Saturday, August 15, 2015

Limbo [PS4 review]

I like to review the free games that one gets from PlayStation Plus (PS+).
It makes me feel the $50 a year is for more than just online gaming.

I hate you so much, game. A giant spider in a creepy setting?
I am torn about this game.
Of two minds about it.
Not really certain of how I feel.

3.5 out of 5 stars
Thus this rating.

Let me explain my ambivalent feelings.

Yes, there will be the corpses of children in this game.
I'll start with all the things I like.

The art is fantastic.
It is brooding, morose, melancholic, noir. Playing this in a darkened room is great. It has such a sad, lonely, feeling. The light music, the feeling of being lost, alone, stranded in a world that only wants to kill you.

The puzzles are not too complex but not too simple either. Dying only sends you back a little ways, usually to the start of a puzzle. Far better than a game like Bloodborne which simply punishes you for dying by sending you to the very beginning, no matter how far through a level you have progressed. Oh wait, that just moved from discussion of Limbo into a condemnation of Bloodborne.

The game is simple and the art fantastic.
Frackin' Spider...
Maybe too simple... The only instructions you get are D-pad movies, X jumps, and O activates things. That is it.

But there is something lacking.

Story, there is no story. 

Yes, this is one of those new indy-artsy games where you are supposed interpret the 'story' for yourself.
I honestly prefer my games as escapism. Escapism through the framework of a story. I like getting lost in books and movies and games. Yes, I can easily interpret a story for this game. It's easy enough, there are plenty of allegories that this story will fit (growing up, dying, etc). But that is not what I want. I'd rather a mystery where small clues are thrown my way, or an involved and deep story filled with emotion. Something. When you leave it up to the player, it in some ways looks lazy. You've gone to this effort to create the mood, the artwork, the controls (sort of)... but you just leave the story vague and up to the players interpretation. That just seems lazy.  

I mean the game is free this month, so it is worth it to give it a try. It is also a small download, under 200mb, so it won't eat up too much HD space. Give it a try, and decide for yourself if you like self-interpreting stories. The graphics are good, the atmosphere is well crafted, and the puzzles are interesting enough, but that is about it.  

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