Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Child of Light: PS4 Review

Child of Light: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Ubisoft

I first set eyes on Child of Light when offered a chance of a preview of Ubisoft's new game earlier in the month.

Now, the full version's been released as a complete game, and it's time to dive back into the magical fairy tale world all over again.

The side scrolling game sees you taking control of Aurora. She's a child stolen from her home and is desperate to get home to her father. Initially lost in the woodlands of a nightmarish world and thinking she needs to wake up, Aurora meets Igniculus, the firefly, who becomes her ally in this quest (and is controlled in a similar manner to Murfy from the Rayman game) - between the two of them they have to face all manner of nasty creatures in the woods, solve a few puzzles (using Igniculus' light powers) and try and face their darkest fears.

As the pair venture through the world together, they face demons, beasties and creepers as they try to tackle the perils and get Aurora back to her world. But the battles aren't exactly the easiest thing to initially get your head around - using the whole it's your turn first combat mentality, it's down to you to cast the first stone or choose to defend. Using a timeline method you see who's about to strike and can even use Igniculus to slow them down during combat by shining brightly upon them.

You can also avoid combat completely by using the dazzling Igniculus method - but I'd caution against doing that too often as each victory grants you XP and a chance to power up. If you choose to ignore that, then you end up facing enemies against insurmountable odds and who beat you simply because you don't have enough in the reserve to take them on. It's a smart move and while occasionally it makes combat a little tedious, the fact it's a necessity pays off further down the track. Companions that you meet can be added into the gameplay and it makes the fighting a little bit more fun in terms of numbers and fairer if you're taking on three enemies. (It's very similar to the back and forth method employed by South Park: The Stick of Truth earlier this year).

Visually, the game is absolutely sumptuous. Once again, Ubisoft has used the paintings style backgrounding technique so deftly employed in Rayman and it works to bring an ethereal and childlike feel to this story. With her Merida style red hair, Aurora is a simply charming heroine that'll be fun to help on her quest. The animation is smoothly done and the action (such as it is) is occasionally interrupted by a kind of cartoon-like story being told, as well as with rhyming couplets being seen on screen. All of this (crudely described by me) adds to a feeling of a poem and tale being sketched out on the PS4 by the UBISOFT team.

There are many familiar traits shared with Rayman - parts of the landscape are hidden and will only be revealed when you wonder near to their locale and the wishes that appear for you to collect operate in a similar manner to the Lums of the games. You get extra powers throughout and can end up flying around to help you traverse the land. There are collectibles as well, including potions and the ability to port up your powers.

There's something magical about Child of Light - something which taps into the dreams you'd have as a child and the fairytales you'd read.Aurora's a charming character, an encapsulation of innocence in a world of darkness. The game itself is also something different; an indication that perhaps the simplest of premises can be turned into the most enchanting of experiences.


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