You are Ragnar, a warrior who has been promoted quickly into adulthood, and as an accomplished fighter it is your job to protect your village's Rune stones from evil. Based on the Unreal Tournament engine, Rune accomplishes great things with the graphics -- from well-developed villages and dark and dreary caves to engine based movie sequences that are a pleasure to watch.
After you complete your training (always just in time!), you are thrust into a storyline that has but one way to go. In one particularly good movie sequence, your ship sinks and everyone dies, including you. However Odin steps in and saves you so that you may take your vengeance upon the enemy and protect his Rune stones from the evil god Loki himself.
The strictly linear plot, interspersed with contrived movie sequences and rote gameplay, ultimately work to make Rune a tedious experience. In many respects, the experience begins to feel more like a marathon than a game. You keep running and running, only to find that there are 20 more miles to go until you cross the finish line.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
There is no reason to worry about complex weaponry, ranged weapons, or spell casting. The only way to do real damage ultimately is walk (or run) up to your opponent and bash it until it no longer moves. There are three weapons with several variations, including the sword, the axe and the hammer. Don't bother with the shields either; the likelihood that you'll ever use them is slim to none.
In the 5-10 minutes it takes to complete your training exercise in the beginning of the story you'll learn everything you ever needed to know about weaponry. Walk up, bash, strafe, bash... until your opponent stops moving.
The highlight on the game is without question the way the developers handled the third person interface. The camera control is some of the best in the PC arena. You may die along the way, but you'll never be able to blame camera angles. Totally under your control, you can manage the camera to be overhead, behind, or in Ragnar. The camera angles allow you to see anything that you might need to in order to find your way in, out, or around the Rune universe.
Some of the problems present in the single player modes are advantageous in the multiplayer death matches. Who doesn't want to walk up and bash their opponents until they don't move? The lack of a multiplayer storyline and the missing range weapons become beneficial as you get to walk up to your opponents and watch them suffer under your crushing blows.
Based on the Unreal engine, the 3D interfaces of Rune are as engaging as any I have seen. Provided that you don't mind the third person interface, the environments are quite engrossing. The swimming portions of the game prove to be quite visually rewarding, as the developers stopped focusing on slashing opponents and made more use of the environment and graphics as a function of the gameplay.
All of that said, do not take the system requirements lightly. The Unreal engine is a monster and the software rendering is a poor substitute at best. Unless your machine is rendering the game at its best, several areas can be extremely difficult to solve, as the rendering can sometimes put some objects in a different order than they were originally intended.
There is nothing overly special about the audio -- general battle sounds and the grunts and clashes that come with it are well done, though like many other aspects of the game can be quite redundant. The voice acting in Rune is done well also, with little to complain about. Some of the movie sequences show great promise and the acting there is executed well.
PII 300 or equivalent, Win95/98, 64 MB RAM, video card with a 3D Accelerator, 100 MB Hard Drive space, and a Sound Card.
With the Unreal engine and a hack and slash deathmatch multiplayer setting, there are several redeeming features to this initial offering from Human Head Studios. However, without a well-developed plot to lure you on and with redundant combat exercises to challenge and improve your ability, this is one Action title that may be best to pass on.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP