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Duncan Geere

Nov 13, 2012

Lucius

I am Lucius, six-year-old son of Lucifer. I can shatter objects with telekinesis, control people's minds, erase memories and even set things on fire with the power of thought alone, but right now, I'm running around a house carrying a single dirty sock.

I'm supposed to be killing someone, but to draw attention away from my suspicious behaviour, I'm doing some chores around the house for my mum. One of those chores involves collecting dirty socks and underwear from various people's rooms and taking them to the laundry room, and it takes forever because I can't carry more than one sock at a time. There is something very wrong here.

Finnish devs Shiver Games were evidently aiming for something akin to Hitman. Lucius is a third-person horror game where you have to slaughter innocents using whatever tools are at hand and make it look like an accident. It's an attractive enough concept, but the execution is awkward and full of narrative fudge. Which isn't the good kind of fudge.

For starters, 'you're evil' is the only motivation you're initially given for killing these people. The first scene of the game requires you to lock a maid in a walk-in freezer, who you hear cry and pound on the door as you walk away, bemused as to what she did to deserve this. Shortly afterward, you set off a gas explosion in a man's face, because you 'hate it when he smokes'. The reasons why you're killing these people do become clearer later on, but at first you're simply asked to take it on trust that they have to die.

Lucius review
But we always use champagne to unblock the toilet.

Don't think that Lucius is a sandbox game, either. It might have the appearance of one, but there's rarely more than one way to achieve your objectives, making this more like a hidden object game than anything else. You'll spend most of your time pacing around the house, trying to find an object from vague clues, which you'll then use with another object to kill someone. It's the worst bits of point-and-click adventures, in a third-person interface.

Most annoyingly of all, there's no save function. It's very easy to be spotted while carrying out your nefarious deeds – you can trigger detection simply by holding a book of matches in sight of someone – and once that happens you lose your entire inventory and have to start each level again from scratch. This happened to me twice while trying to murder a butcher, both times forcing me to repeat the dirty laundry run. Lucius punishes, but doesn't reward.

Add that to janky animation, hammy characters (the game's detective is called 'McGuffin', I'm not making this up), trite dialogue and a camera that's more adversarial than any of the game's puzzles, and you're probably better off avoiding Lucius. Which is a shame, because done right, this could have been fantastic. Instead, it's a bit of a waste of time.

Lucius

A promising enough idea, Lucius shoots for the depths of hell – but poor execution lands it merely six feet under.

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