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Loki: Heroes of Mythology

Score: 25%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: Cyanide Studio
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1* (See Gameplay)
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Loki: Heroes of Mythology has an angled, yet almost top-down view on a 3D world. The environments do have some variation in height, but not in a very complicated manner. Some areas will require you to work your way around a raised area to get to the part you can get up, while others are raised such that you can't walk up them at all.

Loki: Heroes of Mythology gives you a choice of four types of characters to use as your avatar: a female Greek Fighter, a female Aztec Shaman, a male Egyptian Sorcerer or a male Norse warrior. Each character has their own look and their own lead-in stories, bringing all of the heroes to the current crisis. I will say that, although I think that Lara Croft's outfits are cool and perfectly fine, I found the female Aztec Shaman's outfit to be a bit over the top.

The music is pretty good, providing some cinematic feeling to Loki. The sound effects are good enough to let you know what's going on, but nothing to write home about.

What amazed me about Loki's graphics, however, was how taxing it was on my PC, without really looking very phenomenal. The reflections on the characters in the Character Selection Screen was really cool, but misplaced; the wooden side of a shield probably shouldn't be nearly as reflective as the shiny metal side, for example. Then, when in-game, I found that I had to scale back a lot of the graphics features to avoid watching a slide-show and, even then, there would be culling issues that caused things to be drawn strangely, when the game couldn't figure out exactly what it wanted to show. This is probably at least partially due to a feature that lets you see through trees and items in the environment that would occlude your view of your avatar, but it was quite aggravating.


Loki: Heroes of Mythology is an interesting game, from a gameplay point of view. You play the part of a specialized adventuring warrior who must fight his/her way through a series of quests and you get to view the action from a third person view at a variable distance. Although I somehow managed to miss Diablo, from what I understand, the control scheme in Loki is similar to that of Diablo. Instead of using some keys to move around the world, the controls in Loki are all point-and-click and context sensitive. This takes quite a bit of getting used to, as the commonly used "WASD" key configuration only changes your camera around. There were two main problems that I had with this point-and-click system: limitations of the screen size and context accuracy. When trying to move around the areas, I found that clicking some spot in the direction I wanted my character to go would start him on his way, but I would have to keep clicking to get him to keep advancing in that direction. Even with the camera zoomed out as far as I could zoom it, it seemed like the distance away from my character that I could click was a limiting factor; with smaller resolutions, this seemed worse. The second problem I had was an accuracy issue. When I had to attack multiple enemies and was moving around during a fight, I found that I would often overshoot an enemy in the heat of battle or start running off in some unexpected direction when my cursor failed to change to the attack option before I clicked on it. So, instead of attacking, I would run that direction. If this had only happened once or twice, I wouldn't have mentioned it. It's more than a minor aggravation, but can be minimized with practice.

Some items in the game are restricted to being used by certain types of characters and may also be restricted to characters of a certain level. It's always good to pick up items you encounter, however, as you can sell them when you're in a town and use the money to purchase things that you can use. Choosing your characters "class" will also determine various things about your character's abilities, and will affect the first part of the story. You may want to play the game as the different character classes to determine which one you prefer.

*Now, I would like to dispel a myth. As far as I can see, there is no real way to play Loki: Heroes of Mythology as a multiplayer game. There are multiplayer modes built into the game: Co-op, Duel, Battle and Challenge, but their "GameCenter" online gaming network appears to be completely busted. I found that I was unable to log in to the site and create a character for online play, and out of the 12 servers supposedly capable of handling 100 players each, for a grand total of 1200 possible players, I only saw three players online at any given time. That's quite underwhelming. Now, if you were to convince a few friends to also buy Loki, you could try to play over a LAN, but the most likely result is that you will lose all of your friends. I can't see recommending this game to friends to try the multiplayer aspect.


