Child of Light – Gamersledge.com Video Review
Balth reviews Ubisoft Montreal’s playable storybook/poem, Child of Light. Available on PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC for $14.99 as a digital download.
Watch the video review here:
Read below for the written review. Share your opinions in the comments or rate it if you’ve played it!
Child of Light is ubisoft’s playable poem available on all current and last gen systems as well as PC, retailing for fifteen dollars as a downloadable title.
Created by Ubisoft Montreal, the same team that brought us Far cry 3, child of light is, at its essence, part platformer, part puzzle game and largely an homage to the JRPG.
You play as a young princess named Aurora, who has been poisoned, but somehow finds herself magically transported to the land of lemuria. You are befriended by a firefly that suspiciously looks like a slime from the Dragon Quest JRPG series. The slime– I mean, Firefly leads you to a woman trapped inside a stained glass window. Once freed, she tells Aurora how lemuria’s queen of light was overthrown by Umbra, the Dark Queen, who has a way to send her back if she can restore the sun, moon and stars to their proper place in the sky and overthrow the dark queen. And thus your journey begins, encountering new (and even old) friends along the way.
The story is solid throughout the game, if not a little silly. The game’s text and speech is written in iambic pentameter (y know, Shakespeare) and sometimes the rhymes are a bit forced. But the game is short enough that it never grinds on you.
The first 30 minutes to an hour of the game are standard platforming and introduction to the combat system. Combat is turn based, with all participants, good and bad, moving on the timeline. Whenever a character gets to the end, they get to attack. You can affect people, knocking them backwards on the timeline or using your firefly to blind and distract them, slowing their movement on the timeline.
This is a very easy system to learn, but gets very deep over time.
Eventually you will begin crafting oculii, gems that affect you in battle, lending an elemental twist to your physical attacks, gaining more xp from battles or helping knock baddies backward on the timeline.
You will have to learn the recipies on your own, but it is by no means difficult.
As you level up, you will be able to spend skill points, which allows you to unlock items on a preset progression path, very similar to final fantasy ten’s sphere grid system.
Lastly there are permanent stat upgrade items that you can find throughout the world and through ubisoft’s Uplay service. This is the first time we have seen Uplay integrated into a console game and it works well. You still have trophies and achievements, but you get Uplay rewards as well, giving you access to all kinds of crafting and stat goodies.
My only criticisms of the gameplay is that although the combat system is fun, it just isn’t fun enough to support the amount of grinding you need to do in the game. It becomes a bit tedious over time. That’s not to say that playing and completing the game isn’t worth it, but I found it much more digestible to break play sessions into short, multiple chunks of time.
The UI is easy to use, the music is superb, having been composed by Monteeal Singer Coeur de Pirate but what will take your breath away are the graphics. The ubi art engine has made some beautiful Rayman games, but Child of Light very often looks like a watercolor painting come to life. The stylistic choices of how the team used light in and darkness to illustrate Aurora’s quest is almost an unspoken character throughout the story, a dichotomy emphasizing good and evil, life and death, health versus sickness — and it’s all done majestically with a presentation layer that is second to none.
No one actually said “ubisoft Montreal, we want a JRPG from you”. No, this was an internal initiative, a labor of love, and that bleeds through from every pixel and sound of the game. Although it doesn’t have the most engrossing or surprising story ever, it is a decent framework for a fun combat system, a beautiful medium and lush soundtrack. For its cost, it is a serious bang for the buck, and much like journey or walking dead, is one of those showcase pieces to begin a conversation. Despite its middle that lags a bit too long, and is a bit grindey, if you want to see and play a labor of love, this is the game for you. As a freshman outing, it is a solid beginning.