So, my experience reviewing Decay of Logos has been a trip, to say the least. I started the game more than a week ago only to find a broken mess of a product. However, PSU was informed on August 24 that the build of the game I had received was two months old and a number of fixes had been made since then. With that, I was also informed that the latest patch for the PS4 version of the game fixed a lot of issues.
Therefore, I downloaded the patch started the game fresh and went in with an open mind. And, after playing the game with this new patch I have to report that the launch build of Decay Of Logos, THE GAME YOU WILL GET IF YOU BUY IT RIGHT NOW, is a collection of bugs, technical issues, gameplay imbalances, and questionable decisions that make it seem like this game was made in a vacuum, with no knowledge of what makes an enjoyable player experience.
Decay of Logos PS4 Review
A Jarring Opening With No Investment
Decay of Logos opens with Ada, the protagonist, bashing down the door of her house from inside and stumbling out onto the ground as her house burns down around her. Just in front of her is an armored figure who scares off an Elk. As Ada, you pick-up a sword which is embedded in a rock nearby and kill the figure in one or two hits.
From there, you walk for around five seconds in the direction of the Elk, fall on your knees in front of two dead people, watch as the Elk comes over to you and bumps you with its nose, and fade to black.
That is the opening of Decay of Logos, and in the game, it is as impactful and has as much emotion as it sounds like it does. As in, it has absolutely none. I cannot believe how laughable the opening of this game is. I guess those two people are her parents, but that is never made clear and the execution here is so awkward and lacking in emotion that I didn’t have a sliver of compassion or care for Ada. In fact, to show you just how poor it is. You can watch the opening below:
From there, you get a montage of Ada befriending the Elk, before arriving a twisty hillside and the game begins. Already, within the first couple of minutes, I am not invested in this game, its characters, or what I am doing; because, well, it isn’t clear what I am doing or why I am doing it. And, from this point onward, the mess that is Decay of Logos reveals itself.
“Why, Why Is This A Thing?”
So many of Decay of Logos systems feel poorly thought out or are just plain annoyances. But, to start off simple, Decay Of Logos is very much a souls-like. You aren’t given much direction, you are facing towering enemies of various strengths that can kill you quickly but take a long time to kill, and there is an open world that you can explore.
But whilst those ideas don’t sound too bad, when put into practice it is much worse than you think. The first thing that hits you is how awful Ada feels to control. Walking isn’t too bad, but when in combat it feels like the game is constantly fighting your movements. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like you are pulling the stick back to walk but the game is pulling you forwards, albeit more gently. Therefore, it never really feels like you have control over Ada.
Coupled with that is a god-awful camera that will change angles abruptly. When you dodge attacks, instead of the camera keeping its position and only Ada moving, the camera follows Ada’s position. This means that if an enemy is in front of you and you dodge behind it, the camera will dart forward and change from a mid angle to a high angle.
This is incredibly jarring and caused me to die multiple times because of how inconsistent the camera’s positioning is, leaving me open for a follow-up attack or misjudging an attack’s reach. On top of that, your stamina regenerates incredibly slowly, leaving a lot of downtime during combat.
When just walking and exploring the world, the camera issue isn’t present. Scattered around the uninteresting and not particularly varied environments are alleyways and Echoes with secrets to discover. Echoes are found at small rock sculptures and offer a log, which transcribes someone’s story or an event. Out of the ones I found, none of them were particularly interesting to read and there didn’t seem to be an incentive to find them.
Secret buildings and rooms offer up new weapons and armor that can be equipped onto Ada, changing her physical appearance and providing stat increases. But, armor will break after only a few hits and resting at a statue doesn’t replenish their durability. This is infuriating because of how brittle they are and it feels like a complete disrespect of the player’s time.
Weapons can be used for an extensive period of time and they will not break. Later down the line, you reach a small village with a Blacksmith who can repair these for you, but the opening hours of the game turn you off at every step, that I doubt you will want to make it that far.
Other mechanics, such as NPCs you can interact with and the various elixirs you can drink to provide buffs are taught through small stones, which act like notes from the various FromSoftware games. Although, some of the time the button prompts would not work for these. Forcing me to rest and then go back and try again.
