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Human Head Studios' Rune, formerly known as Rune: Ragnarok, sequel to Rune, had a hands-on demo at this year's E3, and now we can read a few previews that came out of that. To start us off, PC Gamer describes Rune as a sandbox survival action-RPG, which is a stark departure from the original Rune's linear adventure, and praises the game's robust dismemberment mechanics. An excerpt:
Rune is Human Head Studios' return to the world of what is now called Rune Classic, the hack-and-slash Viking action adventure game released in 2000. Now Human Head is taking its Vikings into the open world survival RPG genre. Servers will support up to 64 players at a time, but there will also be an option for playing solo on a private server. I got a look at the basics of Rune with an alpha build at E3.
After some character creation (I focused mostly on selecting my tattoos and facial hair), we began on one island but quickly found a viking longship—which you'll be able to craft—and sailed to another. Armed with just an axe and shield I did battle with some NPC vikings, giants, and a few other nasty creatures, though after swapping my axe for an enormous flaming sword I was introduced to a fun feature of Rune: you can throw your weapons, any and all of them, whenever you want.
I wish I'd had a bit more time with Rune: the combat was gory, fast-paced, and fun, and the map showed a world dotted with many more islands than the two I got to visit. Rune is headed for a closed beta (with both PvP and PvE servers) on June 23, and plans to enter Steam Early Access later in the year.
Then, Variety seems to imply that despite being a predominantly online experience the new Rune will nevertheless feature some story-focused content:
“Rune: Ragnarok” does have the potential to be one of the most full-fledged Viking experiences in games right now, it has most features that players could ask for in a Norse focused power fantasy. Sailable long boats that can be engaged in ocean warfare, formidable giants that can kill you with the snap of their fingers, classic role playing elements, and a personalizable story that matches your playstyle with an almighty god.
“You’re getting more story beyond what happened to Ragnar in the original “Rune,”” Rhinehart added. “You don’t have to have played the original to be able to enjoy “Ragnarok,” and we hope fans of the original will mesh with the modern mechanics that we’ve added.”
And Gamer Assault Weekly offers a general overview of the demo and shares some alpha screenshots:
Rune centers on one goal, to search the land for Loki, kill the Trickster God, and end Ragnarok. Set in an open-world the player will journey through the Norse universe in search of the Loki while gaining favor with the god they’ve chosen to ally with. It still needs a lot of work but Rune looks like a promising RPG fully of content worth exploring.
First off, players get to create their own character and ally themselves with a specific Norse God. Each one provides different bonuses and in this world where gods, beasts, and the remaining humans kill without mercy. You’re going to need all the help you can get especially if you head into a PvP server. Throughout the adventure, your allied God will provide specific quests to aid in your journey and by doing these objectives you’ll gain more favor from them.