B1 Intermediate US 953 Folder Collection
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Ever since the UbiArt Framework engine debuted with Rayman Origins, I've wanted to see it
used for more games. That game, and its sequel, was simply gorgeous, and I was curious to
how well the engine would work with different styles. With the release of Child of Light,
I finally have my answer and the results are incredible. But even though the game looks
great, how well does it play? After all, it's rare that western game studios create a Japanese-styled
RPG. The story focuses on a young girl named Aurora
who one day finds herself in a wondrous land called Lemuria. She soon learns that the sun,
the moon, and the stars have been stolen away by a Dark Queen. Recovering them is the only
way back home so she sets out with a magical firefly named Igniculus to save this new world.
Despite its simple premise, the plot is quite good. The characters are memorable and the
stakes do become high at points. But overall, the game maintains a sense of whimsy and enchantment
right down to the constant rhyming amongst all the characters.
This same sense of enchantment comes across in the gameplay as well. Like Rayman, Child
of Light is completely 2D and while this could have limited how much exploration was possible,
it doesn't thanks to Aurora's fairy wings. Not long into the game, she gains these wings
and the ability to fly. They truly open the world up and encouraged me to explore every
nook and cranny, especially since item boxes and permanent stat boosts are placed all over.
Getting around isn't always easy however. Strong gusts of wind, flowing water, and spiked
walls all get in the way, which gives exploration a puzzle-like quality.
Igniculus is just as useful. While normally he follows Aurora around, at any time he can
be controlled with the right analog stick or the Game Pad if you're playing on a Wii
U. He can collect items from far away, open special chests, or even collect wishes that
refill his light energy. Turning on his light can stun enemies and solve puzzles, but it's
most important during battle. However, it should be noted that a second player can take
control of Igniculus at any time to help. And they're most helpful during battles. Fights
use an active time battle system similar to Final Fantasy, but it's marked by a bar at
the bottom of the screen. Every character appears on the bar and when they reach the
Cast line, they can choose an action. Depending on the action, it will either be a short wait
or a much longer one to reach the end of the Cast section. Once it does, the action will
be performed. However, if that character is attacked while casting, the move will be interrupted
sending them back down the bar. It's here that a lot of strategy takes place as I found
myself figuring out who to attack and when in order to best maximize my moves.
Igniculus adds another layer of strategy since shining his light on an enemy will slow their
progress along the bar. This allowed me to manipulate how far along they were and keep
enemies on a near endless loop of getting interrupted until they were defeated. While
the selection of characters does become quite large, only two of them can be in battle at
one time. Knowing each one's strengths and when to use them against certain enemies became
paramount, especially when it came to stat bonuses.
Leveling up increases stats like usual, but there's also a tech tree for each character
that can further buff their abilities. Along the way, they can also obtain new actions
or power up their existing ones. There are three branches for each tech tree allowing
for some limited personalization. And finally, jewels can be collected and assigned to different
equipment slots for various power-ups. Although the basic ones are naturally simple, they
can be crafted together to create stronger jewels with even better bonuses.
Overall, the battle system is quite good, but I found myself falling into a repetitive
rhythm. I'd recognize the enemy; bring out the best character to deal with it, and use
Igniculus to control its speed. It would get tricky at times, but I never felt like I had
to change up my strategies to deal with them. This became the most obvious during boss battles.
While some would try to throw curves at me when I interrupted their casting, I was almost
always able to lock them in a loop of constant interruptions. It felt good to be so powerful
but dull because nothing really challenged these strategies I created.
And while at first getting new abilities was rewarding, eventually all I was doing was
powering them up. The most rewarding element for me was always the crafting and managing
which jewels would work best with which character. The gameplay just became repetitious for me.
The same could not be said for the presentation though. The design of Lemuria is breathtaking
in how it portrays moving storybook art. There isn't a single area of the game that isn't
memorable. The music, likewise, is just as captivating. It can be a little haunting at
times, but it always gives a sense that this is a magical world. Even during the battle
theme, the music pumps you up while still fitting the theme of Lemuria.
Child of Light is a beautiful game with excellent level design. The story is entertaining and
held my interest throughout its twelve to fifteen hour runtime. It's the gameplay that
didn't keep my interest. There are a lot of good ideas in there, and it certainly provides
its own twist to active time battles. However, a lack of variation eventually softened my
enjoyment. Overall, I like Child of Light and encourage anyone interested in its unique
style to try it out for themselves. Thanks for watching and be sure to stay tuned to
GameXplain for more on all things gaming.
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Child of Light - Video Review (Wii U)

953 Folder Collection
Evangeline published on May 27, 2015
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