Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Child Of Light

Gamespot Score: 8.0 (Great)

My Score: 8.8

(+) Pros: - Incredibly amazing to look at, from an artistic standpoint, - A brilliant tale of sadness, betrayal and overcoming hardships, - Great exploration of an already amazing world, puzzles and problem solving segments are well done, - Igniculus mechanic is well thought out and well implemented, - Interesting spin on traditional turn based battles.

(-) Cons: - Too easy on default difficulty, - Occasional repetition.

Gameplay time: 15-20 hours

"Child Of Light" comes close to the best game I've played in 2014. I'm not even f**king joking. Its brilliant in so many ways, and for its asking price, it delivers beyond expectations (especially if you've bought it for a mere $5 during Steam Sales). Being one of the most artistically beautiful games EVER, and having a unique combination of gameplay elements from different games makes "Child Of Light" an engrossing experience that you won't want to let go of. For RPG fans, this is a must, and if you like problem solving/puzzles/platforming, this one will likely deserve your attention as well. Even if you aren't a fan of both, "Child Of Light" is a game worth trying as long as you've got a bit of fantasy in your heart.

The story focuses on Aurora, who's pretty a parody of the Disney Princess with the same name. Aurora's father enjoyed a time of peace with her daughter, but one day, she was whisked away into an unknown realm of dreams. Never waking up in the real world, she was thought to have been dead, and her father, the duke of the kingdom, despaired ever so much, to the point where he lost interest in everything, including his life. His condition became so bad that he refused to take medication for his illness or help the kingdom in the time of need. Meanwhile in the dream world, Aurora lives, and she explores the world unknown to her with hopes of returning to her father. There, she is told to free its world from the dark grip of the witch Umbra, and by doing so she will need the obtain the Sun, Moon, and the Stars. Befriending a wisp by the name of Igniculus, Aurora must brave a world filled with Dark, and triumph over its many evil beasts to get back what she holds dear.

My oh my...look at the pretty colors.

"Child Of Light" is a fairly simple game. Though simple it may be, its also very easy to get yourself lost in it. For one, its art style and visuals. They are simply spectacular. While its not a massive powerhouse on the technical side, its simply gorgeous when it comes to the artistic side. The game is so vibrant with its colors, and with a water color style added to its backgrounds, the entire game looks like a very expensive painting. Everything, ranging from the environments, backgrounds, to its characters and enemies (Aurora actually ha 3D model though). Even the flourishes in the different attacks make them look incredibly pretty and powerful when they actually connect on their desired targets.

The story in "Child Of Light" is also dreadfully endearing. Aurora's journey is just filled with hardships, both for herself and the friends that the encounters. The characters are well fleshed out, and they vary from one to another, be it their appearances or their personalities, they never fail to stand out. Its not the most light hearted story ever, and its a lot darker than you think. You'd think that they'd give a little girl like Aurora a chance? Nope, she gets beaten down on like a poor puppy many times, no mercy, even to little children. Ouch.

I don't usually like puzzles, but when I do, they're in "Child Of Light".

Being a standard RPG following a very standard RPG formula, "Child Of Light" is very easy to follow. You roam throughout the dark lands, touching enemies on the field brings you into battle with the wild beast. Getting them from the back lands you a preemptive strike, and you get ambushed when they do the same to you. Traversing the field in "Child Of Light" is actually fun, much more so than you'd think. The entire game is played on a 2D field, like a puzzle platformer game (something along the lines of "Limbo"). You traverse through different dungeons, caves, and ruins, each with their own special themed puzzle mechanic for you to play around with. Shifting boxes, flying around looking for loopholes, flipping switches...all of those stuff. Some also involve Igniculus, the wisp that follows Aurora around.

Igniculus is a very peculiar wisp. He acts as a light to most dark areas, he's an irreplaceable asset in battle as he slows enemies and heals allies, he's also a catalyst needed to solve some of the on field puzzles. Oh yes, he's also handy in flying off to unreachable corners to loot treasure chests. Whatever he can do, the game makes it obvious that you're going to need his help, and since you need to use him rather cleverly, he ends up being a pretty fun mechanic to play around with. Igniculus comes with an energy meter, the more you use him, it goes down, then he eventually becomes tired out and you'll need to wait for him to recharge. In battle though, you might need him a lot more than he wants to be used, this is where the faerie elixirs come in.

Boss fights are a key highlight in the game.

Battles in "Child Of Light" are standard affairs. You will be fighting A LOT, and luckily for us, the battle system is pretty fun to mess around with. While it looks like a standard "Final Fantasy" ATB style turn based battle system, there are twists to it that make it a lot more....strategic, and in some ways, reflexive. The timeline is a gauge which times your character's movements. In the waiting zone, characters can't act, and instead, "wait" for their icon to move forward into the cast segment. In the casting zone, this is where you choose an action for your character. Your character will prepare to act in the casting zone, then when he/she hits the end of the casting zone, they will execute an attack. Sounds simple enough, but if a character or enemy is damaged while "casting" in the casting zone, they are pushed back into the waiting zone, their action nullified. This is called "Interruption".

Obviously, you can keep interrupting an enemy while they are in the cast zone for instant stun lock. That by itself is the most logical strategy to aim for when fighting against most enemies. Of course, its not going to be so easy to continuously stun lock enemies as speed is a very inconsistent factor. Igniculus comes in here, as he can slow enemies as you mouse him over them. Or he can heal you if you're low. Doing so requires energy, which is usually scattered around the battle. Micro managing resources for Igniculus is key here, and if you keep him on the enemy, you can pull off a ton of chain interruptions

You want skill trees? Well, we have them.

"Child Of Light" does suffer a little bit on the repetition side. While most of the game remains fresh with new environments, enemies and puzzles, you'll be using similar strategies to take out most normal encounters and later puzzles do reuse some elements from previous dungeon themes. Also, the game is way TOO EASY on default difficulty. I mean, I didn't even game over once throughout the game, and maybe losing characters in a fight about...two times? And that was when I had over 20 revival elixirs, so it was all good. If you want a challenge, at least play hard mode (to be fair, Oengus is pretty strong versus most of the late game bosses).

"Child Of Light" is a great game, that's it. Its a single adventure that can be played multiple times for new game + and new builds on different characters. There's a lot of depht to it (I never discussed jewels and upgrading your characters with them), be it the exploration, battles or even just the story. There's really something amazing for RPG fans here, and if you're one of them, don't hesitate. Just jump straight into the game.

Happy Gaming!