Monday, 29 October 2012

The Unfinished Swan: PS3 Game Review

The Unfinished Swan: PS3 Game Review

Released by Sony Home Computer Entertainment
Platform: PS3 via PSN

I have to say I am loving the creativity demonstrated by downloadable titles on the PSN.

Earlier this year, I was completely blown away by the haunting sights and sounds of Journey on the PS3, and now, The Unfinished Swan arrives heralding its creativity in a loud hailer and offering up signs that artistic vision and points of difference are in no way in danger of running short.

Basically, the story begins in the style of children's story book. You are Monroe, a boy whose mother loved to paint but whose artistic visions never allowed her to finish any of them. So, when she died, Monroe was taken into an orphanage but allowed to keep one of his mother's 300-plus paintings. He chooses a favourite, the Unfinished Swan, which was also his mother's fave too.

One day, Monroe discovers that the swan has escaped from the painting and, realising how much it meant to his mother, he sets out to retrieve it.

And if you think that's surreal, wait till the game begins.

From a first person perspective, you are faced with a world of sheer white; a screen of sleek colourlessness stretches before you. That is until you realise that by pressing the R1 button, or using the PS Move, you can launch giant globules of black into the murky world beyond and begin to see the world in front of you take shape as well as navigate your way around this bizarre world.

Firing globs of paint works for the first few levels and then you begin to use water bombs to help see your way - and it's here that the story takes a deeper twist - as you begin to see what the King did while he ruled the land Monroe finds himself in - it's a magical world so think giants, vines and mazes and you'd be on the right track. Each level has pages of a storybook within which you have to find and these help to paint the story as it clears literally in front of your eyes. Plus collecting balloons from around the world give you the chance to boost your paint/ water hurling powers - as well as other bits and bobs

The game designers here have created a world which is like a children's storybook but is also beautifully portrayed and hauntingly evocative - as you launch paint blobs and water bombs, you get to see parts of it unfurl in front of you like a slightly unfinished painting. It's wonderfully evocative as any art lover will tell you and it certainly adds to a unique vision on the screen. With voice work from Terry Gilliam as well as the king, it's definitely something different.

All in all, The Unfinished Swan shows a level of imagination and sophistication, mixed in with simplicity and innocence. It's an intriguing title and while not overly long (as many of these creative ones can be), it's certainly likely to engross you from the moment it begins - although I can't help but wish the game had been a little longer.


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