Rune II Decapitation Edition Review
Rune II is a Viking third person adventure game, where your goal as the chosen warrior is to save Midgard by fighting all sorts of creatures, beasts and warriors to gain strength and resources needed to whoop Loki ass. Other than that, it's basically not much more than a hyped disappointment and a great example why old gems should be left untouched and moved on from.
The first instalment of the series (yeah, you guessed it - Rune) was released back in 2001 and was not continued for 19 years. Initially it was picked up by the original developers, but even they decided to leave the project. After it was picked up once more by the Studio 369 and published by Ragnarok Game, LLC, on paper it sounded like nothing else than an awesome third person RPG game, which we're kinda short of lately. Unfortunately it turns out to be a pretty mixed, flat bag of great ideas, bad mechanics, amazing mythological settings and plain story telling.
Getting onto facts now, let me start with what you'll be greeted with. You get in, customize your own character, and get resurrected as a fallen warrior from old Norse times by Heimdall himself, so you can gear up and defeat Loki. Main plot is told in a lousy way as a background narration and is empty enough to not pay attention to it most of the time and still miss nothing. There are other characters you can interact and talk with, but they're put completely on a side by the game that clearly wants you to focus only on pushing forward.
Even thought the game focuses highly on combat itself, throwing enemies your way every few steps you take, I can't wrap my head around how inconsistent and weird it feels with the hit detection or dodging and parrying mechanics being so badly done. Since we're talking about an RPG game, it would be very surprising to not have attributes, levels and skill points systems. You will use them to improve skills and strengths of your character, but you will also direct your backstory to one of the paths, leaning towards certain God's affections. It will affect the way you handle your character interestingly enough to allow 2nd play through to be still somehow different. Although that is a pretty refreshing positive note about the game, almost all other parts of it are simply boring enough to make finding rarer weapons more fun than actually using them for anything.
One of the bigger cons is definitely optimization of the game and the graphics themselves. I might not have the Iron Man's suit for PC, but I'm easily running newer games on highest settings and let me tell you - I rarely see so many floating trees, leaky stones and stuttering deer running around assisted by so many FPS drops, especially on medium settings. The whole hue of the game is way too grey and bland for my taste, even on highest settings, kind of like GTA IV was without mods.
As far the sound goes, it's not too bad to be honest. There's some ambient sounds filling the void in between the action, sounds you make are quite on point. But even here there is something that standing out negatively from the rest, which is voice acting and dialogues. Both the voice and the lines of side characters are of very low quality and only to make it worse, they can't be skipped. The same goes for main characters, only with slightly better voice quality and a bit more depth to the lines.
To summarize it honestly, the only moment when I considered a job well done was reading the description of the game. Right after I ran it and played through a chunk of it, it did nothing but disappoint me more and more. I had so much potential and could be so much more, especially with the legacy of the original game on it's back. Seeing how others feel about the game, I don't think I'm the only one disappointed, and I guess we can at least admire the will of Studio 369 to pick up the unfinished project left in dust in hopes of creating something worthy. I don't think they succeeded, but they haven't really failed either, it wouldn't be that much of a bad game if it would be an independent title.
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