Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem Review – One Heck of an ARPG

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem
Wolcen Game Studio

Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo 2 is the most oft-imitated game in its class. It’s such a monumental gaming experience that it still has a very vibrant player base—even after two decades. After all, it is the title that single-handedly mainlined the whole Action-Role-Playing Game (ARPG) genre.

There have been many games that have attempted to replicate the Diablo 2 phenomenon, including Path of Exile, Titan Quest and its spiritual successor, Grim Dawn, and many others. But to many, none of these titles quite hit the mark. Even 2012’s Diablo 3 was viewed as rather lackluster when compared to its predecessor.

Wolcen Game Studio’s ARPG title, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, has been on my gaming radar for quite some time. It has gone through the usual trials and tribulations that smaller game studios typically go through, and has undergone many changes throughout both its Alpha and Beta phases. Also, like many non-triple A titles, it’s been in development for a number of years. Fortunately, the game is finally looking at a proper release date sometime in January of 2020.

The current build of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem includes the game’s entire first act and the ability for players to level up their characters up to level 20. There are three main character archetypes to choose from; melee, magic, or ranged. There’s also been some endgame content added for those who have completed Act I.

After picking your avatar, you spawn into the beginning of the main campaign. In Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, you play as one of several people who was saved by Grand Inquisitor Heimlock and are then enlisted into the Republican Army. A major threat looms on the horizon—the Brotherhood of Dawn—and it’s up to you and your small band of heroes to find out what’s behind them.

Right away, the controls of the game felt pretty intuitive and other ARPG vets should also feel right at home with them as well. You’ll utilize your mouse buttons for attacking and using spells and other abilities. One big difference I noticed right away is that every character in-game can do spiffy combat rolls. There’s a certain amount of stamina charges that you are allowed to use, but they recharge relatively quickly so they can usually get you out of tight spots unless you’re getting swarmed by mobs.

Character progression is also pretty straight forward; once you gain enough experience, you get to allocate a number of attribute and skill points that you can utilize to upgrade your character’s skills. The skill tree in Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is pretty similar to the one used in Path of Exile, so those who have played that title will have no problem in adjusting. There are no set restrictions, so you are free to build out your character however you please.

I must say that something that really makes Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem really makes it stand out is its graphics. This has to definitely be the best looking hack n’ slash-type game on the market. Built on the uber-powerful CryEngine, everything in the game looks absolutely jaw-dropping. From the gorgeous and highly varied environs to the breathtaking weapon and spell effects—this game is definitely something you’ll be proud to show off to your friends while playing it on your gaming PC or gaming laptop.

In all, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is a solid example of an ARPG game that scratches that old Diablo 2 itch, while also offering its own original take on the well-established genre. Personally, I’m really looking forward to the game’s final launch later this month.


SCORE: 85%

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem has some pretty good looking graphics that make its ARPG gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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