Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2: Horribly Bad – PC Review
I’m a big fan of horror and pretty much anything related to the various mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft. He tends to conjure up some amazing creatures and stories, and I’ve enjoyed his works through a multitude of different mediums, including books, movies, and games. When I first heard of Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2, a cooperative action role playing game with rogue-like elements that screams Lovecraft, I knew this was the game for me. Unfortunately, even with numerous delays and the multiplayer mechanic canceled without notice, Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2 is a mess of a game that fails to live up to anything. The game is riddled with so many technical bugs, questionable design choices and sloppy mechanics that Lovecraft himself would be ashamed such a game was created in his name.
“Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2 was delayed by nearly an entire year, with a very pivotal feature removed, and yet still remains an unsatisfying product.”
Let’s start off with a bit of background on this game. Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2 is a continuation of the first game which came out back in 2019 that garnered very positive reviews. It’s a shame that the development of the sequel was such a disaster given the success of the original. Untold Stories 2 was revealed back in August 2021 with an October 2021 Early Access release date and promised co-op of up to four players.
The game was then delayed to May 2022 and then to the now release date of September 2022. The developers never bothered to announce the cancellation of the multiplayer feature, but instead slyly removed the descriptions and tags from the Steam page. In short, the game was delayed by nearly an entire year, with a very pivotal feature removed, and yet still remains an unsatisfying product. I can’t even fathom how the game would have played if it had been released way back in October.
“Due to a lack of a tutorial or an intuitive in-game UI, I had to resort to the help page multiple times in order to figure out basic things.”
Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2 markets itself as an action role-playing game with rogue-like elements, but does nothing to introduce the player to its systems. Due to a lack of a tutorial or an intuitive in-game UI, I had to resort to the help page multiple times in order to figure out how to open the map or check my inventory. Drawers and chests are not marked as interactive and I have no idea what the items I picked up do. Sanity is an important theme in Lovecraft’s works but that mechanic is never explained either. Sometimes I lost sanity and sometimes I restored it, yet it made no difference in my gameplay. The thousands of coins that I diligently gathered also surmounted to nothing as random shop owners sold items that cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There are a total of six characters to play as but you only have access to three at the beginning: the detective, the professor, and the witch. These characters make a return from the first game, but this time without a name and a backstory. Detective John Murphy is now some generic white guy in a fedora and Dr. Clawstone is now some bald dude in a lab coat. The game gives you no information on unlocking or discovering the other characters. To top it all off, there is an absolute absence of voice acting whatsoever in Untold Stories 2, even though the first game had some in a few scenes.
“Movement just feels sluggish and clunky, with weapons and skills not making a meaningful impact.”
The main crux of any action roguelike game is the combat, and it’s no surprise that Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2 falls behind in that regard too. Each character has a different set of skills, such as the detective wielding a double barrel shotgun and having the ability to dodge roll or the witch wielding a magical skull and having the ability to zip long distances across the map. You move extremely slow in this game as there is no sprint option and it becomes extremely frustrating to see groups of enemies swarm over you. Status effects that apply poison or bleed last way too long and do way too much damage to you, especially when healing items come at a premium. It almost feels like the difficulty in this game is purely artificial.
Oftentimes I found myself stuck due to being cornered by multiple monsters and could do little more than die as my attacks went off too slowly and I couldn’t dodge through the enemies. Other times I became frozen in the middle of the map due to invisible walls and had to reboot the game in order to continue. All in all, movement just feels sluggish and clunky, with weapons and skills not making a meaningful impact. The developers need to do some serious rebalancing as it seems the witch is blatantly better than the detective as she moves extremely fast and can do area of effect damage with her spells. The detective takes ten years just to reload two shotgun shells and takes another ten years just to dodge roll.
“Not only does Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2 fail to achieve any of my expectations, it takes multiple steps backwards compared to its predecessor.”
To make matters worse, the game rendered itself completely unplayable after progressing to a certain point. I was prompted to venture beyond an unlocked door and explore, but all the doors were locked and there was no place to go. Upon switching characters, rebooting the game, as well as trying all other viable options, I came to the conclusion that the game had softlocked me. At this point, this didn’t even surprise me given the poor experience I had with pretty much every other aspect of this game.
I had a lot of high expectations for Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2, especially with it working on the success of the original game. Not only does it fail to achieve any of my expectations, it takes multiple steps backwards compared to its predecessor and botches just about everything it promised to deliver. Multiple delays and a removed multiplayer feature could not save a game that is plagued with technical issues and broken mechanics. This game clearly needed more work and should not be released in this state, so I suggest staying away from it until the developers have worked on it a bit more.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC via Steam, code was provided by the Publisher.
Lovecraft's Untold Stories 2
Lovecraft's Untold Stories 2 is game that should not have been released, even after being delayed multiple times. The developers secretly removed the cooperative feature, which is a sly move on their end. The game as it stands now is riddled with bugs, janky mechanics, quality of life issues, and should not be purchased as is. It is an insult to the fans of the first game.