Random Article


 
Must See..
 

Lucius (PC) Review

 
Lucius PC Header Title
Lucius PC Header Title
Lucius PC Header Title

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC
 
Genre: , ,
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
4.0
4/ 10


User Rating
6 total ratings

 

We liked?


  • Puzzles can be unique and entertaining
  • Commits to the B-move horror theme
  • Pays off the player for being observant

Not so much?


  • Bug ridden graphics engine & game logic
  • Poor engagement from story
  • No emotional attachment to anyone or anything in the game
  • Mass murder enabling a minor could be a sticky subject


Final Fiendish Findings?

Lucius has some interesting ideas and offers a reasonably unique take on the adventure / puzzle genre. The trouble is that so often you are just fighting the bugs and poor design decisions evident in the game.

There is some fun to be had from the puzzling and as long as you ignore the moral side of controlling and enabling a mass murdering child it will give you a few hours of joy – especially as the game is under £20. I’m hoping that with some patching at least the technical issues (discovered over several PC can be addressed and that Shiver Games take another run at this with a little more time for polish.

Just be aware that the game is broken in several ways and, unless a patch hits, it can be frustrating to play and you waste time fighting the games shortcomings. With a lack of a good plot and characterisation it soon becomes a fight you’re just not bothered with.

0
Posted October 25, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Lucius from Lace Mamba and Shiver Games puts you in the shoes of the recent spawn of Satan’s loins. So what the devil is it all about?

During the birth of Lucius, the titular character of the game, a dark ritual is performed that brings forth the creation of an anti-christ. Borrowing heavily from Donner’s The Omen movie and thousand pretenders since, the game is dark open world adventure title that has you helping Lucius to obtain souls for his father.

Now when I say “obtain”, you know I mean “kill dudes” right? Set in 1972 the story of Lucius is your average kid, playing games, getting up to hi-jinx, running around is massive multi-storey mansion and grounds. That is until he suddenly get this murderous urge on the evening of his birthday. A swift murder of the house maid later and you find yourself face to face with Satan… you know it’s Satan because he’s in an armchair surrounded by flames.

From that night on Lucius realises his purpose – the obtaining souls for his father part we discussed earlier. To do this Lucius must traverse a moderate sized world that consists of the various rooms and grounds of his parents mansion. You are given a vague kill order at the start of each level. You then find the target and a brief cut scene sets the tone for the level. You’re then tasked with executing this kill order whilst remaining beyond suspicion for the murders.

For example, the handyman has his card marked early in the game. To take him down you wander about and notice the piano. A quick examination reveals that the piano has a wonky peddle. You hear that the handyman is working in the lower bathroom so you go visit. A swift sneaky scribble on his work pad adds “Fix the piano” to his list of jobs to do. Luckily he’s also a massive lush so when he passes out on the bathroom floor for a few moments you can lift his screwdriver without him seeing. A quick sprint back to the piano and a little tweak with the screwdriver and the piano is set for carnage. A few moments later the handyman enters the room . You then use one of your special abilities, telekinesis, to shake and shatter the legs of the piano. A cut scene is then triggered that shows a grisly scene of the handyman getting his head caved in by the falling piano.

Lucius

So moral implications of making a minor into a serial killer (a Steam achievement btw!) aside, the game is part adventure title and part puzzle game. Early puzzles require little more than a leap of logical thinking where as further levels require some more lateral thoughts and exhaustive exploration of the house. Bringing in the other dark powers of Lucius also helps to try and keep the puzzles fresh but there is only ever one path to successfully completing a challenge.

Graphically the game is competent with some reasonable environmental design. Basic shaders and lighting effects are used to help project a repressive and dark atmosphere during the game. The real issues with the look of Lucius come in the form of the creepy dead-eyes character models that inhabit the game. This worked well when, for instance, you get a close up of the dead maid in the cooler at the start of the game. When every living character just looks dead behind the eyes it means you for little to no attachment to them. Couple that with some poor facial and body animations and you have a series of ghoulish marionettes prowling around your game world.

Sound design and voice work is little better to be honest. The script would make a B-movie blush and the actual voice acting is flat at its most effective. An apparently Irish handyman (and naturally a stereotypical drunk!) is actually laughably awful in his accent attempts. There is little to no feeling or performance put behind the voice cast with the possible exceptions of McGuffin (the detective retelling the tale of Lucius in a Noire style of sorts) and Satan. The musical score is reasonable though and in the boxed edition of the game you at least get a copy of that on CD. The environmental sounds that inhabit the house and the general sound effects are all well handled and in keeping with the games aesthetic.

Lucius Review

The game is also rife with glitches and bugs. The game engine appears to go from working fine to struggling hideously to load the environment, causing massive hitches to the screen and killing the flow of gameplay. Altering in game settings to lower settings for graphics etc does nothing to cure this and I was using a moderate to powerful PC to play this games (BF3 on medium to high at 1920×1080 at a smooth frame rate). There were a few outright crashes too but the most annoying things happened in game with the logic of some puzzles. For instance I could not complete one of the side-quest chores because it would not register I had moved some boxes of meat to the cooler for the butcher. It did if I went back picked up each box, dropped it, then loaded and unloaded my quest log notebook. I had to do this for all the boxes I had moved. Another time the lighting in the game dropped so that i was almost pitch dark throughout the entire game world – even outside in the sun! Things like this persisted throughout the entire game and really destroy any flow to the game.

The game also lacks a compelling narrative – to be honest you just do the next level to see what grisly (and most ARE VERY groosome!) fate awaits your latest victim. There is no attachment to the character of Lucius… how could there be! You also feel nothing for the people you’re slowly killing off because the game does little to make you form an attachment.

Lucius

Final thoughts

Lucius has some interesting ideas (like earlier actions closing off options later on in the game) and offers a reasonably unique take on the adventure / puzzle genre. The variety of puzzles and large house will keep you going for a good 8 – 10 hours and when it all comes together it works well enough from a mechanical point of view.

The trouble is that so often you are just fighting the bugs and poor design decisions evident in the game – why design a reticule & view field that is totally obscured by your avatars head meaning you can’t see what you’re looking at close up ! The game could do with a further few weeks of bug testing and fixing – for example Crosses (that sap Lucius’ power) effect you through walls and at times from the floor below!

There is some fun to be had from the puzzling and as long as you ignore the moral side of controlling and enabling a mass murdering child it will give you a few hours of joy – especially as the game is under £20. I’m hoping that with some patching at least the technical issues (discovered over several PC can be addressed and that Shiver Games take another run at this with a little more time for polish.

Just be aware that the game is broken in several ways and, unless a patch hits, it can be frustrating to play and you waste time fighting the games shortcomings. With a lack of a good plot and characterisation it soon becomes a fight you’re just not bothered with.

 


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.