left Playstation 5 review
key: Zohar Productions Publisher: Square Enix | genre: Action RPG
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PC | Tested in: PlayStation 5
left He plays awkwardly.
A high-fantasy melodrama from the point of view of a weary New Yorker who finds herself far from home, left It is both full of clichés and bursting with unique world building. The game emphasizes fashion and self-expression through the equipment and the extensive list of magic spells, but forces replay on the player at every turn. It’s often spectacular, with amazing particle effects and a seamless open world, and just as often washed out and empty as can be. The plot, writing and characters are paper thin, but every now and then you come across something heartbreaking and true. It will be loved; It will be hated. It will be met with a collective shrug and may come back years from now in a clickbait article titled “Five Former (Almost) PlayStation 5 Exclusives That Are Better Than You Think.” Somehow both under and over-ambitious, left There are elements of a great game trapped in the form of a mediocre game.
Curious more and more curious
Credit where it’s due: Mega-Publisher Square Enix It’s worth celebrating an effort to get a new IP in an age where remakes, remasters, updated ports are the norm. While not every new IP is home run, the company’s willingness to throw capital behind an untested franchise is a net gain. Too bad, then left does not reach the heights of Horizon Zero Dawn Or other big budget titles. Instead, Brilliant productions Created a title with some amazing mechanics and interesting world building held back by the conventions of bog standard AAA open world design.
left Introduces players to the fantasy world of Athia through the eyes of seasoned New Yorker Alfer “Frey” Holland. Fry is an orphan and an outsider, running around New York with only her cat, Homer, for company. Days before Christmas, a well-meaning judge lets her out of a possible prison sentence on the condition that Frey turns her life around. Fry, on the verge of skipping town, promises to do so, but is instead pushed to the brink by a gang of thugs she used to associate with. Out of options, and on the verge of doing something drastic, Frey is suddenly drawn to a mysterious bracelet languishing in an abandoned antique shop. She wears it and is immediately transported through a portal to a mysterious and magical land.
Bathia, Frey is a fish out of water, a stranger in a strange land, someone who fell down the rabbit hole and emerged from the other side afraid and fascinated by what she found. It’s a well-worn but intriguing premise. Atia, once green and lush, is slowly being conquered by the Break, a magical storm that spreads and turns humans into zombies and animals into horrific mutations. The rulers of the land, powerful Atriarchs known as Tantas, are absent in action or have gone mad and abuse their power. But Fry’s arrival in Athia is a sign of hope for many of its residents. Unfazed and unfazed by the break, Perry uses her newfound magical powers and the help of her companion Cuff to interrogate Atia and try to bring the Tantas to heel.
The environments themselves are amazing, provided the player takes the time to fiddle with their graphics settings. Each tenta dominates a different corner of Atia, and each area is visually distinct. The deserts and canyons of Pranost are easily distinguishable from the pools and forests of Avalet. Frey’s primary method of movement is her signature magical parkour, and once she builds up some momentum and masters a few skills, she can tear up miles of scenery without breaking a sweat. Parking through fields, towns, up and over walls, and eventually making your way across vast gaps and up a clean mountainside is exciting, but the player may find their attention wandering over time. It’s worth noting that the game often feels blindingly bright; Mileage may vary depending on HDR capabilities, but it’s worth fiddling with brightness and contrast for a more enjoyable visual experience.
left Suffers from what plagues many other games of its kind: its world is beautiful, but there isn’t much to do as time passes. The reason in the game for the empty tracks in the world, but doesn’t make it more fun to explore. The landscape of Atia is littered with crumbling ruins, towering guild halls, and bridges hundreds of meters long, but even though there are dozens of landmarks to visit, the activities the player engages in are simply insufficient. There are find boxes, where the player can find crafting materials to improve Frey’s robes and chains, and sunken dungeons reminiscent of the Grail dungeons of in the blood. There are combat challenges and hidden caves and Tante monuments that boost Frey’s stats, but nothing feels like a must-see. Although the overall scenery is beautiful, locations lack identity.
There are some exceptions. The Pilgrim Asylums, which I’m sure Frey can travel to quickly, are a must-see. In Refuge, Frey can create healing potions, improve her equipment, and open a book to upgrade her spells. She can also rest and recover her health, and if she has visited the necessary place, can cuddle with a familiar cat. It is also essential to visit fountains of power, usually in the farthest corners of the map. Everyone Frey visits unlocks a special spell, granting Frey a new ability she wouldn’t normally be able to learn through her normal skill tree.
Character designs are also a highlight, for the most part. Fry’s capes, necklaces and nail art feel unique and inspired. She even rocks her jeans, flannel shirt, and sneakers underneath her fancier attire. NPC designs are more uneven, too flashy or too muted. To be an NPC in Atia, you wear beige or dress like model Alexander McQueen.
Frey’s abilities are tied to the elementals, with each skill tree reflecting Tante’s powers. When Frey first arrives in Aethia, she and Cuff are confined to the ground element, throwing rocks at enemies and rooting them to the ground with powerful vines. In no time, she will fight the fearsome Silla, and unleash the power of Tante’s fire magic of power. Each skill tree instantly adds half a dozen spells to Frey’s repertoire, with dozens more to learn and upgrade by the end of the adventure. There are support spells and attack spells, and swapping between them builds powerful Surge abilities. The magic and fighting of left It’s a high point, unfortunately undone by a rather steep learning curve and a lack of real incentive to learn its intricacies on lower difficulty settings.
Throwing spells and parkouring around the battlefield is an adrenaline rush. Each battle is ranked, and seeing the score improve feels empowering. Ranks can be increased by several factors: variety of spells used, healing or causing status effects, hitting the enemy’s elemental weak point, dodging an attack using parkour and hitting the enemy from behind, all are essential to rank and earn more experience points and items. Combat challenges ask the player to use every trick in the book, though the boss fights are less demanding than one might expect, at least on the normal difficulty setting.
However, strangely, the game never really pushes players to improve. The player can choose to engage in combat as much or as little as he wants. in fact, left Doesn’t ask much of the player at all; While the freedom to choose what to do next and where to go is welcome, there just isn’t much incentive to engage with most of the systems at hand. What’s more, even when they do decide to go deep, the player is rewarded with some of the least engaging, slow-paced side content imaginable, held together by performances and voice acting that range from unintentionally hilarious to woefully bad.
We are all angry here
Much has been said about the dialogue in left, especially the one between Frey and her bracelet thinking partner, Cuff. Some find it cringe-inducing, some think it’s excessive, and some think it’s simple too much of it. Amazingly, there’s an in-game reason for Cuff’s frequent chatter, but the real problem isn’t how much or how little dialogue there is, but what’s being said in the first place.
Aethia is a magical land, no doubt, but the residents of the central city of Sipal talk like they’re standing at a Renaissance fair. The performances of “Ye olde english” are distractingly annoying, as is the choice for adults to voice children. It becomes hard to take the game’s self-serious tone at face value when every supporting character’s acting is as refined as possible. A few great actors, such as Oden, Robian and the Tantai themselves, do better, but for the most part the conversations suffer from an awkward pace.
As for Frey and Cuff, players will either be on board, or find themselves changing the language in the “settings” menu. Fry, voiced by me These are Balinese, does an admirable job conveying the fear and wonder of finding herself in a completely new environment. She is goofy, caring and compassionate, although some may find the script a bit too much “whores” to give. Fry is a New Yorker through and through, and happily curses everyone she meets throughout the adventure. She feels connected and alienated at the same time, someone who would be great to have a drink with and a nightmare to ask to babysit. Frey throws out the phrase “mad asshit” a lot more than one might reasonably expect. Although its performance is solid, the writing can feel exhausting.
Cuff’s banter with Fry isn’t as bad as trailers made it out to be; The real crime is the repetitive nature of their commentary. When entering a shelter, Cuff will almost certainly say they “can’t wait to unload”, and Frey will always reply, “…unload what?” Funny the first time, not so much at twenty.
This speaks to a larger problem of left In general: although there is an abundance of activities and a variety of characters, the player cannot shake the feeling that this has all been done before. leftThe structure of means that the late game comes in a rush, throwing exposition and new spells at the player in a deluge where things previously felt like more of a trickle. The player can pace themselves for the most part, but the novelty of exploration wears off after racing through several areas in search of more crafting material or another great cape.
indeed leftThe gameplay of the game can be delightful, and rewarding in itself, it is at odds with the structure that allows the player to run past anything resembling a challenge on the way to the next waypoint. There is real fun to be had, especially if the player invests time and energy in learning how to best use their magical spells to be an effective fighter. But after fighting mutants, nightmares and tentacles galore, there just isn’t much in the way of satisfying stories. left presents a well-realized world, but players are stuck discovering it by reading journal entries found in a side dungeon or locked in place while stiffly animated characters exchange dialogue. For all the ray tracing, particle effects and the complete absence of loading screens made possible by the power of the PlayStation 5 and the updated PCs, left Feeling stuck in game design conventions from over a decade ago.
It is not enough to have a large map with dozens of points of interest to visit; There must be a compelling reason to do so. Creative materials and occasionally well-written archival entries are not enough. How fun the journey from A to B can be leftReaching a given goal is rarely more satisfying than a slight stat increase. left It’s not a bad game overall, but it lacks substance. It’s a shame that a game that runs this smoothly on modern hardware lacks the polish to be considered a classic.