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Have You Played... Rune?

Drag me to Hel

With Rune 2 out very soon, what better time to ask this?

I used to describe Rune as "sort of like an FPS but with swords", and that's a terrible way to describe it. But it sort of felt like that somehow. You're a Viking warrior named Ragnar whose village is blatted by an evil sorcerer, who effortlessly kills you and everyone on your boat for dessert.

Then Odin appears. Yer actual man Odin, with his massive head, resurrects you and rumbles that you must basically run across the underworld and the earth and murder absolutely everything in your path.

Rune was wonderfully over the top and it knew it. You heal by eating whole lizards, and chugging mead, smashing the flagon on the floor in one smooth motion. Everyone bellows and guffaws and gnaws on any nearby scenery in its rare but welcome cut scenes. You start out in Hel, lopping the heads off the otherwise-unkillable undead in a level that frankly is the worst part of the game. It suffers for frontloading its most overlong and fiddly chapter, and honestly I lose patience with it today long before I get to the best part, where you fight other humans. By the time you get to fighting the dwarves and eventually challenging Loki himself, having long since swapped out Ragnar's array of short swords and maces for anime-level ridiculous giant curved blades and axes, you've quite possibly decimated the entirety of creation. There's a bit where a wall blocks your way, so Odin appears and blasts it down with his explosive eye beams.

Melee fighting is much better served by games now than it was in the 2000s, and its flaws are much harder to ignore, but Rune had a touch of the same madness as Chivalry or For Honor or Mordhau, and its wonderfully hammy, imperious tone earned it a permanent corner of my heart.

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