(PC) Lucius Review
by Justin Ross
Developer: Shiver Games
Publisher: Lace Mamba Global
Release Date: October 26th, 2012
It isn’t common for a game to come out that puts us into the shoes of something we haven’t been before, or something that is “unique”. In Lucius we’re tossed into the shoes of the devil’s son who happens to be called Lucius, and tasked with doing our father’s bidding which is to murder members of the household, and the only reasoning for this is that Lucifer needs us to reap souls for him. They don’t really explain why we’re doing it, other than the sole purpose that Lucifer told us to.
The main appeal to this game for me was the fact that you are indeed the son of the devil, and you get to be a horrible little bastard and kill people. I could be crazy, mental, or even a maniac but the sheer fact that I could disembowel or burn people alive as a child has some kind of macabre appeal to it. The game is definitely unique, and you should be able to see that while playing through and killing the residents of your household.
In terms of “powers” Lucius isn’t at all like his father. We don’t get any of these abilities right away, so you won’t be levitating objects, setting people ablaze, or possessing people anytime soon, you’ll need to progress through the game, and to progress you must kill your targets. Your targets are essentially people of the house that are deemed “unworthy” or “sinful” and must be punished so Lucifer can take their souls to hell, and that’s the whole plot/gimmick in a nutshell. You’re killing people to satisfy your father, and getting stronger so you can become the anti-christ. Or, at-least it seems that way. The developers didn’t do a grand job explaining much of the game.
At the beginning of a chapter you’ll be given a target that you must kill, but sadly all the kills are linear and you won’t be able to experiment. This is definitely a major flaw with this kind of game, and really makes someone lose interest in killing their targets. Sure, it’s awesome to cause somebody to fall and have their head sawn in half, but it would have been better and given the game some replay value if we could kill them multiple ways. For example, there’s an incident where you have to crush somebody with a piano by levitating it. This target was a drunk, and I could already think of better, and more evil ways to take him out. Would of been awesome if I could of dumped a ton of arsenic into his whiskey, or skip the entire process and burn him alive. I just can’t get past the linear kills, it really lessens the experience, which is a shame because this game had potential.
Now, I’ve played games that have had some sub-par, and horrible voice-acting but Lucius definitely has to take the cake. I know most people don’t really care if the game has poor acting or not, but there’s just something about this game that makes it painful to listen to sometimes. Below, is an example of said voice-acting and it sort-of contains a spoiler of one of the kills you’ll have to do. It’s a prime example that either the game didn’t have enough in their budget to hire better voice-acting, or it was just plagued by poorly written dialogue. You be the judge.
You think someone would express their pain a little more, instead we get this horrible incident.
Another flaw you can see from the video itself is this game hasn’t been optimized properly. I run a rather expensive, and top of the line gaming rig but there’s moments in Lucius when it freezes, drops in frames, and just has a ton of environmental issues thrown at your face. They did release a patch last week and I’m hoping it went into optimizing the game a little better because the optimization got me so frustrated, and often had me missing out on the kill cut-scenes.
I do have to give the game SOME credit where it’s due. There’s two neat little meta-game activities that you can perform during the main story/game that can provide you with more power and unlock some unique tools to make your experience easier, and I hate to say it, but more fun.
During the game your mother/residents of the household may give you chores to do around the house. Even though the chores can be exceedingly boring at times, and not fun the end product is somewhat worth the painful experience, and I do mean painful. Most of the chores are to fetch objects around the house like bottles of wine, etc but you’ll be given chores that just seem useless to be put into a game. For example, the mother character was on my ass for about ten minutes because I didn’t go to the bathroom to brush my teeth, or spend the 5 minutes to pick up toy blocks in my room and put them back in my toybox. The chores are at-least a neat concept, even though some of them feel completely useless, and just happen to be the most boring thing I’ve encountered in a video game yet, but at-least you can get a couple some-what useful toys/tools that can help you kill people, or point you in the right direction.
The other little activity is inverting crosses. They don’t really serve much purpose other than restoring power. For example, I was in a room and had to use my Telekinesis to pick up an object but my power kept mysteriously draining. I searched the room, came across a cross and inverted it. My power instantly restored and I could complete my task. It’s an interesting little thing they added to the game, albeit tedious.
I also found the game hard to navigate, even though they do give you a map. Since the game only takes place inside the mansion you should be quick to learn the directions and locations, but since every room is almost a carbon copy of the last it’s easy to get lost, and most of the game-time is you wandering the halls of the house trying to find your target, and the tools to kill them with. You’re essentially paying $25 for a glorified scavenger hunt game with blood & guts.
In the end, Lucius is quite the mess of a game and at times can be an extremely boring experience. The game suffers from linear kills, horrible optimization, and at times isn’t even fun and feels more like a chore, much like the chores given by residents in the game.
Sadly, I’ll have to give Lucius a 2.5/10 and I have to be honest. It feels like Lucius is one of the worst games I’ve played in 2012. I don’t recommend it to anyone, unless you’re into the whole “gore”/”campy” horror stuff, but even that might not sell you on this pile of wank. I expected good things, and was let down in the end.