Other than that, there isn’t much else to the world, narrative, or gameplay of Decay of Logos. It is quite an open game with little direction, so I was mostly left stumbling around until I got to where I wanted to go. You can also ride your Elk after feeding it some Lullaberries you find.
However, there seems to be no reason to do this, because it moves at a snail’s pace, won’t run, and will get stressed and throw you off after a minute or so of riding it and when you get too close to enemies. So, I don’t even know why this is an option, other than the fact that some doors can only be opened when riding it, for some unexplained reason.
But Wait… It Somehow Gets Worse!
Oh, you thought I was done? You thought that was the extent of the problems with Decay of Logos? Oh no, this game does everything to make you hate every second of playing it and punish you in ways that dumbfounded me. The most egregious disdain for the game comes through the way some systems and mechanics work.
The first thing I will touch on here is that enemies will stay tethered to you for ridiculously long distances. This means that you can’t just run through areas to get back to where you were if you died; because, if you do, you will have twenty guys behind you ready to stab you with a bunch of sticks and other weaponry. Traversing the world is a chore because of this.
If you die due to the poor camera, you are then forced to replay through everything again, as you can’t run back through, which is at odds with its ‘open-world, save at designated statues’ structure. Enemies can also get stuck in doorways, blocking escape routes, and forcing you to fight them in that same cramped doorway, which is not fun at all.
Whilst we are on the topic of death, let’s talk about how Decay of Logos will half all your stats when you die. Yep. That includes your health, damage output, resistances, everything. I don’t know why this is a thing. It is stupidly punishing and feels even more unfair because of how easy it is to die due to the issues mentioned earlier.
This also means that as you progress through the game, this effect is much more devastating. Whilst at the start your damage might be halved from “3” to “1.5”, for example, that scales later into the game, with your damage dropping from a whopping “50” to “25.” And the result of that is making you pretty much ineffective in combat.
But, you can get rid of this effect by resting at designated fires around the world. These are separate from statues (which regen your health and respawn enemies) and the two are not always next to each other. However, if you do rest here, you get ambushed by 3-4 enemies upon waking up and have to fight them off. Which, is, a, pain, in, the, ass.
Not only does this game punish you for dying, but it also punishes you with a stat debuff, that penalizes you once again when you try to remove it in the way the game tells you to remove it. Like, I just don’t get it. Who thought this was a good idea? It is the most nonsensical game mechanic I have ever come across.
The final note I have on Decay of Logos is how broken hitboxes are. When fighting normal enemies the hitboxes are fine, but once you reach the larger foes, the game just becomes practically unplayable. A lot of these foes perform ‘Area of Effect’ attacks that you would usually dodge, such as a foot stomp.
However, the hitboxes for these attacks are flat-out broken, hitting me from at least a few meters away from the point of impact. On top of that, they happen so often that it becomes practically impossible to find an opening to land attacks. These foes are also far too tall for how low and zoomed in the camera is, resulting in attacks you couldn’t even see coming hitting you and sending you back to the last statue.
One Sentence: Don’t Buy This Game
Decay of Logos opens with a quote: “The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters.” And ironically, that is the best way to describe the game. It suffers from a long sleep of decisions made with seemingly no reasoning behind them, resulting in a monster of a game that shouldn’t be played by anyone, let alone cost $19.99!
That price is ludicrous for how much of a mess Decay of Logos is. I wouldn’t even say this experience offers a dollar’s worth of enjoyment. As I mentioned at the top of my review, it feels like the game was made in a vacuum or by robots who have no idea how to craft a rewarding and enjoyable player experience.
So many poor design decisions and frustrating mechanics make Decay Of Logos much worse than just a bad, poorly made, technical mess of a game. It actively tries to make your experience worse in multiple ways. The game disrespects your time and investment as a player. There is nothing worth experiencing in Decay of Logos. It is quite simply the worst game I have ever played.
Decay of Logos is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch now.
Review copy provided by publisher.