by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
To Be A Viking!
The sharpening of axes, the flurry of war horns, glory in life and death! Lets be honest, it's really hard to say no to games based revolving around vikings. Their history, coupled with legend and mythology make them an alluring facet to explore in the gaming world.
Which means when Kyn dropped into my lap, I was more excited than usual. At first glance, it had me curious. I didn't want to get ahead of myself, but I was wondering if this would perhaps prove to be the same kind of work of art as Divinity: Original Sin. While it doesn't come close, one should not write Kyn off so quickly - it may just be right up your alley.
Kyn, Where Legends Are Born
The lands of Kyn are one part Norse paradise mixed with two parts standard RPG chaos. The game begins with protagonists Bram and Alrik just completing their rite of passage to become the warriors they'd always dreamed of being. Though this is but a single step in their journey, one that barely has a calm before the storm. They are thrown into the heart of chaos that threatens several walks of life in the land.
Story wise, Kyn delivers a pretty standard affair. It didn't exactly wow me, but it wasn't bad by any means; I just felt like the story was more of a bridge from one moment of combat to the next. It made it a little difficult to feel really invested in the main plot, the primary missions or the numerous side quests I ventured through. I was just going through the motions waiting for the next fight; and there were plenty to be had.
If a story is considered to be the meat of an RPG, then you may find that the portion served is lacking. Where as combat is the side of warm bread, you might yet find your fill of this meal. Combat is nearly constant when you are out in the field, sometimes it even feels like you've only walked a few feet before getting attacked. There is a vast quantity of carnage and plenty of thrill to the battles but the quality may not be up to everyone's standard. If you're looking for a thought provoking showdown each and every encounter, you're going to be disappointed. If you want fast paced and slightly-mindless fun that thrives on the philosophy of “the more bodies thrown at you the merrier”, then you're going to like it, a lot.
The frantic combat is simplistic. More often than not it is possible to survive both normal enemies and boss encounters relying mostly on a combo of melee and ranged auto-attacks with the occasional heal action thrown into the mix to keep the party alive.
Having played RPGs with a wide range of combat complexities, that kind of combat is not really a negative for me. If you've read my review of The Red Solstice, you'll recall my praise of the Tactical Mode. Kyn has something very similar to this, allowing the player to slow down the combat for a chance to gather themselves. It is well executed but it doesn't necessarily feel like it's needed – the game rarely becomes so difficult that it requires slowing down. On rare occasions, you may be pulling aggro from two sides or dealing with a particulary nasty boss. Other than those, I hardly touched it.
There's more to the game than just combat though; when you encounter a puzzle they're usually either entertaining or frustrating, almost always challenging. It's also a great way to break up to stream of combat, and give your brain a bit of an exercise. Whether or not this remains true on future playthroughs is really dependent on your memory, considering the puzzles don't exactly change. When you've done a certain puzzle, it's going to be the same puzzle next time around. Between the puzzles and combat, there's plenty of loot to go around too.
Yet as a package, I wouldn't say that Kyn has dropped my jaw in amazement, but it hasn't made annoyed me or disappointed me either. What Kyn is, is a drop in the bucket of decent RPGs that seem to flow like a river, constantly overshadowed by the best.
If you have some time to kill and are lookigng for some good old fashioned hack & slash action, you could do worse than Kyn. Otherwise, your time might be better spent with a more fulfilling game.
Challenging puzzles, fun but simplistic combat, plenty of loot
Story feels very dry, combat is almost too easy at times, little need for the ability to slow down the combat speed