Decay of Logos review for PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Developer: Amplify Creations
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

My first hint that Decay of Logos is a pretty lousy game came early on. After watching a cutscene in which the hero, the Link-like Ada, is transported across great distances by his trusty elk companion, the playable part of the game begins with you and the elk between two high rock walls. I tried riding the elk — since, after all, I’d just seen a scene in which that had just happened — but a helpful hint told me I had to find some berries before I could do that. I wandered around until I finally found some — during which time I learned the basics of combat entirely on my own, since Decay of Logos never tells you what to do or how it works — then walked all the way back, and found that my elk had become partly stuck inside a wall.

This, unfortunately, wasn’t part of the story. Rather, it was the first of the many, many glitches you’ll come across in this game. After watching my elk gallop around in circles on the spot, its legs stuck inside a wall, I decided to opt for my first restart of the game.

This time I decided to see what happened if I just ran off on my own without the elk. This seemed to work alright at first, since I was able to level Ada up a couple of times, albeit without being aware of how I had done that (after digging, I found stats, but none of them indicated how close I was to levelling up again), only for me to reach the edge of the first castle and find out that I needed that stupid elk to unlock a gate.

So I went all the way back to the beginning, found that my elk had miraculously freed itself, fed it some berries…and then discovered that it’s incapable of walking in a straight line. It strolls a little to the right, and a little to the left, and all the while its stress metre is rising steadily. Notwithstanding those opening cutscenes — and the subsequent fields and distances you have to traverse — this is one of the rare games in which riding your companion animal in the way the game intends actively makes it worse. You’re much better off running on your own, and then calling for the elk to come find you.

This lesson learned, I was then free to run around and discover all the fantastic glitches this game has to offer. The draw distance is completely random, for starters. There were moments where I’d be running into the horizon, only for objects to suddenly pop into being right in front of me. The physics are insane: sometimes you can leap around, sometimes you can smash boxes and barrels to smithereens; other times Ada can barely get off the ground, and the bits of boxes and barrels stay in place to block your way.

And, of course, there’s screen-tearing galore. One time I was killed by a giant slug…or, more accurately, the slug paralyzed me, backed me into a rock, and I fell through the rock into an infinite abyss. As with the elk-trapped-in-rock glitch, in theory this doesn’t sound so bad; in practice, when you can see the game world breaking around you, you can tell it wasn’t intended. On top of that, there were numerous times where I’d try swinging the camera around to get a better view, only to suddenly find myself looking at the guts of the game.

It wasn’t that much better when it worked accurately, either. While Decay of Logos tries to draw inspiration from Zelda and Dark Souls, the way it all works is just plain annoying. As I wrote above, the game never explains how it works. While this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, this does mean that, near as I could tell, the combat is terrible. There’s no real dodging or countering (and if there is, the game hides those moves well), so instead you swipe your sword at your enemy, take a few steps back while it staggers around and you regain your stamina, and then you take another swipe. It doesn’t matter which enemy we’re talking about, the pattern is always the same: stab, back off, stab. It all came off as so basic, it left even someone like me — who loves basic gameplay — yearning for something a little more interesting or complicated.

In retrospect, perhaps it should have been obvious that Decay of Logos wasn’t going to be a very good game when its launch trailer wasted a few seconds showing that the AI was so stupid, enemies would literally keep walking into walls until the spotted you. If that’s how the developers chose to introduce their game to the world, it should have been a sign of the horrors that waited within.

And yet, it didn’t — or, at least, it wasn’t enough to warn me off. But I’ll do that for you: Decay of Logos is a bad, broken game, and no amount of patches is going to fix it any time soon. You’re much better off spending your time and money someplace else — like, say, setting your cash on fire, and then staring at a wall. That would certainly be more fun than what’s in store for you here.

Rising Star Games provided us with a Decay of Logos PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: D