Decay of Logos
Developed By : Amplify Creations
Published By : Rising Star Games
Category : Action, Adventure
Release Date : Nov 28, 2019
A Switch release having launch issues is nothing new. Developers often underestimate how much work is needed to bring games to Nintendo’s handheld, especially when porting games already released on other platforms. Decay of Logos has had a rougher time than most, accidently releasing early on the eShop, along with the PS4 and PC versions having a whole host of issues themselves. After all this time, was the wait worth it? In Decay of Logos’ current state, not at all, and it’s hard to tell if a fixed version later down the line would be much better.
Decay of Logos’ story starts with protagonist Ada’s village being razed to the ground by knights. Having no family or home left, she sets off on a journey to find the ones responsible for their attack. Along the way Ada encounters a white Elk, which decides to follow her after some persuasion. And… that’s it. Most of the story is left for you to find through various NPCs and their memory echoes scattered throughout the land. While we’d like to tell you that the story is worth it overall, that would require playing through the entire game, an endeavour that would test even the most patient players.
Usually we make sure to complete games before reviewing them, but a combination of strange design choices and horrendous performance make Decay of Logos a chore to play at all times. To start with, Ada’s movement is clunky and often unresponsive. She’s slow even when sprinting, and most of her animations take too long to start after pressing a button. Whether attacking, dodging or jumping, most actions are nowhere near as consistent as they should be.
Adding to this frustration is the way stats and equipment are handled. As with most soulslikes, Ada can level up after killing enough enemies. Unlike the series it’s clearly inspired on though, levelling is given much more importance. A couple of levels can often turn an enemy from an unstoppable powerhouse into a weakling that dies in a few hits. The lack of interesting stat choices when you gain a level makes levelling uninteresting, but it ends up being required to have a chance at damaging most enemies.
There’s also a stat decay system that has taken the humanity system from Dark Souls and twisted it into an unnecessarily punishing mechanic. Dying in Decay of Logos sends you back to the last shrine you interacted with, dropping your stats a little for good measure. Unlike the Souls games, Ada’s stats also decay even if you never die and must be restored by resting. Resting points are separate from shrines, while also being relatively infrequent. This means that, no matter well you play, you’ll eventually be required to run to the closest resting point. It’s a completely pointless mechanic that punished you heavily for just trying to play the game.
If this wasn’t enough, trying to acquire gear is more trouble than it should be. Some weapons and armour can be found in chests, but most of it is gained through random drops from enemies. This ends up being incredibly annoying early on, as you lack any items except for a sword. Some weapons being enemy drops is fine, but there needs to be a way to consistently gain equipment without grinding. Even the act of storing items and equipment is a nuisance, as you’re limited to only one extra weapon slot and have no way to carry more armour.
The only way to keep more is to give it to your Elk companion, though that still doesn’t offer you much space. This extra storage is at least helpful, unlike actually trying to ride the Elk. You’d think that with how slowly Ada moves anything else would be an improvement, but no. The Elk is incredibly slow, a pain to control and you can only ride it briefly before it must be fed again. The items you feed it are easy enough to acquire, but there’s little reason to bother aside from the very occasional puzzle. The bond between Ada and her animal companion is yet another missed opportunity in the game.
Gameplay annoyances are nothing however compared to how poorly the Switch version of Decay of Logos performs. Despite everything that has been done to improve framerates, such as noticeable pop-in and low-resolution textures, the game never runs smoothly at any point. This is true of both handheld and docked modes, the latter making the rough visuals stand out even more. Stuttering is constant, and it only seems to get worse the more you play. Timing attacks or jumps is an exercise in frustration thanks to this, and it also makes Ada’s parry near worthless.
After playing through a large chunk of Decay of Logos, it’s clear that the developers bit off more than they could chew. A small team attempting to make an expansive soulslike game is admirable, but the final result is a mess. Some tweaks to a few of the game’s systems to make it less clunky would be nice. However, without some drastic performance improvements there no reason to even attempt playing Decay of Logos.
*The Switch Effect was provided a code for this game*