what appeared to be a game offering more of the same third-person
action like Ritual Entertainment's Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 and Surreal
Software's Drakan: Order of the Flame, a whole new twist in the
story and gameplay is made. Human Head Studios has found a way to
show that resurrecting this genre of so-so games is still possible.
Rune combines Viking mythology with action/role-playing hybrid elements
to produce one fine game. Ragnarok is the hero destined to save
the world from an evil Viking warlord sworn to gain the power of
the Gods. Based upon the Unreal Tournament engine, Rune's sound,
performance, and visual effects are spectacular. However, no game
begins with a slow cinematic revolving around the center of a Viking
town. The legend of the Gods' balance of power is represented along
with Ragnar's promotion. Rune does not present itself strongly in
the first ten minutes - which is the most important period of the
game. The gamer briefly controls Ragnarok after a five minute cinematic
to fight his master in the longhouse to assure his promotion. Then,
another length cinematic showing the beginning of the problem in
the game is revealed. Little motivation and inspiration is instilled
in the weak beginning to play Rune afterwards.
Unreal Tournament is represented extremely well in Rune with its
dismal, ancient-looking colors. Ragnar and other characters are
very detailed, and environments are realistic. The water looks smooth,
trees move when hit, and the fire effects are quite impressive.
Character models have free-moving clothing, smooth movement, and
the perspective brings them alive. Also the Runepowers, an ability
given by one of the Viking gods, are extraordinarily beautiful.
All in all, Rune's graphics are top-notch, but gameplay fleshes
out this game to its full potential.
is most intriguing in Rune is the Viking mythology. Human Head Studios
has done their research and documentation about the period Rune
occurs in. This strengthens the plot as a result. Ragnar's character,
the Gods, and other notable areas seem more realistic, and it shows
that the level designers, artists, and programmers have a great
sense of what Viking towns, clothing, and character were like. Rune's
strongest point is its background - the history is rich and the
plot and environments are fleshed out wonderfully.
perspective games have the reputation for being tough to control.
However, Rune is an exception, because it does not require sensitive
control. Ragnar is easy to control with its straightforward control
throughout the gameplay. The camera is extremely intelligent knowing
where walls are and making Ragnar's body transparent in order to
see what is ahead. The control interface is also simplistic showing
the health and oxygen gauges with some other features necessary
to know. Human Head did a great job making Rune an easy game to
learn how to play.
Kevin 'Exodus' Weinberg
Human Head Studios
Gathering of Developers
To Be Announced