the latter rings true in this case, as Decay of Logos did a very solid job of alienating most of the game’s more intricate features from the player, which should technically garner praise. However, there’s a very clear-cut difference between the lack of hand-holding and absolute tedium, and Decay of Logos somehow managed to confuse the two in an attempt to try and appeal to hardcore players. As much as I can appreciate the thought into trying to make the game more challenging, most of what Decay of Logos had to offer bordered on the absolutely grating and annoying.

While the world is somewhat expansive, it’s very linear. There are dungeons scattered around the world, and I’ll admit that they’re pretty fun to explore once in a while thanks to the puzzles and decent platforming they have to offer, but it’s all very surface level stuff that only serves to infuriate you more thanks to the tied-in movement and combat systems. If those were implemented somewhat competently, Decay of Logos would’ve been a much better game.

DoL Move
Movement is painfully unresponsive and feels like walking underwater. Photo: Rising Star Games

Moving on with the movement and it is not getting better. Decay of Logos has one of the worst implementations of movement I’ve seen in a video game, and it’s all thanks to how it, in an effort to make things more challenging, was designed to be as clunky as humanly possible. Please, if you end up playing this game on a PC, do not make the same mistake as I did and try to play it with a controller. Go for a mouse and keyboard instead.

Some buttons are tied to other commands, like the jump button which  also serves as the interact button. I cannot tell you how many times I had to re-press the button in order to open chests because the character recognized the button as a jump rather than a command to interact with an object. It’s an infuriating oversight that could’ve been easily solved with a different button entirely, or coding the game properly to recognize prompts. The game does prompt you when you can press the A button to open a chest, or talk to someone, but in 70 percent of cases you will end up jumping first because input recognition for Decay of Logos is just horrible.

This brings us to the epitome of what makes Decay of Logos such an overall horrid game. The combat in Decay of Logos is probably the worst I’ve seen so far this year in an action game. It’s slow and feels like wading through mud, with animations so generic and placeholder-feeling that there’s absolutely no joy to be found in it. The combat is the worst offender when it comes to what brought down this severely disappointing title, because, as far as I’m concerned, clunk and jank does not make a game challenging, it makes it annoying. The character swings her weapons like she’s underwater, and God forbid you try to dodge immediately afterwards, because that would be the worst mistake of your life. You wait for the animation to finish, which in this case is once she puts her weapon at her side, then you dodge; anything earlier, and the game will not recognize that input at all.

DoL Enemy
Enemy AI is easily exploitable with some choice movement. Photo: Rising Star Games

Then there’s the horrible hitboxes and enemy AI, which is just icing on top of this disgusting cake. You would think that the tip of your sword is enough to slash an enemy you’re circling, but no – what you have to actually do is make sure the entire width of the blade connects, otherwise you are going to miss that attack without fail. Combine this with the extremely infuriating clunky animations, and you’ll see why it’s sometimes better to just try and run away. The AI for most of the enemies is incredibly braindead and easily exploitable. You can beat most of them by circling around and hitting them first, and if they don’t stagger, you can dodge away with lots of time to spare. Rinse and repeat until everyone is dead.

Once in a while though, you’ll run into actual bullet sponges with that pack an absurd amount of health. It’s like the game throws a sudden curveball for you out of nowhere, with enemies only existing in two extremes on either ends of the spectrum – either they’re incredibly easy with no actual weight or purpose to serve other than waste your time, or they’re defiantly tedious slabs with tons of health and broken damage values. In games like these, you’re expected to die a lot due to a perceived higher level of difficulty. However, Decay of Logos takes this up a notch by adding another layer of tedium to the death mechanic which is already tedious enough. After dying a number of times, your character becomes fatigued, which reduces her stats and prevents her from sprinting and dodging attacks properly. I’m all for making the game challenging, but this does nothing but make it even more annoying than it already is. It would’ve worked if the combat was somewhat competent, but that is just not the case. The only way to remove this fatigue is by resting at camps, which is one of two checkpoint systems in Decay of Logos .

I don’t know what the reasoning is behind having two separate checkpoint systems other than again, perceived difficulty through artificial means. You can either rest at a shrine in Decay of Logos , or find camps. Shrines will only heal your health back, but if you died enough times, you’ll get fatigued either way. The only way to remove it is by sleeping at a camp.Camps and shrines are too far away and too few in between that you’ll most likely lumber around clunkily during the earlier stages of the game.

