Decay of Logos is a title that I had really wanted to play last year when it came out but between everything else, the release date came and went and I forgot about it until seeing it available on Utomik’s platform. Not wanting to miss out again, I clicked on the title and dove into a world moved on as you take the role of an Elf girl and her Elk as they escape from their burning village with everyone and everything they knew now gone.
Decay of Logos tries to be a lot of things but unfortunately, the only thing that it really is, is a boring mess. It tries to be a Soulsborne. It isn’t. It kind of tries to be Breath of the Wild. It really isn’t. Only adding that it tries to be some sort of minimalistic action adventure RPG, there’s loads of little things that are done right but oh boy does it miss the mark. Let’s start at the beginning.
Literally starting at the beginning, your elven protagonist Ada’s village is raised to the ground and her parents were killed. Picking up a sword that acts as a super brief tutorial on how to eliminate an enemy, you are treated to a cutscene of Ada walking around the wilderness until she comes upon an elk. Queing a montage, she tames the elk and then the two set off together. Why is any of this important? It’s important because the elk is supposed to be your Epona. Sadly, in actuality, your elk isn’t much more than a glorified storage container as you move faster on foot than you do while riding on its back.
In keeping with a bit of realism, Ada can equip a few pieces of armor that she picks out of chests or randomly off an enemy’s corpse if they drop them, five potions, one light handed and one heavy handed weapon. Keeping only one slot as a backup, there’s not much else that you’ll be carrying but what was amazing to see with this approach is that you actually see each piece detailed on Ada. The five potions hang off her belt and clink as you move around. The parts of armor all blend together if they match or look really mismatched otherwise and the weapons either hang from her hip or off of her back. It’s really all she can carry so with the help her the elk, you can store a fair amount of equipment or extra potions.
Where this goes sideways is that things have to be done as a one by one case. You can’t mass move things over. You can only select and move one thing at a time so unless your swapping things out, it’s a grind to get what you want done. A little later down the road you’ll find out that you can store things in wells that can be found around the world and the reason you may want to do this is that these wells are all connected and will often show up in some places that your elk may not follow. While it’s not the end of the world, it’s a pain in the ass to manage these items versus your limited inventory when you go over to the blacksmith who runs their dialog EVERY SINGLE TIME asking you if you want to use their service, and if you do, don’t rush them as things take time.
And this is perhaps one of my biggest issues with Decay of Logos. The combat system isn’t exactly the most graceful and the bosses are all designed to hit you regardless of your approach. So what happens when they hit you? You obviously lose health but your equipment also gets damaged. If it gets too damaged, it breaks. If it’s not a unique item like some of the weapons you’ll pick up, it’s gone forever. So you’ll want to get them repaired. But because of the mass of dialog for every time you want to get something repairs and the limited inventory space and management of it. It becomes a massive chore for every time you want to get even just a few things repaired which leads into the next issue. How damned far you need to travel to get it done.
Decay of Logos isn’t an open world. It tries to be a bit of a metroidvania in its soulsborne-ness but even there it falls short. Areas are big. You have no map. Everything tends to look the same at first. And you have to fight your way through a ton of enemies to get anywhere. If you die, you respawn at the last checkpoint that you prayed or rested at. Sometimes these checkpoints are far and it can take minutes to get back to where you were as things are pretty slow going as Ada isn’t the tallest and the elk isn’t the fastest. So moving into a new area further away just seems like a pain because you know you’ll have to run all the way back to get things repaired as the item I found to let me teleport back? It broke on use so there went my one time pass to travel quickly.
With regards to enemies, and fighting, and needing repairs and dying, there are not any overt penalties until you really look at your stats. The longer you fight, the more times you need to resurrect, all of your stats will start to take a hit making you physically weaker, draining your stamina and overall making life a lot more miserable as things don’t die as fast and it takes longer to run places. So you need to rest. The issue with resting is that rest locations are few and far between compared to praying checkpoints so often times you’ll want to avoid enemies, but if you do, you don’t get new gear and experience to level up which helps you better take them on and survive boss fights entirely designed to kill you. And fast.
So between the horrible inventory system, things being super far and there being no real way in which to go faster, the combat system being rather mundane as you swing or dodge, and the degradation of your stats with often no way of resting up? The small neat features like the potions on the belt and having a walking storage closet come up very short from making a difference. There are a lot of good ideas that are present, it’s just that none of them actually mesh and the overall feels clunky and unrefined. If Ada could move faster, if you could have the elk / well / blacksmith able to transfer between instead of manually having to do each piece separately, it would have been much better. Instead that’s a chore and honestly exploring and figuring out where to go next in these larger areas is just as much as a chore.