Hands-on: Loki

Loki is an upcoming hack n’ slash RPG from Cyanide Studios. An English single-player demo was recently released and samples one of the four characters in the full game. Boasting a level cap of 200 (you start out as level 5 and can become level 20 in the demo), you’ll get your killing on (figuratively) in the demos wide range of environments.

What’s a hack n’ slash RPG without loads of combat and gory blood? Trust me, you don’t need to worry because there’s plenty of both in Loki. In Loki’s sake, however, there’s a slight twist in the combat experience; the game decided to go with the level-scaling route. Like Oblivion, when you level, all the enemies level with you. Oblivion took flak for this and my guess is Loki will take flak as well.


The demo won’t totally scare level-scaling haters away though; you’re given a high level, pre-made character to fool around with. His name is Kasstedan and well, he’s your typical warrior. So, since you’re a leveled warrior, things go down in one or two hits. But the enemies in the demo are just the generic, typical enemies you’ll find anywhere — wolves and generic warriors on horses. They’re nothing to really shake a stick at, or in this case, a massive axe.

One of the highlights is the visuals, which are pretty impressive. There’s plenty of graphical shading and plenty of bump-mapping to please your eyes. Axe down some wolves in water and the water will ripple realistically around the body and the blood will dissipate; the blood effects are great looking. Still, there were some slight performance problems. My PC easily exceeded the system requirements and the game looked great with all the options jacked up, but there were some noticeable slow-downs at inappropriate times.


Items will be dropping like hotcakes, but for whatever reason, there’s no item highlight button. Instead, you have to scour the ground for items and if there are a bunch of bodies littering the floor, you could easily miss things. Still, being a packrat in a hack n’ slash game is perfectly fine and Loki will give you plenty of items to sort through.

What about skills? Skills are divided into three trees by god. When you do quests specific towards a god and level up, you’ll gain experience and skills points for that tree. But looking at all the skills, many of them are similar to each other and I didn’t see the incentive to pursue all these quests. Since you play the big warrior, most of the skills are the ones that make you hit harder and faster.

Unlike just about every other third-person hack n’ slash RPG in existence, you can’t swerve the camera around when you point your mouse at your screen’s edges. Instead, you have and can only twirl around the camera by using the WASD keys. Since you can’t program the mouse to move the camera around, you have to rely on using the mouse for movement, which may seem awkward for players who prefer to use the WASD keys to move instead.


As for the audio, I have to say that the voice actor for Kasstedan totally doesn’t fit his persona. Kasstedan is this immense, hulking brute who probably has seen thousands of battles but his voice is the equivalent of a pale, secluded bookworm who’s never seen the light of day. Just hearing this high-pitched voice coming from this badass warrior is pretty hilarious.

So is Loki the Diablo II of 2007? Well, the game has been out in European countries for quite a few months. Since then, there have been numerous patches supporting the game so all these "problems" I’ve outlined could have easily been tweaked or changed. Nonetheless, Loki is a rather nice-looking and updated version of Diablo II. It’s taking a few different steps, like level-scaling, so hopefully these gameplay changes have a long-lasting effect on Loki.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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