Lucah: Born of a Dream (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 27.08.2019

Review for Lucah: Born of a Dream on PC

Lucah: Born of a Dream was an indie game in early access that Cubed3 previously previewed over two years ago, and it has since been released on Steam and Switch, achieving a fairly decent success. The title mixes fast combat, with a very vague story that hints at dark subjects such as suicide and depression. It radiates 'indie style,' and at first glance seems great, but is there more to the story than is first seen?

Lucah: Born of a Dream is an example of a small indie game that was successfully funded. Previously checked out by this reviewer, seeing it come to fruition was a great moment. This blends fast combat, a dark story, and an interesting RPG system. Unfortunately, despite the long wait, and the first strong showing, this is ultimately a tough recommendation.

Lucah follows a character in an unknown world as he explores rooms, fights monsters, gets experience, and moves on. The art style is of course the first thing people notice about the game. The bright colours and sketch-style is interesting, and could have been highly successful. The reason it fails though is that this simplistic style ultimately lacks the necessary details, ultimately leaving players confused as to what they are seeing. All too often the enemies, or short story sections, play out like bad Rorschach blot test's, where depending on what you think you see in the jumble of lines determines what sort of psychiatric disorder the player might be suffering from.

Screenshot for Lucah: Born of a Dream on PC

Combat starts off fairly fun, it is fast, with dodging and slashing. Balancing stamina drain with each attack, the player has to learn the patterns, and deliver combos with varying weak and strong attacks. As the game progresses the player gets different types of attack, such as long range and weak, or short range and fast. It is interesting at first, but given there are so many variations that do not amount to that different, most will simply slap on the strongest one and largely call it good.

The one interesting part of this is that there is a type of skill system that can be equipped by using limited number of points. These are things like giving an HP drain to attacks, slowing enemy attacks, giving one last hit after fatal damage. This was fun trying different combos, and one of the highlights of the system. Some are vastly better than others, but at least it gives the option of different builds. As the player bashes through enemies, they get experience which is then spent on level ups. Each level the player can pick one and only one stat to level up. What this means is that if one never picks hit points, they are going to be going into the final boss with the same life they started the adventure with. It makes level ups high stakes in theory, but in practice simply levelling up attack over and over proved fine.

Screenshot for Lucah: Born of a Dream on PC

Lucah: Born of a Dream is a type of game that hints at some sort of hidden greatness of a story. Is the character dead? An angel? Is this just some angsty teen's dream? Who knows… the player definitely won't - and that is a major problem. A game does not need a story to be good. However, when there are elements of very dark themes, like rape, suicide and so on, to merely have one or two vague lines about it is ultimately inexcusable. Consider that a play-through takes somewhere around 10 hours; 10 hours of a title making allusions of murder, regret, and so on, but in such absolutely vague and never-mentioned-again story sections. After a while the story becomes like the art style - a sort of 'write you own adventure' where you can make up whatever you want.

After beating it, plot is revealed in subsequent replays. This is problematic for a few reasons. First, the game itself becomes very grindy, and a replay offers nothing new. No new side paths, no new avenues to explore, just the same thing. To now reveal plot points when there was not a plot in the first place is a very bad idea. As an example, it is one thing to have the in-game story about you and your rival have to fight to the death, and then in the replay perhaps have a side story about a shared childhood that makes the rivalry more bitter; but it is an altogether different thing when you are your rival didn't have any story together in the first place and now its shoved at you.

Screenshot for Lucah: Born of a Dream on PC

To expand on this point, there is ultimately nothing wrong with more story being revealed after a game is beaten. The problem, in this title's case, is that there is simply nearly zero story for the first play-through. So much happens just for the sake of it seeming deep, without any of it mattering. The character jumps off a cliff, gets hit by a bus, gets crucified, but despite how intense all these sound, there is nothing to this. This merely shows all that happen, then literally continues on as if the previous two-second scene didn't happen. Not having the vaguest idea of what is happening is okay for maybe an hour or two max, but to be able to beat the game and still not know anything is just bad storytelling.

Many, many games handle additional story post-game well in contrast. Consider for example the Zero Escape series that the massive story is hidden behind multiple play-throughs, but even a single play is a highly engaging story that leaves much curiosity into what is happening. In Lucah's case, beating it and realizing there is almost no story so far is the height of aggravation. When they finally start at least hinting at the story ten hours later the obvious question is 'why not just do this from the beginning?' and honestly this might have been much better served.

Screenshot for Lucah: Born of a Dream on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Lucah: Born of a Dream is the type of game that starts off great, but the more someone plays, the more they realize it isn't really so. Combat ultimately is repetitive, the graphics are bad enough that important scenes are lost, and the largest problem is that the 'deep' story is so vague that this becomes an annoyance every time some dark concept is dropped on the player only to never be seen again. To allow a player to finish a sizable play-through and have zero idea on the story is unforgivable.

Developer

melessthanthree

Publisher

melessthanthree

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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