Apotheon Review

Stunningly unique but ultimately messy, Apotheon is enthralling Greek mythology caught in the grips of unfriendly combat.

Much of Apotheon is indifferent to the mythical spectacle it projects. At its best, Apotheon is subtle, with clever action sharply interwoven into its hefty narrative physique – a back-and-forth deer hunt challenge for Artemis' bow; a literal blood bath for Ares; in-ocean conflict against Poseidon. Those are resourceful battles.

Separated from the rest of the relentless, inefficient, and impure world which drives it, Apotheon is lovely. Living on simulated pottery with a noted sheen, the bronze era aesthetic is not original, even if rather alluringly applied. Apotheon hinges on this historically relevant technique.

... the bronze era aesthetic is not original, even if rather alluringly applied.

If the ancient Greeks had created video games, their combined wisdom would likely have made Apotheon, a beautifully antiquated story of restless, spiteful gods realizing humanity's infinite uselessness and a Greek warrior who would save mankind's decaying civilization. Interplay of gods and men is enthralling; Apotheon would be nothing without it.

Combative Gestures

Unfortunately, much of Alientrap Games' release is in shambles. Hero Nikandreos' style is wholly haggard. Fumbling control layouts are hung up on complexity (right stick aiming, d-pad weapons, essential face buttons, trigger attacking), which excels at making Nikandreos a feeble human but worthless as the god-murdering savior he becomes. Wobbly battles are flailing and awkward, juxtaposed against the sureness of such cataclysmic mythos. No wonder the gods laugh at Nikandreos' woeful march on Mount Olympus.

To its credit, Apotheon finds means to keep itself engaged. Few of its set piece conflicts are without original thought or flair. Key moments are driven by cleverness in execution, leading to Zeus' frustrated and masculine undoing at his own hands. The interlocking of legendary anecdotes to gameplay should be savored. The Greek view of their heavenly rulers as bitter, even sometimes childish beings is imparted onto each significant brawl.

Apotheon would make an engaging book where much of the gaudy excess would have been cut.

Between those clashes are mountains of pithy struggles – bloody and tiring. They're filler. Even civilizations bred on violence would grow tired of their inanity and unnecessary insertion.

They're filler. Even civilizations bred on violence would grow tired of their inanity and unnecessary insertion. Apotheon would make an engaging book where much of the gaudy excess would have been cut. The form here is an inefficiently angular open world, yet done so obviously and with such precise separation between levels it's begging to be trimmed into something more traditional. Certainly, a linear set dressing would suit the more classical and scholarly approach.

Antiques Roadshow

Again, the aesthetics and overarching themes save, at least as much as they can. In the background, Greece's somewhat casual attitude toward sexuality is never hidden. Stylized nudity is prevalent. Depicted architecture and stone literature further enlarges the lock Apotheon has on this chronicled portion of human existence. It's all interesting and adult, vividly rendered in minimal hues.

Like a lesser and two-dimensional God of War, Apotheon is often callow, then burdened by those moments which dilute its style. Foes can be slung city-wide by simple strikes of a spear in an unintentionally (but frequent) comical moment which makes Nikandreos an uber-brute long before his power grows. Such inconsistencies feel laughably preposterous in-game.

At its best, Apotheon is marvelous, stout enough to philosophically consider man's feebleness from the perspective of polytheists. At worst, Apotheon is a hokey mess of cramped fighting mixed with a bevy of game crashing restarts and flimsy optimization. Apotheon's own coding god is not a friendly one.

Our Rating
5
Stunningly unique but ultimately messy, Apotheon is enthralling Greek mythology caught in the grips of unfriendly combat.
Reviewed On: Playstation 4

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Freelance critic seen on Playboy, GameSkinny, and others. Passionate vintage game collector. Fervent physical media supporter and consumerism devotee.

Games Apotheon Genres Adventure Platforms Playstation 4
Published Feb. 12th 2015

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