The final nail comes from your elk companion, which I have to credit for making me say the most obscene and toxic things to an innocent and beautiful animal in a video game purely due to how it manages to be a constant pain in the ass in everything it has to offer.

DoL Elk
Controlling the elk is like driving a tank through molasses. Photo: Rising Star Games

Compared to Trico from The Last Guardian who was frustrating enough to deal with, you have not experienced the true suffering that is Decay of Logos’ elk companion. This animal is completely unresponsive to even the most basic of directions, and is incredibly bugged to the point of unusability. It’s such a poorly realized and incredibly janky mechanic that I gave up trying to appease it with berries and cuddles and instead just turned it into a pack mule instead. The elk, in the few moments that you can ride it, operates on controls akin to turning a tank and often glitches in the terrain, after which it inevitably gets stressed out and asks for more cuddles and berries.

Despite all of these negative traits, there is some good to be found in Decay of Logos ’ gameplay. The implementation of weapon variation, durability and skills are nothing ground-breaking, but they do make for good reasons to try and explore dungeons further. There are also quite a few secrets to be discovered, but most of them fall under the same trap of being very poorly executed. Other than that, I found nothing in Decay of Logos enjoyable in terms of gameplay.

Art and sound direction

DoL Art
The art direction is pretty good, although its wasted on such a disappointing title. Photo: Rising Star Games

If Decay of Logos has anything going for it, then it would probably be some aspects of the art and sound direction. The game is very pretty, when you’re not being subjected to the horrible combat, movement, and all those stability issues. The environments feature scattered ruins from civilizations long gone, while looming statues help create tension and atmosphere for the fights to come. The game’s color palette also helps set this mood of hope in the expansive wilds, while dungeons create a  sense of foreboding with threats lurking in the dark.

There’s also an aspect of the design that really stood out to me is all of your equipment and weapons are viewable on your character model. It’s a really immersive design, and I like how even the potions you carry are stored on the character’s belt to show off what you currently have. The armor work the same, with each piece being shown once you have it equipped.

The music overall is a bit middling, but the sound design is really good. The aforementioned potions in particular can be heard clinking against each other whenever your character moves, while all of the other sounds come together to create this really great atmosphere. The voice work on the NPCs you interact with are professional-sounding to some degree, and there’s some ferocity to be heard on many of the enemies you face.

Overall

DoL Lost
What a shame. Photo: Rising Star Games

To reiterate without any reservations, Decay of Logos is a bad game. It suffers from a ton of technical problems and released too early. I’d say that the game would have benefited more from another year in development, because a game like this is just not worth playing in its current state. 

Decay of Logos is more than just a bad game, though. It’s also an incredibly disappointing one that had some good things going for it, all squandered by one bad design choice after another. The fact that underneath all this mess is a promising idea that could’ve been a solid, worthwhile experience is infuriating, and saying that it will all get fixed in the future should not be a positive or a selling point. It’s a basic feature that’s supposed to be there at launch, one that Decay of Logos managed to butcher with regards to too much clunk, jank, and tedium, sprinkled with a heavy smattering of bugs and instability issues on top.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Decay of Logos
3.5
Decay of Logos - Not Just Bad, But Incredibly Disappointing As Well
Decay of Logos embodies the term of 'wasted potential,' as it squanders a genuinely interesting art and sound design with a decent narrative on frustrating game design with filled bugs and stability issues. It's the kind of game you wish would've been worked on a few months more, maybe even a full year, just so it can actually release in a state that's worthy of its asking price. As it stands, Decay of Logos is horribly tedious and downright broken, and only those who can overlook such negatives can find a reason to subject themselves to it.
  • Good art direction and sound design.
  • Interesting narrative and world-building.
  • Incredibly buggy and unpolished.
  • Mistook tedium for actual difficulty.
  • Elk companion is broken and just not fun to handle at all.
  • Moving is clunky and janky, combat is even worse.
  • Broken and often glitching controls.
  • Braindead enemy AI.
Loading...
Join the Discussion
You Might Also Like
Top Stories