Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem recently released from early access on Steam. I bought this game last month and played it for a few hours. I raved about how good it was on Twitter and decided to wait for the official release. That wait is over and I’m here to write about what I think of my first 22 hours of Wolcen: Lords Of Mayhem.
To say that I love Wolcen would be an understatement. I really fucking love this game and I’ve been addicted to it for the last few days. I love the lore, gameplay, soundtrack, and graphics. I don’t use the term “next-gen” a lot, but this game looks, and plays, like a next-gen ARPG game. This has to be the weightiest, meatiest, most impactful combat I’ve had the pleasure of playing in any ARPG. Diablo III is old now so you would expect games to be able to surpass it in time. So why hasn’t any of them done that… before now anyway. Path of Exile wants to cater to that Diablo II nostalgia crowd and it’s gameplay is very basic, but addictive. I’m creeping up on 200 hours in that game and I don’t regret a single minute of it. Grim Dawn is the same way and I wouldn’t put that game on par with either Path of Exile or Diablo III.
Wolcen is doing its own thing. It’s not trying to recapture the magic that Diablo II had back in the day. It’s a brand new ARPG and it plays like one. The graphics in this game look better than Diablo 4’s and that game is nowhere near release. The truly impressive thing about it all is that this is from a small Indie studio and not a multi-billion-dollar company like Blizzard/Activision.
The gameplay is fantastic and really meaty. The animations are really good too. When I hit an enemy it just feels really good when compared to games like Grim Dawn and Path of Exile. Now, I’m not saying that Wolcen is better than those games because I haven’t finished it yet and I have no idea what the end game is, but it definitely looks better than them. Everything in this game looks really good. The lighting is excellent, the environments are beautiful, the monster designs, and animations, are really good, Even the skills, which is a major plus for me, look fantastic.
Wolcen took some inspiration from Path of Exile when it comes to its skill tree. It’s not as huge as Path of Exile’s, but if you’re familiar with building a character in Path of Exile you’ll most likely be pretty comfortable here. Wolcen’s passive skill tree is more streamlined than Path of Exile’s and that’s not a bad thing. I’ve made two builds so far. One crit mage and one crit warrior that wields a two-handed axe. Both builds are really good and I’ve had no problems getting through the game so far. The only build I haven’t tried yet is making something with a firearm or bow. I know I’ll get to that eventually though.
Wolcen has had a pretty rough launch. It’s currently being review bombed on Steam because of its server issues and , as usual, it’s honestly been blown out of proportion. The servers are fine. They’re better than fine. I’m not saying that no one is having issues. I know of some legitimate concerns that people have with the game, but when you read a review that’s almost word for word of another review you know something’s up. Wolcen is not the worst game to release in the last 5 years and it’s not buggier than Anthem. Don’t believe that crap. I had server issues for two days and that honestly didn’t affect me much because I mostly play offline anyway. I have no interest in trading other players or communicating with them in any way unless it’s my wife.
I have two characters. Both of them are level 23. The online mode works really well. I’ve had very little issues. And while I’m on the topic I’ll ask you this. What ARPG has launched with zero issues? Path of Exile still has desync issues and took a long time for it to get good. Diablo III launched with that horrible auction house system amongst other bad decisions Blizzard made. I could keep going. No game in this genre that launched had it easy. Wolcen is in better shape than both Diablo III and Path of Exile was at launch.
If you don’t believe me believe the video below. I played this game for hours and recorded 45 minutes of gameplay online.
My favorite thing about Wolcen is the customization. There are no character classes in this game. I mean you do get to choose an initial loadout that’ll come with a skill to match it, but you’re not locked into that role. Like Path of Exile, you can choose to go in a completely different direction than what you start off with. Skills are locked to weapons instead of classes in this game. Do you want to use spells? Then grab a staff,or catalyst, and start slinging those fireballs at everyone. I actually played as a spellsword and it was fun. When I was dual-wielding I made sure one of my weapons was a dagger. That gave me access to most of the rogue related skills in the game while keeping my awesome warrior abilities active too.
Wolcen is different and familiar at the same time and it feels like something new over the Diablo II clones out there. And I’m not disrespecting them. I love Grim Dawn and Path of Exile. Wolcen isn’t trying to be a Diablo game. It’s just a game in the same genre doing its own thing and that’s something I can get behind.
Have you played Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem? What did you think of it?