Ilum (Complete Archive)

This is a complete playlist of every time kuoushi played Ilum, but available in a playlist format. Enjoy just letting the whole series run without having to click anything! Hours of kuoushi, direct to your brain.

Another reviewer said it best when they said Ilum is a hard sell. I recommend it as a thing to look at and walk around in for a weird sense of open world with various little oddities that can be janky but fun, but not so much as a game for everyone.

First, let’s talk about the graphics since that will be the first thing that may be a dealbreaker for some people. If you don’t like what you see in the trailer, the game itself in motion doesn’t really change much from that. Sure, you get used to it, but they’re just not very good unfortunately. Oh, and the graphics can look even worse depending on the “weather” you choose, which basically puts a filter on the entire world. What’s that? You just won’t use weather? Well, unfortunately, weather is tied to your attack power so you may not really have much choice.

If you can look past the graphics, then the game has a pretty neat open world version of ancient Babylon, apparently based on archaeological finds and all sorts of cool things like that. Honestly, that’s neat. The open world itself is, however, extremely basic. It seems like people tend to do one thing day or night. If they do move around, then they only walk to their bed to sleep, then back to the same thing they were doing before. Also, once you leave the initial city and go to the others, they start to feel more and more devoid of life.

Speaking of going to the other cities, I can only assume that the distance between them is historically accurate. There’s no gameplay reason for them to be so far apart, because it’s going to take you a decent amount of travel time to get from one to the next. Surely, there’s stuff to see while you’re traveling between the cities? No. It’s an empty desert. Sometimes there are hills.

And on that note, traversing the map in a decent amount of time practically requires that you use some movement tech otherwise riding your camel will take forever (or, even worse, you decided to walk). I’m going to do you a favor and break down the fastest way to travel here. Turn on your faith powers, attack three times to leap into the air, hold the direction you want to go and hit space to dive in the air, then block. Why block? Because if you don’t, you’re going to take fall damage. Then, repeat this until you get to your location. It’s the fastest way to travel in game and the only way you’ll get across those long distances with any sanity left. Oh, and the movement itself is extremely clunky so be prepared to feel like you’re fighting the controls.

As far as general systems go like, say, saving or what have you? Take heed: you have to complete a quest or cross a load barrier to save. There are no arbitrary saves at any given point. The game is also decently unoptimized, though I did manage to at least play at a cool 40fps on average with my Geforce 1070/Ryzen 1700 combo. Your mileage may vary on that one depending on your specs. Oh, and when you load in, make sure you turn on your powers and start blocking. You’ll see what I mean.

The audio is… okay? You kind of tune it out after a while though. There’s only one real set of spoken dialog by the dev trying their best to pronounce Akkadian which is, by all accounts, a dead language. You’ll hear the same thing get said a lot. The music is also the same set of drums, or like one other song. Oh, and you’ll probably want to just punch every single fire and send it into the sky to turn off the sound. It’s louder than almost everything else in the game. Your ears will thank me.

Now, you may be thinking all the above is fine, and you’re ready to stop reading this review and get down to destroying Babylon. Let me tell you what you’ll be doing for the basic gameplay loop. Quests. There are two quest arenas, and 100 quests that you have to complete to beat the game (despite what the manual says). There are maybe 5 different varieties of quest, and a lot of repeats. The guy who sends you to the quests teleports away into the sky to the next area after each one, and you have to destroy 10 buildings to unlock the next quest each time. There’s your gameplay loop.

  1. Destroy 10 buildings.
  2. Find quest guy.
  3. Complete quest.

Repeat 100 times until you beat the game. At my fastest point, I was doing approximately 10 quests an hour.

If all the above doesn’t deter you, then by all means, get Ilum. It’s an ambitious game and worthy of your attention for simply being the only thing like it out there. Just don’t go in expecting the actual gameplay to live up to that ambition.

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