Saturday, July 12, 2014

First Impressions - Child of Light

Here we have a screenshot from Child of Light. Attack from behind if you start a fight.

Child of Light is a game that has received a lot of good reviews especially on consoles with Metacritic ratings of 80 and above on most of them (with only the PC and Xbox 360 scoring in the 70s). What also makes the game stand out is that it's not your typical big budget game from a publisher such as Ubisoft, but something you'd expect from an indie developer - not to mention its core gameplay is very much in the oldschool JRPG vein. So I was intrigued by what made the game so special. It did get discounted a bit during the Steam sale so I thought I'd give it a shot.

What I like

  • Graphics: As you can see by the screenshot the graphics are gorgeous. It adopts a painted fairy tale look and apparently the game's director, Patrick Plourde, said they were also inspired by anime from the likes of Studio Ghibli for art direction. It's definitely a pretty game.
  • Audio: Both the soundtrack by Coeur de Pirate and the in-game sound effects are fantastic. For example, at one point in the game I was passing by a flying insect and not only did I hear it buzz as I pass by but it actually changes in volume depending on how close you are to it. Little things but it helps with the immersion into the fantasy.
  • Trying to be different: The game does try to be different to classic JRPGs adopting some things you'd find in modern ones (e.g. ability to craft items, a comprehensive skill tree, etc.) along with an interesting mechanic where you use the mouse in order to slow down enemy turns during combat, giving you the opportunity to interrupt their attacks. Not to mention the game is actually a platformer as well...

What I don't like

  • It's still a JRPG: In the end though, the thing that worries me most is the fact it's still a JRPG at its core. Combat can be dull sometimes especially when fighting the same enemies over and over, and you'll want to fight them in order to level your character up. In other words, there seems to be grind, which I'm not too fond of. Also, unlike Western RPGs, there's no character customisation and I can only assume that the plot will be a linear one.

Verdict

Child of Light is turning out to be the most engaging JRPG I've played in awhile; even though the plot is pretty much a fairy tale, a combination of spectacular visuals and fantastic audio really helps to bring Aurora's fantasy world to life.

[ LINK: Official Child of Light website ]

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