Pagan Online had a lot of anticipation built up for it's release, and rightly so--visually, it looks gorgeous and smooth. I'm always down to add a new hack and slash to the 'ole Steam library, so I too joined the ranks of anticipation upon hearing about this title. Let's dive in!

Never a fan of making a new account to play something (especially when it's being launched from Steam), but alas I signed up to after being strong armed with a 'either you do, or you don't play' ultimatum. Ah well, these things happen, right? Champion ChickenSupreme entered the arena that day! Now, to choose the right skin-suit to embody... wait...

Only three characters to choose from: Kingewitch, who likes long walks on the beach, a bit of melee with his champagne and watch out--this lad will sweep you off your feet with Berserker flair! Next up is Anya! She'll lifeleech you from afar and knows how to crack that whip...and lastly, Istok. Compact, but hits like a mack truck, this older gentleman will tank you on the adventure of a lifetime!

So who did I choose? Well, ranged of course. Keep 'em away and far, I always say (First playthroughs are always nice and cowardly for me). Anya it was. Jumping in, the whip cracking mechanic was pretty visually impressive to say in the least--I ran around like Indiana Jones in heels snapping and cracking that thing wherever I went. Two main attacks, of course, and all this rests neatly in a WASD plus mouse set-up. Face your cursor in the direction you want to mow down and you're set. The rest, control-wise, is minimalistic, even with abilities, and very straightforward. Even the load screen brags, "It's that simple."

First mission it becomes pretty clear that enemies attack in waves, and usually pretty robust ones at that. You're going to have to get that little finger hot on the dash button because even at low levels if you don't utilise everything at your fingertips, you're gunna have a bad time. Get into a spot of trouble and you'll have a potion to get you out. Standard stuff.

After your tutorial mission, you're placed into a hub area where you can regroup and pick the next conquest to partake in. Get ready to be bombarded with tool tips for just about everything--which is to be expected in a game this ambitious. I've got the memory of a goldfish though, and holding on to knowledge about crafting, leveling, abilities, and the finer points of navigating things like your inventory were all immediately lost, only to be learned the hard way later on: kinetically. Nothing out of the ordinary for this casual pea-brained gamer though, and we trudged on for another round of beatings. (Clarification on the beatings--definitely me getting it and not them. I'm like a little jellyblob with a whip and pigtails at this point, hoping the wind will somehow blow and push my enemies off a cliff before they can deliver a sweet punch square to my face.)

Back to battle! Alright, so you walk up to the Fable-esque table, the Battlegate, and fix to choose your next mission in the campaign. I should also mention here that when you're poking around, it becomes clear that there are more unlockable characters--I suppose incentive to keep playing? These characters look cooler in every way: designs are sweet with some reaper looking guy named Morokh, Valeria, a ranged huntress with dual crossbows and a few others that undoubtedly made my electric whip look dull and lifeless in comparison. In the words of the late Jim Bowen, "Nevermind, nevermind" and back to mission picking we go! Dumping myself into these wave-based brawls seems to be the name of the game mainly, and luckily for Pagan Online there's a lot of beautiful background with lush scenery to enjoy....because combat scenarios became a bit dull for me. Yeah, I'm not the best ARPG'er around, but I do know that part of what makes this genre fun is the exploration of the world around you. Pagan Online doesn't really do that: you're meant to run a gauntlet with a boss at the end and as the missions get tougher, the gauntlet becomes longer. There are other little modes that pop up too to spice things up, like the Battle Missions. In these, you've got an objective handed to you instead of your normal run through, revolving around surviving. Survive yourself for a certain amount of time, or keep the thing alive (and of course survive yourself). These missions you can reroll for some gold to change up the terms if you like, or just hop on it if your armour rating is acceptable. 

Alright, so I think were approaching judgment time. There's little tidbits I've not mentioned, such as log in rewards, but I think the real meat of the game has been gone over. As I said up top--I'm not an ARPG expert. I have dumped half a lifetime into Diablos, but I still fart around from time to time because I'm a bit of a dimly lit lightbulb when it comes to these things. I look for fun and how easy it is to pick something up and play for the first time and whether or not it holds your interest. I think for Pagan Online to have longevity it really needs more diversity with the missions. I desperately wish there was emphasis on exploration and not just wave after wave after wave of baddies. No doubt this is a gorgeous game, and ran perfectly on my computer, even when things got a bit hairy in combat. It's not difficult to learn, but unless you play ARPGs fairly often, there's loads to pick apart with crafting and things of that nature (blimey, didn't even get into the crafting!). 

Is it worth £19.99? I think to the right person, yes. Just don't go picking up a copy looking for your next Diablo and you won't be disappointed. There's clearly loads of gameplay to keep you busy and if you really like the aesthetic, you're absolutely going to enjoy yourself. Pagan Online gets a big, fat 'RECOMMEND' from me, the floppy-handed whip cracker from the North.