It had potential, but... (Review)
I've been posting on a few threads here for a while, told some of my opinion to others, but I think it's about time I write a full review of my own here. Yes, this is a negative review, but it is purely from an artistic standpoint that I criticize it. While I will touch the gameplay a bit, that topic's been done to death, so the main points here will be the rest; Music, graphics, story, things like that. I'll be dividing my review in those kind of categories.
Now, before I start, I want to say that yes, this is simply my opinion. That doesn't make me right or wrong. So if you're just going to reply by insulting me, telling me to go play some generic mainstream shooter or that "I didn't get it", please just kindly leave. But if you have something intelligent and meaningful to say, even if it's against me, then by all means do so. "Getting" a piece of art is very subjective. Art isn't just something you're served on a silver platter. It's something you must experience. So while some will "get" it in certain ways, others will "get" it in other ways. There is no one true way to appreciate art.
With that out of the way, let's dig in, shall we? I'll get the gameplay out of the way right now.
Now, this is the most lackluster part of this game, by design or not. You have control over a character, but that's all I can say. You cannot interact with any being or object, there is nothing to accomplish or solve, all you can do is explore the island and discover the secrets therein. It gets some points for being able to move and find secrets, but that's it.
Now, some people say that the emptiness was really what got them into this game, but I can't say I felt the same way at all. I had no feelings of loneliness, or anxiety, and certainly not any kind of dread as I explored this island. Because there was nothing to give me any of these kinds of feelings. I need more to feel lonely in a game than, well, just being alone. That is a very artificial way of bringing about loneliness, and there are much better ways to go about it. And fear? Well, the game gave me nothing to fear. Heck, the whole time I was playing, the lack of any kind of interaction, and having to constantly just hold W and nothing else, often really broke my immersion and reminded me that there's absolutely nothing in this game.
This was extremely underwhelming to say the least, but as I said, this isn't the focus of my review, so let's leave it at that.
Many praise this as one of the high points of the game. And certainly, the graphics are quite a sight to behold. However, that's all it is. There's a sight, but there's nothing more to it. I was served a meal in a beautiful platter, the food on it all arranged to look its best. It looked very appealing, but as I took the first bite, I soon found the food to be bland and tasteless. As beautiful as the island is, there's nothing that truly makes use of these pretty graphics. The island is nothing but scenery. And while scenery can be beautiful, I can get beautiful scenery in any number of games, so that is clearly not all I'm looking for.
It feels like a waste to me to have such graphics and have them used for absolutely nothing. Seeing things happen on this island could truly have brought out the beauty of the island better than it just sitting there waiting for you to look at it. However, the emptiness of it all left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. But the graphics were meant to tell a story, so surely the story itself makes up for this, right? Well...
Now, this is the meat of the game. This is what the creator of this game put the most work in, and this is what the entire game was meant to convey. When I first started out the game, I was expecting this to be the thing to really grip me and keep me going through this otherwise admittedly tedious experience. It started out okay, too. However, the deeper I went, the less it gripped me, and the more I was left disappointed with it all. On the outside, it was interesting, but as I was starting to get the pieces of the puzzle, the more I put them together, the more I saw that on the inside, it was just a simple, uninteresting story.
Simply, it is the story of a man who lost his wife in a car accident. Grief-stricken, he slowly went insane as the years passed on, until he started taking a journey through his memories and feelings (The game itself) and, having seemingly done peace with it, leaves this world for good. Now, there is a bit more to it, like the protagonist getting kidney stones, another person being involved in the accident, but... This is not an interesting story. This is the kind of story I'd expect to read in a short written story, which are a very interesting form of story telling mind you.
Even though the game tried to make it so complex on the outside, the story was just too simple on the inside to really interest me. Now, I understand I was supposed to go through this man's broken mind, and feel what he went through during his ordeal. However, there is a flaw there as well. The protagonist is not interesting or well developed at all. He doesn't even have a face or a name. For me to feel another character, I have to first make a connection with this character. I have to be able to relate to the character, but this is something that made impossible, again, by the emptiness of it all. Simply knowing this character's past is not enough for me.
Overall, the story was really the most disappointing part to me. This was the most important part of the game, and yet this is really what let me down the most. The story might have beauty on the outside... But it lacked too much on the inside.
Sound and Music
To me, this is where the game truly shines. The voice actor, while I didn't particularly care for what he said, had a very pleasant and attractive voice, which was a plus. The music was really amazing, and I quite loved it. And the sound effects, well there's nothing wrong with them.
However, I don't have much to say about them other than that, because they really had nothing to truly accompany them. Feels like a waste to me, but it gets a lot of points here regardless. If the rest of the game had done this music justice, it really would've been amazing.
Now, you might have noticed a recurring theme throughout this review. Beautiful on the outside, yet hollow on the inside. And yes, that is exactly my feelings about this game. Outwardly, this game truly was pleasing to the eyes, a beautifully painted picture. But on the inside, the soul of the canvas itself was lacking. Art is very much like people in this way. It's not the outside that counts, but the inside. After all, no matter how pretty someone is, if that person is stupid, mean and annoying, they won't be attractive. But no matter the appearance of the person, if they're truly kind and fun to talk to, no amount of physical flaws will ever kill their beauty.
While I do find this game had potential, I think it really could've been executed better. Now, some people felt different about this game. And that's fine. Everyone has different artistic views and senses, and nobody is right or wrong here. But maybe reading this review will help you look at this game from another perspective. Maybe it'll end up making you see flaws in it, or maybe it'll end up making you like it more. Either way is fine. That's what art is all about, after all. You can't truly appreciate a piece of art unless you look at it from all angles.
And that's it from me. I don't write reviews, so I hope it wasn't too bad for my first try at one. I hope you enjoyed reading it too.
Last edited by Naoya
Jun 23, 2013 @ 6:04pm