Quests themselves are more varied, however, as they're drawn from specific myths. You check out what rival gods are plotting for Athena, explore the tomb of Seth, rescue Odin from the clutches of Fenrir, and so forth. Storylines aren't really developed, though. Generally, you just walk over to the deity of the moment, who's typically loitering around the hub of each campaign as if waiting for a bus, and take your marching orders. These orders always involve straightforward objectives like looking into some sort of mystery, such as seeing if Seth's body remains in its sarcophagus, investigating the deadly machine that Minos seems to be constructing, or going out to murder some deadly threat like the Medusa.
Regardless of your goal in Loki, you always get there the same way--by bloodily slaughtering an endless horde of monsters. This Diablo-styled theme was old when the world was young, but Loki still manages to mostly pull it off by sticking to the template. The only serious annoyance is extreme difficulty even on the easiest "mortal" game setting. Enemies are so numerous in spots that you need to wage a war of attrition to make it through many maps. You start off by killing as many monsters as you can before succumbing to their crazy numbers, then respawn at the start of the level and repeat. Over and over again. Many levels require seven or eight instances of this frustrating wash, rinse, and repeat cycle. Even worse, there are moments when the game engine can't keep up with the number of monsters onscreen. In some of the Greek forest missions, for example, the combination of dozens of flying foes and the heavily treed landscape turns the game into an instant, unplayable slideshow. Thankfully, these slowdowns are rare.
Mummies haunt the tomb of Seth in the Egyptian part of the campaign.
Despite the overall difficulty, everything moves along pretty quickly. Even though you have to repeat yourself a little too often, you still easily get into a killing groove balanced just about perfectly between addiction and monotony. The only thing that slows you down is the regular 20-second or so wait after battles to regenerate health and mana. As with every other good action RPG ever made, you know that you're just clicking mouse buttons over and over again, but the pace of combat and the collection of magical weapons and other goodies (the usual assortment of swords, armor, and potions, with some cultural characteristics tossed in mainly to differentiate one style of clothing from another) is so speedy that you can barely bring yourself to stop playing.
Character development is an equal mix of the simple and compelling. Leveling up is a quick process of assigning points to attributes like strength and vitality. Added special battle abilities are gained with points earned every time you max out your faith bar. Basically, this lets you suck up to your three principal gods and take on combat buffs like Thor's Bull's Charge and spells like Ra's Fireball. The whole faith system is actually laid out in a very similar fashion to the skill masteries in Titan Quest, although the number of options here are even more varied. You're generally stuck on a linear path when picking abilities, however, so this doesn't afford a great deal of character customization.
All told, Loki is one of those rare, totally derivative pleasures. A game that will inspire a lot of dÃ©jÃ© vu but very little boredom.