This adventure is a lesson in how not to make a game.
After about about six hours with Amplify Creation’s new game, I walked away drained and frustrated. Decay of Logos doesn’t just miss the mark. It fails on the most fundamental levels with aggressive mishandling of combat, structure, and balance, and it’s often a downright insufferable experience as a result.
"Decay of Logos doesn’t just miss the mark. It fails on the most fundamental levels with aggressive mishandling of combat, structure, and balance, and it’s often a downright insufferable experience as a result."
It fancies itself somewhere between Breath of the Wild and Dark Souls with its fairy tale-esque aesthetic, challenging one-on-one lock-on combat, and cryptic narrative. Of these things, its colorful visual style is probably its most appealing quality, yet further examination reveals that the texture quality, slowdown, pop-in, and iffy frame rate would all be at home on the PS2. And I wish that wasn’t just the beginning of the problems.
Let’s just pretend Decay of Logos didn’t crash three times in my first 20 minutes, and let’s pretend it didn’t get stuck on infinite load screens over and over. Alas, even if those game-breaking problems didn’t mar my experience already, they may have still been preferable to actually playing the game.
Decay of Logos initially appeared to nicely check off some of the most basic of the genre’s boxes. Tutorial stones scattered about the world answered basic questions like what buttons attack and how to dodge. As someone with over 2,000 hours invested in Souls-like games, muscle memory was kicking in right away, and I felt briefly hopeful.
I quickly found out that learning how to do these things don’t matter when the very act of executing them is a complete disaster. No matter how much the game attempts to replicate the Souls-like combat experience, it can’t be successful when it just doesn’t work.
"No matter how much the game attempts to replicate the Souls-like combat experience, it can’t be successful when it just doesn’t work."
There’s a general sense of stiffness and sluggishness to everything you do in Decay of Logos. The game often just decides not to register your inputs because of the needlessly long animation locks that occur between actions. Where better games in the genre find the perfect balance of weight and responsiveness, combat in Decay of Logos feels less like a game of calculated risks and more like cumbersome guesswork.
This is compounded by inconsistent hitboxes that cause attacks from the exact same spot to whiff right through enemies sometimes and connect just fine other times, making strategic positioning feel pointless at times. You can stand directly on an enemy and still have your attack periodically just miss for seemingly no reason and get pummeled because of the aforementioned long recovery times.
And things are even worse with enemy attack hitboxes. This is perhaps most notable with the game’s first boss, a giant goblin with an axe. The majority of his attacks are simple forward-facing foot pounds, and even when if you stand fully behind him and keep your distance, the attack will often still register as a hit on you and send you falling to the ground with half of your health lost. I tested it multiple times and found that the hitbox for the attack was basically anywhere within a mile of his foot.
There doesn’t appear to be any refillable Estus Flask-style consumable either. I found scattered health potions during my playtime, but once I had used them, the only means for healing came from sleeping at camps that serve as the game’s version of a bonfire from Dark Souls.
"Where better games in the genre find the perfect balance of weight and responsiveness, combat in Decay of Logos feels less like a game of calculated risks and more like cumbersome guesswork."
Considering every enemy I encountered took off 3/4 of my health in a single hit during the early portion of the game, the lack of healing options meant that each attempt I made to explore the world granted me around two hits. Coupled with the game’s broken combat, this resulted in me stumbling about the open world frustrated and just barely skimming by with the game’s janky, inconsistent combat.
That was, of course, until the automated leveling system started leveling me up. I couldn’t find an experience meter of any sort, so gaining levels felt like random events rather than earned payoffs. But at least I started doing substantially more damage to enemies each time, and that was welcomed, even if it didn’t really change the fact that the combat itself was too unwieldy to ever leave me feeling confident in encounters.
I gained around 4 levels over the course of the next hour and was suddenly killing enemies in a single hit. With this nice boon to my attack power, I continued forward in hopes of overcoming the fundamental flaws in the combat design, if only to see if the game’s other features were at least mildly interesting enough to earn it a bit of praise.
Instead, what little of the world I managed to explore was full of barren open spaces and dull architecture with tedious ladder-climbing sections basically everywhere I turned. Enemy variety primarily ranged from walking trees to walking trees with shields. As with any Souls-like, I at least somewhat enjoyed exploring nooks and crannies to uncover secrets, but even those typically didn’t yield worthwhile rewards.
"As with any Souls-like, I at least somewhat enjoyed exploring nooks and crannies to uncover secrets, but even those typically didn’t yield worthwhile rewards."
When I did find something, it was usually some type of armor or weapon I had already seen drop a dozen times. Since the game uses a degradation system, finding and replacing armor with the same type seems to be part of the game design. That never really bothered me, and finding a cool new weapon was always a highlight; I never felt like I had to use the same one too long before discovering something with better stats. If the combat wasn’t so atrocious, I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed using them and learning their unique timing windows.
There’s a rideable elk that follows you in your journey and even periodically comes in handy for solving puzzles. Riding it required me to obtain berries (used to calm the beast) scattered about the world, but they were plentiful. Despite my constant pounding of the X button to make it go, it just slowly meandered about as if it didn’t even notice my character’s feet relentlessly beating its sides. The extreme sensitivity of the stick caused it to just walk into the walls and structures as I tried to direct it where to go. Thanks, but no thanks.
All of my Souls-like experience and unwavering dedication didn’t prepare me for this travesty, and by the end of my time with Decay of Logos, I didn’t walk away feeling hopeful for its future. Even if Decay of Logos receives future patches to improve its slowdown, wacky hitboxes, and constant bugs, the stiff and frustrating combat and general lack of soul would still ensure it was never worthy of your time.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Interesting armor/weapon system.
Stiff, unresponsive controls; Broken hitboxes; PS2-era presentation; Bugs and crashes.
In its quest to mimic other successful franchises, Amplify Creations has created the Frankenstein of video games. Decay of Logos is an unbalanced, unresponsive mess with little soul to pick up the slack. There are far too many better alternatives to waste any time with this fundamentally broken adventure.