Developers: Supergiant Games
Price: 19.99 euros
Available on: PS4, PC
Review console: PC (copy was purchased)
A bit about the game:Pyre is a high-fantasy action RPG with an arcade sport game and strategy influenced combat as well as a visual novel style, text heavy narrative. It challenges the player character known as the reader- due to their ability to read written text and derive meaning, something which most characters are unable to do- to direct his fellow characters through the purgatory world they find themselves in, in order to partake in mystical ceremonies that will allow them to cleanse their souls and earn a chance to regain their freedom. The characters have unique stories and abilities that can be used to defeat rival groups of exiles-also equipped with unique stories and abilities-through the ceremonies, known as rites. The game features an ‘easy to learn, hard to master’ battle system that is reminiscent of other action RPGs and a compelling, multi-path narrative that has no game over screens and rewards sticking with the results no matter what those are.
- Excellent combat with depth and variety.
- Unique feeling characters with different advantages/disadvantages.
- Design ethos that rewards players willing to experiment and risk but also allows for practice and getting used to different feeling characters.
- Finely paced inclusion of mechanics and characters that kept the experience varied and surprising until the end.
- Instances where the player is stuck with characters they do not enjoy using-even after getting used to them or understand their intricacies- are not fun.
Visuals& Technical Performance: 10/10
- Beautifully detailed and imagined world that is varied and a treat to look at; from colorful deserts to sea filled maps, to smaller details like the wagon animations to more obvious visuals like the characters, every aspect of the visual presentation is top-notch.
- After 14 hours with the game, no bugs, glitches or technical issues were encountered.
- None. I fell in love with the style of the game, all the smaller details and the execution, which was in my opinion flawless.
Sound& Music: 9/10
- Exemplary use of an OST to create atmosphere, with the bonus that, the music is integrated within the game in a beautiful fashion; standout tracks get stuck in your head and, probably, in your playlist.
- Sound design is exemplary as well with appropriate, non-immersion breaking sounds mixed with mood setting sounds such as the way the old, beaten up wagon muscles through the rough terrain.
- Only voice over work existent is “The Voice” which is an ethereal presence that narrates the rites and is excellent in his role.
- No voice over work- besides “The Voice” and a few generic sounds for each character- which considering the vast amounts of dialogue or text that has to be read, would have been nice and alleviate the workload to read through it.
- Deep, interesting and well executed narrative that surprises with twists and turns that never feel forced or like they came out of nowhere.
- Character development is excellent for all characters, which is incredible considering how many characters there are and how well-developed each one of them is; every character, friend and foe, has their own backstory, goal and personalities.
- World building is also quite strong if you can read through the intimidating amount of text and found in the story as well; the world of Pyre is one of racial tensions, social inequalities and one that lost the meaning of their ancestors’ great history.
- Due to ‘the reader’ concept, the game introduces a ‘hover over important text to get more information’ story-telling mechanic that serves for more fluent and organic dialogue-thus showcasing the strong writing of the game.
- One of the few games that manages to pull off the ‘no game over screen’ mechanic with incredible satisfaction; the game rewards the player for sticking by their decisions and end results, thus making the experience, regardless of what happened, feel right even if you’ve “failed”.
- The strongest compliment to the narrative is that when choosing who to anoint for their chance of freedom, it was always a narrative choice-meaning it was made with the character’s backstory, goals and personality in mind- rather than a gameplay one.
- While the visual novel style of delivering the story suits the game, it also makes it hard to keep focus in the story. There were multiple times when after a tense rite, the game unlocked various tomes which were hard to focus on, let alone remember the story this tome continues; thus in multiple occasions I either skipped the tomes to read later or I had to read all the others to get to grips with the story again.
Pyre is an excellent continuation of the original, fun and thoughtful games out of Supergiant Games. Its combat is a joy to interact with, as execution of meticulously planned tactics formed with the unique set of characters in mind to overcome the challenge of the rites is a satisfying and joyful experience. Furthermore, the deep narrative, excellent writing and world building, unique and beautiful aesthetics as well as the excellent music and sounds of the game, make it more than just a mechanics based experience.
As always the G.R.IN.D. is recommended for those who want a more in-depth analysis. You can find it by clicking here.