Child of Light Review
developer: Ubisoft Montreal
|ESRB rating: RP
release date: Apr 30, 14
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Child of Light had all the potential of being just another pretty face for the new generation of consoles without much substance. After all, Ubisoft was pimping out those gorgeous screenshots of the game’s watercolor art through social media as if this was the game’s only asset. I can’t lie; the stunning visuals and the appeal of playing a watercolor painting for a game were my biggest draws. Not to mention after playing Lightning Returns, I really wanted to play an RPG that didn’t make me hate myself. While Child of Light does really nothing new in terms of RPG gameplay or even story--it’s a fairy tale story involving a wicked step-mother; how generic can you get--so much about it sank its hooks into me and kept my hands firmly around my PS4 controller.
Love the hair animation. Bloody awesome!
Just leave me alone, you stupid raindrop!
Aurora, a little girl, is the game’s protagonist who collapses into a Sleeping Beauty-like coma shortly after her father remarries. Her body may be in a coma in the real world, but Aurora has awoken in the world of Lemuria, a fairy tale world that is under the harsh rule of Umbra, Queen of the Night. If Aurora wants to get back home and be reunited with her father, she must restore Lemuria back to its former glory and defeat the evil Queen.
Yes, this is generic and akin to every fairy tale ever written; go on ahead and roll your eyes. Continue rolling them, because the game goes as far as to rhyme everything. All dialogue and narration are told in a rhyme, and that is just as annoying as it sounds. Every time the partymembers stop to talk to one another in rhyme, which happens whenever you bring in a new friend, I constantly skip through it. At least only the narrator’s lines are spoken, so I’m not treated to an oral nursery rhyme every five minutes.
Those are really my only complaints, and it did not stop my enjoyment of the combat or the vast exploration the game offers.
Combat is your standard turn-based faire, but it has a few tweaks to spice it up. Players will battle up to three enemies at a time but can only bring in two people from the party. However, these partymembers can be switched out at anytime, without losing your turn, even if you have a partymember down. So players can bring in someone to buff up the party and then swap them out for a master magician without worrying about losing a turn.
The turns are determined by each participant’s speed. A time gauge lies at the bottom of the screen, and everyone moves along the gauge at his/her speed. When they reach beginning of the casting bar, that’s when players can enter in the commands they want. Each command takes a certain time to cast, which determines the speed the character runs through the rest of the gauge. Characters can be interrupted during casting if they are attacked while in this casting bar, which bumps them back down the line.
Need some light. Now.
You bugs asked for this!
As an added bonus for players, Aurora has a firefly companion, Igniculus, who can be used in combat to slow down the enemies’ trek through the time gauge. Once you get the hang of how he can be used to manipulate the casting bar, you can wrangle interrupting the enemies to the point that they never get a chance to fight back. Igniculus has a few more abilities throughout the game than just that, although using him to slow down enemies is quite possibly his best attribute. During combat, Igniculus can heal partymembers by either using his magic or by collecting wishes from flowers. By collecting wishes, he can replenish his own abilities as well as refill magic and health for the party. Igniculus’s powers are also important for solving puzzles, opening treasure boxes, retrieving out-of-reach items, and blinding enemies in the overworld to allow the player to ambush them in combat. If you happen to have a second controller, a second player can take command of Igniculus for you. As Child of Light is an RPG, it has more of the necessary RPG elements than just turn-based combat with a large party and saving the world. Exploration and side quests are also key! Child of Light is two-dimensional, but it has quite the large vertical space, which hides many chests, side quests, and optional partymembers. Like any good RPG, this is where I spent most of time, which was quite useful for grinding and leveling up my large cast.
Child of Light isn't perfect, but it’s a gorgeously fun RPG nonetheless. I never once found myself bored running and flying around Lumeria, and yes, it helped that I never stopped being amazed at the jaw-dropping art at every turn. However, with the wide variety of partymember skills, the combat that never let me slack, and the ability to wander whenever I choose, I couldn’t have been bored even if the art was lackluster. For $15, I cannot recommend Child of Light to RPG fans enough.
Stunning watercolor art style, vast vertical exploration, and atypical turn-based combat make this a delight for RPG-fans;
If only the game didn't rhyme. This is supposed to be like a children's fairy tale, I get it, but the rhyming was never, ever enjoyable.
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