As a big fan of ARPG games, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the recently released Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem. Actually, I found out about the game only a month before it was released. After taking a closer look at the Steam reviews, I decided to get the game that definitely hits the sweet spot between Diablo 3 and Path of Exile. (at least in my opinion)
This Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem review is not going to focus on how bad the launch of the game went. I have to mention, though, that it was a total mess and that the game was unplayable online for the whole launch weekend. However, this also happens to giant companies like Blizzard, and it is no surprise that it took much more time for the indie studio to stand up to the challenge and have the servers back up and running.
The only good thing was that you could play the game offline.
All this mess did not stop me from having fun once the servers were live. I have already spent almost 40 hours playing the game and I have a couple of things to say about the gameplay, storyline, itemization and the endgame.
The game was built in the CryEngine. This really makes the game look marvelous. This might not be good news for everyone, for example, I now have to upgrade my GTX960 as I only get around 50-60 fps with all details set to low in 1080p.
It looks to me that the engine was well utilized to showcase the dark mood that is present throughout the game. There are plenty of breathtaking details. All this has positively impacted how well the game looks.
From the moment you start on the character screen, you can clearly notice that developers have paid attention to plenty of details. You notice the same as you play through the campaign and continue leveling up once you are finished with it.
When it comes to special attacks and spells, it all works flawlessly. There is an occasional bug that pops up here and there, but I believe the studio will work on correcting those over time. The only thing that needs immediate attention is definitely the problem that you cannot drink potions as the spells/special moves animations are running. Hopefully, this can also get fixed.
Overall, I love how the game plays. Getting used to its mechanics was intuitive and easy. The game definitely delivers the ARPG feel as you play it. Things happen fast, especially as you go over level 60 and interesting drops start taking place. On top of that, your spells and attacks become more powerful, making it easier to slay hundreds of monsters while you are exploring new areas.
If you are someone who loves ARPG games, I can definitely recommend this one. It offers a great experience and it will definitely remind you of every other hack and slash you have played, as it heavily borrows things from several of them.
The storyline is interesting. I am not going to reveal too much, but I was satisfied with how the story unfolded. It is one of the very important reasons why I play any game. I can say that this was good enough to keep me drawn in from start to the end of the campaign.
Obviously, the storyline is going to be continued through future patches and DLCs. There is plenty more to be told, but we’ll see what the studio has in its plans for the future.
Skills and Stats
When it comes to skills and stats in Wolcen, the game features a mixture of elements from the other games. Depending on what you want to play, a melee, a ranged or a spell class, as you level up, you will have to place your stat points in Ferocity, Toughness, Agility, and Wisdom. Each of these will differently affect your character development.
When it comes to skills, they drop as Enneracts and by right-clicking on them, you learn them. As you use them these skills level up. On top of that, by leveling them, you get to unlock different variations of the skills.
There is also a passive skill tree that will heavily impact your character build. Each level will grant you a point that you can spend on your skill tree. This system is quite similar to that in Path of Exile.
This section, like other parts of the game, requires a complete guideline, something that I am going to write and publish on this blog very soon.
Itemization in the game resembles the one in Diablo 2. There are several tiers of items. White, regular items, blue ones which are magic, yellow are rare, purple are unique and dark red/brown items are legendary.
Your character’s progress will heavily depend on the type of items you are wearing. Much like it did in Diablo 2. Things even get more interesting as you are closer to level 90 and various unique items and legendaries start dropping on the floor. The types that significantly affect the build you are currently playing.
Like in Diablo 3, every player gets his own loot. And all of the items are tradeable. I love this because I believe that account binding and soul binding items in ARPGs removes a whole possible endgame for some people, those who enjoy just the trading part.
The current endgame concept looks interesting, but there is plenty that could be added. To cut to the chase, after you finish the game, you start running a city. You now do dungeons that are called Expeditions and Mandates. Doing these will help you build, improve and grow your city.
However, the game needs some sort of leaderboards, and this is probably something that is going to be added to the game in the future.
The current endgame is a great way to level up your character and find new items and explore builds. The game is still young and doing mandates and expeditions is a great way to explore it. However, as time passes, players will certainly require more things to do. We’ll see how often the game is going to be updated, and hopefully, the endgame is going to evolve.
My overall impression of the game is a positive one. This game has a lot of potential to become a serious contender in the ARPG genre. But it all depends on the developers, how often they are going to update it, whether they will listen to their community and how quickly all of the current bugs are going to be addressed.
So far, the game has already received a patch that addresses some major bugs and server issues. However, there is a long road ahead for the WolcenStudio. I have high hopes for this game. I will certainly keep playing it and revisit it once again as it matures.
Until then, all I have to say is that I can recommend the game to those who enjoy playing ARPGs. The game is fun and there is a lot to explore. Consider it a mashup of all the other well-known hack and slash games.
I hope that this Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem review has been beneficial to you. You can find and follow me on Twitch. My account there is templardin. I try to stream a couple of times per week, depending on how much time I have.