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Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem Review

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My first review of 2020 is here. Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem had a rough launch, but how is the game outside of its server issues? Read on to find out what I think of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem.

The Great:

Gameplay:

Wolcen has arguably the best gameplay in the ARPG genre. I’ve played all of the greats out there. Diablo III, Path of Exile, Grim Dawn, Titan Quest, Torchlight, etc. And I think Wolcen plays better than all of them. Wolcen isn’t trying to be another Diablo II like Path of Exile and Grim Dawn. Wolcen’s gameplay is really meaty and has weight behind every blow you deliver and I never knew how much I needed this until I played this game.

Wolcen borrowed from Path of Exile when designing its passive skill tree system and Diablo III with its endgame. There are no character classes in Wolcen. Instead, you get to choose from three starting gear sets at the beginning of the game. A warrior, archer, or mage. You get a single skill that’ll match your weapon and that’s it. You can literally build your own perfect character however you choose. Do you want a mage that has a firearm as the main weapon? Go for it! How about a warrior that has access to all of the rogue’s skills? You can do that too. Just equip a dagger in your offhand.

That leads me to customization. It’s great. Hell… it’s better than every game I mentioned above. It’s most certainly better than Path of Exile’s because you have to buy all of the cool armor sets with real money. Every piece of armor in this game looked really good and was clearly inspired by Warhammer 40k. That’s not a bad thing at all. Everything looks so awesome that I never had to worry about my character looking ugly at any point. The best part about it is that I can change the color scheme of my armor at any time I want by pressing the B button. As I played through the game I collect these dyes. Once you activate a dye it’s yours to keep forever. Pressing the B button not only allows you to change the color of your armor, but you could even change the appearance of it as well into any previous armor piece that you found before.

It’s a really neat system and right now my goal isn’t to find the best loot possible. It’s to find all of the color dyes so I can make the perfect character.

Graphics:

I’ve been raving about how good Wolcen looks on Twitter since I started playing the game. This game looks like what people would call “next gen”. That’s a term I don’t use often and I agree with it. Wolcen is a beautiful game. I’ve been posting screenshots on here since I started the game. You can find them here and here. The CryEngine has always been one of my favorite engines and this game proves how versatile that engine is. It went from powering first-person shooters to an ARPG and it’s a really, really good looking ARPG too. The lighting is excellent, the monster designs are excellent, the world design is excellent and the only part of the game that’s not is the character models. They’re good and a major step up from the competition, but they don’t look as good as the rest of the game.

The various different skills and magic powers that I used in this game all look incredible and that’s a really important part of this genre in my opinion. I want my skills to look good and not like they did in Warhammer Chaosbane. The graphics in this game look better than Diablo IV’s and that game isn’t even out yet. Of course, that could always change as the development of that game continues, but right now Wolcen has better graphics. Wolcen Studio nailed this part of the game. If only everything was as good as the graphics and gameplay though. I’ll get more into that later though.

I don’t just judge the way a game looks in the graphics section. I also judge how well the game performs. My game rarely dipped below 60 fps. It didn’t matter what was happening on screen or how many enemies I was murdering with my OP warrior my fps held up and I was incredibly impressed. I only crashed twice in 35 hours. I didn’t experience any of the stuff that happened to other people so I can’t comment on that. I’ll over it down in the bad section though.

Sounds:

If I was wearing a hat I would take it off and show some respect to Wolcen Studio because what they’ve accomplished here is nothing short of incredible. How did a small Indie studio not only make a game that looks as good as this but sounds good too? I bought the soundtrack of this game. That’s how much I enjoyed it. The songs that played in the background are truly epic and added so much to the atmosphere of the game. It knew when to be bombastic and loud and when to be more somber and subtle. I think my favorite track in the game is the one that plays when you’re in Stormfall. The song that played when I fought the boss of act 2 is a close second. There’s also this track that played while I fought the final boss of the game. It’s incredible

The soundtrack isn’t the only highlight here. This game has full voice acting and it’s surprisingly good. My favorite character in the game is Hemlock and the voice actor that played him did a damn good job. There were good performances all around, but that one stuck out as my favorite.

The Good:

Story:

The voice acting may be good, but that doesn’t mean the story is. The problem I had with it is the spoken dialogue. It could be pretty good at times, but most of the time it was really cheesy. The reason why the story is in this section isn’t what was told to us through dialogue. It’s the lore. I want to know more about the different factions that are talked about, where did the Primordials go and what are they doing now, etc. There’s so much interesting stuff going on that it was enough to keep me invested in the story and the war that was going on.

Wolcen ended on a cliffhanger so there’s obviously more to come and I’m excited to see where Act 4, and possibly 5, will take place and what we’ll be doing. I think there’s a reason the endgame takes place 6 months in the future. It’s because Act 4 will most likely cover that 6-month gap. What’s here now isn’t bad at all. The lore is really interesting and I’m genuinely curious about what happened to my character about I beat the boss of the game.

The Bad:

Servers:

I don’t think Wolcen Studio expected their game to sell as well as it did. Launch day for Wolcen was a dumpster fire for people that wanted to play online. For me, it was smooth because I just made an offline character. I was happy to just play the game. The server issues got so bad that people were having their stash disappear on them and some people even lost progress with their characters. None of that happened to me and I’ve completed the game with an online character. But it’s a well-known issue that I think has been fixed because, as I wrote above, I haven’t experienced any of those issues.

Bugs & Glitches:

I’ve had my game freeze on multiple occasions and I got a pretty funny running bug where my character would run backward, but go forward instead. Fighting an enemy would fix it, but I would eventually run backward again. It didn’t last long and only happened twice, thankfully. My game froze twice in 35 hours. I would’ve liked to have zero freezes in 35 hours, but I’ve played worst games (Path of Exile) that have had a lot more issues than this.

The Verdict

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem had a rough launch, but that didn't take away from my experience of the game. Does this game have some bugs? Yes, but it's in much better shape than most games that release in this genre was at launch day. Wolcen isn't perfect, but what it does right it does really well. The gameplay is meaty, the soundtrack is phenomenal, and graphics, my god, the graphics look so good. Add in a solid story and you've got yourself a really good game that I would recommend if you're a fan of games like Diablo and Grim Dawn. I the only thing I would recommend is that you wait for a few more quality of life patches to be released before taking the plunge and jumping in this game. Other than that, I think Wolcen could eventually be on the same level as games like Path of Exile and Diablo III.

8
Final Score :
8

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