Thursday
May152014

QCF: Child of Light

he philosophy to telling a good fairy tale carries a specific ingredient for success that will always remain consistent to the process, no matter what the subject matter may be; imagination—just how much mileage does it stretch out of the minds of all who give the fable the time of day. The humble beginnings of a fairytale can make all the difference between merely entertaining you, to completely transporting you to completely different world entirely, and even when it’s all done, you’ll never exactly be the same ever again.

Ubisoft hit this nail square on with Child of Light, and it took everything within me to rip myself away from one of the most enchanting worlds I’ve been to in the last ten years, and I do this just so that I can share with you all, how incredible this unassumingly brilliant title really is.

At first glance, Child of Light’s visual design and graphic artistry can easily commands optical senses as if it were mere child’s play. Ubisoft’s in-house UbiArt Framework engine has truly outdone itself, as it brings all of the hand-drawn sensibilities of the numerous styles it muses inspiration from. These styles are instantly familiar upon its initial impression as the trademarks of Miyazaki, Amano, and Kondō are deeply woven into Child of Light’s tapestry, but the overall execution still manages to achieve a distinctively gorgeous presentation in its own right that stands above its homages instead of propping on them.

The captivating animations and color deliver the story of a sickly girl of royal lineage named Aurora. An arrogantly entitled, but ultimately kind little girl who shares a tight-knit bond with her father, the Duke of Austria, has dramatically succumbed to her ailment, falling into a deep sleep, but in actuality, is transported to the realm of Lemuria, where she’s destined to save the world she’s never known from an evil she was never prepared to face. Hearkening back to elements of Little Nemo in Slumberland and Spirited Away, Child of Light creates an authentic journey that will not only pit players against the dangers of Aurora’s quest, but her own personal demons that she’ll need to overcome as well, and her allies as well for that matter.

Everything from the growth of the characters to the trials of courage and sense of duty found in tales founded upon the coming-of-age formula works its way to create a bond between you and the world of Child of Light behind the scenes, the understatement in its immersion only strengthens the impact of resolve in your engagement to the game.

Underneath all of the vivid eye candy and enchanting plots that this whimsical RPG has to offer however, is where you’ll discover the refreshingly larger-than-life charm of Child of Light, a charm that most would never expect out of a video game.

Flying in two-dimensional plane of movement is far from new, hell that sensation was checked off back in 1990 with Super Mario Bros 3. However, the difference maker here is the collection of elements in motion that work cohesively to deliver the sweet feeling that soaring through Child of Lights brings. Factors like the architecture of the various stages that host the world of Lemuria expounds a new wonder into the once humble spectacle of flight, accomplishing a truly liberating sense of exploration from the very moment you ascend to the air, fueling a desire to cover every inch of real estate the terrain and airspace have to offer.

Every level traversed is deceptively bigger than the last, with intricate nooks and crannies housing treasures and secret doors that lead you even deeper into the mix. It’s remarkable how the portion of gameplay that’s the unadulterated second-fiddle to the underlined meat of title still showcases an immaculate sense of whimsy and fun in between all of the quests and combat.

There’s no question about it though, the combat and progression dynamics truly steal the show that’s being put on.

Carrying the same trend of juxtaposing styles and quirks from various properties into its own monster, the fusion of the active timeline and element system realize a genuinely captivating battle system that continually escape the threat of fatigue that plague other expansive JRPGS. Encountering new mobs only introduces new ways to experiment with the numerous tactics at your disposal, and with every introduction new enemies and party members, the system’s fun factor remains consistent because though these additions are subtlety introduced, they significantly keep the fighting fresh.

Aside from Auroa, you’ll encounter a gallery of strange and friendly faces who aid you, and each excel in a particular talent or strategy that comes into play based on how you choose to equip them or advance them in the various branches of the skill tree and what area of performance it centers on. Equipment is simply divided into different types of jewels that represent the various elemental classes to you attach to your party, making them more effective against it weaker opposite. Whiel the fuss doesn’t really add up to anything phenomenal on paper, it changes up battle in the most gratifying way when delegating actions in combat thanks to the Active timeline system.

Directing attacks and defense based not only the effectiveness of the matchup between your party member and the target but also the order of priority and the chance to render them helpless from responding by delaying them back to the start of the cycling timeline. Taking these aspects into consideration, and other nuances like using your firefly companion Ignacious to slowdown enemy progress along the timeline in order for you excel ahead to the casting point for example, can create a real sense of tension, and it’s that tension that counterbalances the otherwise, simplistic composition within Child of Light’s battle flow. Levels 20, 30, 40, it didn’t matter, I was constantly thrown into a process that provoked a considerable amount of thought, and the demand for vigilant deliberation only got stronger the further I went, and the excitement never got old, just better.

2014 has played the host of properly introducing brand new hardware, ideas, and support for radical new ideas for games of all shapes and sizes, but it was still missing an it factor, something memorable, like a game that transcended into being an experience; Child of Light is that experience that players have been waiting for in 2014. I don’t have a whole more to say, Ubisoft’s latest digital offering is nothing short of perfect, and it’s on everything, so quit reading already and go buy it now.

 

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