A Beautiful Fairy Tale Well Worth Playing
Avaliado nos Estados Unidos em 16 de agosto de 2015
Child of Light is a beautiful Ubisoft game that terribly wants to be an "indie" game. The Vita version is currently the *only* physical release of the game. (Why Ubisoft choose the Vita of all platforms is a mystery.) So, if you are looking for a physical version then this is your only choice. That said, this is just as beautiful a game on the Vita as on any other platform. In fact, this is without doubt one of the best games on the Vita. Although the game has some problems, which is why I did not give it a five-star rating, I nevertheless highly recommend playing this game. Overall, I would rate it at 4.25 out of 5 stars. Let me explain why:
First thing you will notice about the game is that it is downright gorgeous. The game looks like a living watercolor painting, which is exactly what the producers were aiming for. If the graphics seem similar to some Japanese games, then again, that is also what they producers were aiming for. Although this was produced in Montreal, it is inspired by Japanese role-playing games (such as Odin Sphere). Regardless, the graphics are spectacular.
Next thing you will notice is the music. The music is by Cœur de pirate (Béatrice Martin) and it is perfect (well, almost)! The music is very piano-centered. It is dreamy, surreal and slightly sad. The exception are some of the boss battle musics which sound like they were taken right out of a Japanese RPG (think Final Fantasy). The boss battle music is beautiful, but personally I feel it is out of place in the game. While the rest of the music makes you feel like you're in a fantasy dreamland, the boss battles make you feel like you're playing most any Japanese RPG. That said, I still love the soundtrack! It really does fit the fairy tale like atmosphere of the game. OK, now for the story...
It's a beautiful story. It really is a fairy tale brought to life. Like most fairy tales the story is fairly simple and generic. You have monsters, a princess, sickness, good and evil. Don't expect the game to change your view on life. However, that said, much like fairy tales the game is a reflection/meditation about life, death, and purpose. It's simple enough that a young child can enjoy, and deep enough for an older individual (such as myself). Now... how fun is the game? Let's talk about gameplay.
When I first played the game, I expected the game to be an action-RPG based on screenshots I saw. I was surprised to learn that it's turn-based. You "bump" into a monster and you start a battle. It has a real-time bar and you can see when your characters will act and when the monsters will act. If you time things properly, you can stop the monsters from attacking and in essence attack until they are defeated (well, that's the goal). Sometimes you will succeed, sometimes you will fail. If one of your part members falls, no big deal. You can replace him/her with another party member who will join the fight at full health. Sounds like the battles are easy? For the most part they are. They're also fairly repetitive. While certainly not bad, they do get old, which is one reason why I simply can not give this game 5 stars. You will do a lot of fighting. Some of the boss battles are beautiful and quite enjoyable, but for the most part you'll simply be grinding past enemies. Apart from battles what else is there?
Side-Quests: The game does have side-quests, and for the most part they are very simple. Defeat these bad guys. Go back to where you were previously and find this or that. Not particularly exciting. That said, it's nice that they added these to the game. Unfortunately, you may find that you spend more time looking for said object simply because you know it's somewhere in the forest, but where? There are NO maps in the game! For the most part it's not a big deal, but it would have been helpful to have a map with highlights on it. Another complaint, the voice-acting or lack thereof.
Voice-Acting: This game is told in a lyrical style. Everything that is said by any character basically rhymes. It would have been beautiful to hear professional voice actors speak the lines! While not all games have to have voice acting, I think for Child of Light it would really add to the dreamlike fairy tale quality. Besides, it's not hard to add an option to turn voice acting off if one so wanted. However, as it stands, there is almost no voice acting. Remember, this is not a small indie game, it was produced by Ubisoft so it's not as if it was beyond their budget!
Linear Game: There are basically almost no choices in the game. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, there is very little character development. There certainly is some, especially for the heroine, Aurora. However, for the most part you just listen to what people have to say and that's about it. I wish there were a few more choices and we would get to learn more about the characters.
Crafting: Child of Light has no weapons, no armor, and in fact you can not purchase anything! However, you can find lots of "Oculi" which are basically jewels that you can strengthen and combine to form more powerful jewels that can be equipped to give you certain bonuses. For example, a crude diamond can give the equipped character 5% extra experience. However, a diamond that has been crafted from stronger components will give 10% extra experience, and so on. It's cute. Unfortunately, there is no guide to crafting, and nothing in the manual. Which is to say, no manual. Which leads me to discuss, what exactly are you getting here that you're not getting elsewhere?
Apart from the fact that you are getting a physical version of the game, you are NOT getting anything new. Thus, if you already have a downloaded version of the game, you will find nothing new here. No exclusive characters. No exclusive locations. No bonus anything. In fact, not even a flimsy manual (cheap of you, Ubisoft, cheap). Well, I suppose in this day and age we should be thankful we have a physical copy so that we can loan it to friends or gift it. Still... would it really hurt to add something exclusive, maybe just a map or manual?
Yes, I do have some complaints as noted above. That said, this is still a game that is worth supporting (tell Ubisoft we want more such games) and certainly worth playing (simple, yet engaging and beautiful game). Perhaps there shall be a sequel, and perhaps some of my complaints will be answered. I do hope there is a sequel, because this really is a wonderful game and it's refreshing to play something that not only has a strong female lead (you go, Aurora!) but is charming.
+++Beautiful Music (I'm listening to it as I write this review :)
+++Simple, yet enjoyable story with a strong heroine.
+++Some side-quests, crafting, lots of treasure to find (well, basically potions and jewels).
+++The only physical version of the game available!
-Overall battles are *very* easy, and repetitive.
-Linear game, little character development (apart from Aurora).
-NO new material in this physical edition. You get the cartridge and a flimsy case. Not even a manual.
-Voice acting would have been perfect! Alas, voice acting is all but non-existent.
All characters speak in rhyme.
Which is fine, most of the time.
And if I may be so bold,
Sometimes it does get a bit old.
Problems aside, this is undoubtedly one of the best Vita games and frankly one of the more enjoyable games I have played in a while on any system! I have no qualms recommending it, despite the fact that my final score is 4.25 out of 5.
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