Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lucius

Lucius and his family standing on the porch of the manner


Developer: Shiver Games
Release Date: October 26, 2012
Genre: Adventure, Strategy

One Sentence Review:
Bored, bored, walkthrough, bored, bored, walkthrough, bored, bored, bored... oh that's kinda neat.

This game doesn't have a bad concept, an adventure game where you play as the child of Satan certainly is appealing. It is refreshing to be able to tap into magical powers to solve puzzles rather than using them to just kill everyone. It's also refreshing to kill people with puzzles rather than magical powers! If only it didn't have so many problems...


Gameplay

You play as Lucius, child of Satan and general asshole 6 year old. Your job is to kill everyone as sacrifices to your loving and doting father who will reward you with new devilish powers with each sneaky kill. In a way the gameplay is a mix of logical puzzle solving and stealth since one of your goals is to not get caught. That's unfortunately where the problems start up.

Let me explain a scenario for you. You have to sneak downstairs to retrieve some potential evidence that you had a hand in a murder. However, your mother woke up at the same time as you for... reasons. So now you have to avoid being seen out of bed late at night as well! But the door to the stairway is locked, as I found out twelve times, and you can't just return to your room and wait because your mother blocks the way. So what do you do?

You hide in a closet that you were never told was unlocked, or even there, and wait until she's gone. There's no peaking mechanics or audible footstep sounds so if you open the door too early she'll catch you and send you straight back to the start! See the meaning behind that one sentence review up there? The story does a terrible job of telling you what's available in the level, what you can interact with, and where your targets are. A simple shimmering around items you can interact with wouldn't go amiss. Neither would a hellish compass telling you where your next soon-to-be victim is.

It wouldn't hurt so much if the game wasn't riddled with bugs. The number of times Lucius ended up floating above his victims as if he were ascending into heaven was laughable. At one point I misclicked with the mind control power and ended up completing an objective for one of the end-game missions. I wasn't even halfway through the game when this happened. I take it back it would still hurt without this stuff, but this just makes it burn worse.

I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse that you can easily beat the game within only 4 hours. Or more accurately that I beat the game within 4 hours despite relying on a walkthrough only for the latter half of the game!

Story

The story isn't too terrible as its core. Some stuff doesn't make any sense, like what your Grandfather got in trade for making a deal with the devil. I'm just going to spoil that because fuck this game, but a lot of the intrigue is fairly well written and explained. Your father being a politician explains why this is kept so secretive and why there isn't more investigation into the murders. If it happened at my house I'd probably be under constant surveillance within 4 hours simply due to my search history!

Dialogue

The quality of the dialogue is... passable. The characters do fluctuate a lot in their personalities sometimes seeming kind and then seeming like complete jerks. The devs would've done well to put some more lines into each character during each chapter considering how many times you're going to have to listen to them repeat themselves while you're solving some of the more batshit crazy logic puzzles.

The quality of the voice acting, however, is somewhat above passable. I might even be inclined to give it a solid four star score. Lucius keeps his mouth shut but everyone else does a pretty good job of delivering their lines and making it seemingly believable. Whoever voiced the mother has a wonderful career ahead of her voicing completely insane people!

Graphics

Yeah, the graphics are pretty bad. I would've preferred a more cartoonish cell-shading to this thing that looks like it's from the PS2 era, not 2012. The characters are all really low-res, effects are weak, and there's this blur everywhere. This game lists a Pentium 4 1.5 GHz processor as it's minimum requirements and I believe it. It's not often I find a game I could play on my laptop from 2009. Which I still haven't gotten rid of for some reason despite buying a better one in 2012! ... wait...

Summary

I don't hate the concept but this is a failure in the execution. Lucius just has too many problems in its choices of design. I can't recommend this at its default price of $10. The missions you'll likely enjoy and want to replay add up to a worth of around $5. I had high hopes for this one and it sadly fell apart in front of me.