Sins For The Father
Is it fate that Lucius II: The Prophecy came my way? Maybe it was just luck of the draw. Or maybe, the Devil is in the midst of those over at Shiver Games and they know that I liked the concept of the original Lucius, but not so much the execution. When Lucius II came my way, I didn't know if this was a punishment from Hell or perhaps a gift. Promising much more freedom in kills, a sandbox of murder in the name of Lucifer certainly sounded tempting. If you are easily offended, turn back now. For the rest of you, come with me on my experience with this guilty pleasure.
The Life And Times Of Little Lucius
Lucius II begins immediately after the first game, Lucius being the only surviving member of his family which culminated in an inferno that burned down Dante Manor and killed his last living relative, Senator Charles Wagner. Lead to believe that Charles was behind the grisly murders at the manor, Lucius' origins remained hidden from everyone except the detective who had been investigating the crimes. But then, with the answers all laid out in front of him, he was coerced by the devil himself to aid Lucius on his rise to power. Apparently all Lucifer had to do to convince the detective was say that he was Catholic as well, and that his son Lucius' role was just the darker side of God's divine plan. With Lucius in the mental ward of a hospital, the game begins with Lucius plotting and killing his way out and carving his path of evil through each floor of the hospital and later on in a small town.
The story of the original game was the strongest point, while the gameplay was the weakest. This time around, things have flipped and from a gameplay perspective this is much better. It's a shame that the story suffered in the process, but perhaps the dark and slightly more comedic approach was a better image for the game rather than just an outright son of evil simulator. Whatever the reason, the story has been left now as a brief outline of what you will be doing in each level rather than an outside perspective on the murders Lucius commits. Though I will say this, I loved the hand drawn approach to the cutscenes this time around. Simplistic though they are, there is something oddly appealing about them in a way that felt like glances at a graphic novel to pass the time between levels.
Death Is A Puzzle
In the original Lucius, the open layout of the game was ultimately squandered as each victim had a specific way to be killed and it could not be deviated from. What this led to was a decent one time experience, that left me shaking my head at all the potential carnage that could've been unleashed that was ultimately wasted. It would appear the folks at Shiver felt the same, because Lucius II feels like what it should've been in the first place. The game claims over 100 potential victims, and while I didn't take the time to count all the NPCs I encountered there were a considerable amount of meat bags just waiting to meet an unfortunate end. For all the potential victims, there are equal if not more potential ways to do the job as well.
Though the first two levels did feel rather limited in who I could kill and how, the brutal sandbox of a game opens up from the third level and onward to the end. If you push straight through the game and only do the objectives, it'd probably be a very short experience. But if you're like me, and you take advantage of the encouragement to use Lucius for an unholy rampage, you'll get more out of it. My playthrough took just over 7 hours, killing most of the NPCs in the process. Ways to kill people range from the mundane such as poisoning their food, to much more exciting and theatrical like firing an oxygen tank into a room of crowded people, and in the ensuing chaos cause a ceiling fan to break and spin out of control violently as it careens into people at a speed high enough to dismember appendages from their bodies. It felt like I was playing a game adaptation of a crossover between The Omen and Final Destination.
Lots of potential victims and ways to kill them, interesting levels, quite a few references to horror and suspense movies, enjoyable art style for the cutscenes.
Story has taken a less serious bare bones turn, several minor technical issues, seriously bad AI.