Loki: Heroes of Mythology is a bit hard to describe when it comes to difficulty. I found that it was relatively easy to stay alive, as long as I didn't fight a huge mob all at once. For one thing, if you stop fighting (and are no longer being hit) for about three seconds, you will start to regain health. The rate of your health increase depends on different factors, but it's fairly fast, by default. I find that my health bar would completely refill in a matter of seconds and I'd be ready for battle again. Consequently, I began moving just close enough to a group of enemies (using my radar) to cause a few of them to come towards me to attack, and then I would move back a bit, to make sure that I didn't accidentally get closer and attract any of their friends. After doing this, it was relatively simple to slay the enemies I'd "pulled," heal up completely and then repeat the process.

Occasionally, however, you misjudge things. On these occasions, when my valiant avatar crumpled under the might of copious oppressors... the level restarts. There is no real penalty, it seems, for dying. I don't see a limit to available lives, or anything. Additionally, my progress is maintained; anything I had just killed stayed that way. This makes for a more forgiving gameplay experience, which may be preferred by novice gamers, but more experienced gamers may find that Loki: Heroes of Mythology is not challenging enough.

Game Mechanics:

Truthfully, the part of Loki: Heroes of Mythology that gave me the most difficulty was the control scheme. Loki: Heroes of Mythology uses a context sensitive point-and-click based interface, where you simply point at an object and the appropriate available action is indicated by the cursor. If you hover over an enemy, the cursor becomes a sword, indicating you can attack them. If you hover over a blacksmith, you can buy or sell things. If you hover over a key person, you can talk with them. However, if you're just clicking somewhere on the environment, the default action is that you are going to walk there. I found that when I was fighting enemies, if I clicked on them too soon, the cursor would not have changed to the attack option and instead of attacking, my avatar would simply go to where I had clicked. Since I was always fighting more than one enemy, this usually meant that running towards one enemy meant I was running away from others. This got aggravating after a while. I worked around the issue by being more focused and deliberate about my attacks, but this made it feel even less like an adventure game and more like a real-time strategy game. The fact is, this game is implemented almost as if you're playing a real time strategy, but you only have one resource: your character. This makes for a strange sort of gameplay. Not horrible, just a bit clunky and awkward. I think I would have enjoyed this game much more if I could have zoomed out more (like you would be able to in an RTS game) or if the controls had been keyboard based, allowing me to use keys to control my avatar's motion.

All-in-all, I just don't "get" Loki: Heroes of Mythology. The control scheme seems to be a strange selection for this sort of a game, and the "GameCenter" online gaming application is not merely unintuitive, but is, apparently, broken. There aren't a lot of people out there playing the game (I saw three, consistently. The same ones, as far as I could tell) and it appears that almost half of the players in the online ranking are only first level. This indicates to me that a large number of the players who did actually play Loki online gave up before advancing past their first level. I can't really recommend this game to anyone. If you're not into online play and you're interested in game development and the idea of the strange mix of RTS controls (with a single unit) and an RPG game have you interested, then be my guest and give it a go. For the rest of you who are simply looking for a cool RPG game - especially if you're looking for online gameplay - move along... there's nothing to see.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows XP/Vista 32/64-bit, 2GHz Pentium 4 / Athlon XP 2000+, 512 MB, 7 GB free HD space, 64 MB DirectX 9 Compatible (GeForce 4 Ti / Radeon 9000), DirectX 9 Compatible sound card, DirectX 9.0c or Higher, 2x or Higher DVD-ROM.

For Online Play, also: LAN/Broadband Internet and 1 GB RAM


Test System:

Sony VAIO VGC-R820G:
Intel Pentium 4E, 3.2 GHz (Intel Grantsdale i915), 1 GB RAM, AMI BIOS, Realtek HD Audio, Radeon X300 Series (128 MB), 200 GB 7200 RPM, Serial-ATA/150 Maxtor HD, DVD-ROM, Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-108, Sony SDM-HS73 Monitor, Floppy Disk Drive, Cable Modem.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Beautiful Katamari Windows Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated