Original text too short.
Since the release of Journey in 2012, there has been an insatiable appetite for fancy adventures focused on exploration in a magical and inspiring landscape. Giant Squid ABU was one of those efforts, and one of the most successful. The Pathless follows a similar formula, but replaces the relaxed ABU atmosphere with a tension. The world is at risk.
To lift the curse and save the island, you must become the hunter. This is not a unique basis for a story, but chaining The Pathless on this basis would not be able to take into account a sandwich because it happens to be done with bread. In fact, you will want to take a look at the entire sandwich before deciding to buy soup instead.
Like the other games of this vein, The Pathless is more interested in showing only to tell. The dialogue and the written exhibition are limited to attractive bribes of the ghosts of former residents, leaving most of the construction of the world with visual and auditory delivery.
Amazing is not a strong word to describe The Pathless environments. Although the characters are shaded, the world itself is full of details. Run through a parcel of flowers leaves a drag of pushed stems, while the rain dances on all the surfaces it touches. It is absolutely beautiful and sweet with moving butter. This perfect fluidity encourages players to try to maximize the flow between the movements. The camera intelligently follows the hunter with lazy and spectacular panoramic through the magnificent landscapes. Every place where I fell had a real sense of the place, as if an unknown story had been lost in time. Small text extracts — echoes of the past — punctuate the most intriguing places, more creating a sense of wonder. It’s really well-made.
The music, written by the remarkable Austin Wintry, is just as important for the general atmosphere of the world. The soundscape is usually minimal in The Pathless, which makes each instrument, and each note, much more visible. It has a dark tone that really suits the game, with sections of Celtic ropes at the extending limit for tribal battery beats as the action resumes. In boss meetings, music seems straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. It perfectly matches each action, guiding the emotional state of the player as much as the visual presentation.
If you have seen trailers for The Pathless, you know that movement and mobility are important elements of the mechanics of the game. Each of the world trays is Gargantua, points of interest being often remote from each other. Fortunately, move is a joy. On the ground, the hunter can use his bow to hit strategically placed floating targets around the card, generating energy for it rushing. The lock is automatic, it is easy to start, but the control of the dashboard is another story. Pull on the target in full flight gives Hunter a boost in height, and the timing is all if you really want to feel the stream. There are places where you have to nail 4 or 5 targets in perfect succession to get the height you will need, but fortunately, these places also have easier alternative paths. For a game without points and few rewards, I felt strangely obliged to take the path of elegance whenever possible.
In the air, the hunter uses his companion Eagle to plan or to beat and gain height. Sliding alone is fun, but the combination of the terrestrial and aerial crossing is where things really happen. You can give up a plain, shoot a target to increase speed and height, then resume the hover for maximum distance. With a little practice, browse the entire card can often be a single and fluid movement chain. It’s not mechanically complex, but there is just enough talent to feel a ton of satisfaction when you do things properly.
When you do not cross, you are usually confusing. The hunter uses his bow a lot to turn on flames and pull through the rings, gathering totems that unlock obelisks. Riddles are not very difficult, and it’s a good thing here. The Pathless is to experience the world, and set up artificial difficulty barriers is simply not his thing. Unfortunately, puzzles can become pretty repetitive after a few hours despite some twists in the formula. I have always had fun doing them, but the downtime or the calculations were at least on time 4.
Stealth sections are more repetitive than puzzles. A red storm travels each tray before cleaning up, and taken in the storm triggers a stealth section. There is no real thing, except stopping when you are in the light. They are not fun and in the third occurrence, I had completely finished with them. It’s a bizarre inclusion.
Once you have enough MacGuffIn-ed, the hunter can undertake a battle of boss and clean up one of the spirits that supervise the world. The battles are a fun change of the formula and another chance for the phenomenal soundtrack to shine, but they finally lead to the next tray — where the process starts again.
That each tray is largely the same is correct. The main loop is fun and the world continues to be beautiful. Running and moving while solving small shooting puzzles and jumps is far from being a chore. But given how amazed I was amazed during the first hours, I was hoping to see my expectations broken several times along the way.
The Pathless is a great game. It is more than amazing, with a remarkable soundtrack and a phenomenal meaning of the place. The refined crossing mechanisms make a large part of the bulk of work, while boss riddles and fighting could use an additional dose of variety. Although the formula gets tired at the end of the story, The Pathless is proudly among the giants like Journey.
Beautiful world and animation
Becomes repetitive over time
Disappointing stealthy bits
McMuffins in Logo