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Wolcen Lords of Mayhem 1

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem Disappoints on Console

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First released on PC in 2020, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is finally available on consoles.

As fans of action RPGs similar in style to Diablo, we should be ecstatic. But our time with Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem so far has been disappointing. For a start, despite messaging around the game suggesting there’s a PS5 version, there isn’t. You basically play the PS4 version on PS5, with better performance and visuals. It admittedly does look pretty nice, but you just can’t beat a native PS5 port, complete with short loading times and DualSense support.

But even beyond that, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem on console fails to impress. Like any game of this type, there’s a lot of menu work to be done. You’ll be going into a menu to distribute your stat points when levelling up, for example, and when perusing your inventory, seeing which items are worth equipping and which are worth selling. But while Blizzard put thought into the matter when porting Diablo 2 and 3 to consoles, the same can’t be said here.

Basically, the user interface in Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is atrocious. Open up the menu, and doing something as simple as equipping an item can be as frustrating as can be. To navigate and use all the menus on offer here, you end up needing to use the touch pad, the triggers, the shoulder buttons, the d-pad and your analogue sticks, with your commands frequently getting in the way of each other or doing something you don’t want to do. It’s just so convoluted and unwelcoming.

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Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem also has an irritating habit of bringing up a box in the middle of the screen, presenting you with two or more options, but then not letting you select them with the analogue stick. Instead, you have to look for the button prompts at the bottom of the screen. You get used to it eventually, but the first time we tried to access our stash, for example, had us stumped. You need to buy tabs for it, you see, but we couldn’t navigate to the buy button. Then we realised: you couldn’t interact with the buy button.

Related: The Best Games Like Diablo on PS4

As already stated, you can perhaps get over these issues with time, but there’s another issue with Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem that you’ll never come to terms with: ambiguity around saving. Coming across a new warp point in a safe area during the middle of a lengthy quest, you might assume, like us, that your progress would be saved. Better think again. It’s pretty much impossible to know when your progress has been saved in this game. And so every time you play, it feels like a lottery. Will you be able to resume from where you left off, or will you have lost some progress? You simply never know.

It’s a shame, because at the core of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem lies what seems to be a good game. There’s some questionable voice acting, sure. And the combat lacks a bit of impact. But there are some intriguing systems here that suggest the game could have a lot of depth. Hell, you’re even free to completely define your character: while you choose a class at the outset, it only determines your starting equipment. After that, you can be anything you wish. But unless Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem receives a patch on console to sort out many of its issues, we doubt many players are going to sink the time into it that they would another game in the genre.

Ultimately, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem hasn’t been ported to consoles well at all. It’s simply too unpolished, and not enough thought has been put into what would make this feel at home on console. The lack of a native PS5 version is a missed opportunity, too, as it’s a genre that’s underserved on the console right now. The final nail in the coffin is timing: with Diablo 4 just on the horizon, which seems amazing judging by the time we’ve spent with it during its open beta, by the time Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is fixed, it might simply be too late.

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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