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Ubisoft released the new turn based RPG game Child of Light to the public this Wednesday. Will it live up to the hype compared with the other turn based RPG’s from history? Well read on and find out.
The first thing that struck me with Ubisoft Montreal’s Child of Light is it’s amazing graphics. No, I don’t mean the most lifelike graphics ever that everyone seems to be trying these days, I mean how beautiful and almost painted the scenery is. It is as though you’re looking at a watercolor painting with exceptional attention to detail and an amazing array of colors and textures. I have never seen a game look so pleasing on the eye yet not attempt to be 100% life like. A great job done by the team here and something which really blends into the magical feel of the game. The game has been built using the UbiArt Framework engine that powers the recent Rayman games and runs extremely fluidly. It seems that a massive amount of focus has been set for how the game looks and feels and it seems that every other area has been given the same amount of detail which is immensely pleasing.
As well as the gorgeous graphics the team at Ubisoft has done a cracking job with the audio which offers a magical aura through out the game. The soundtrack feels magical and fitting for a fairy tale and is contrasted but the sudden roar of a philharmonic orchestra when the player character is locked in battle. The sound track completely complements the game and is a pleasure on the ears. The player character known as Aurora has the ability to fly meaning you can attack the world vertical or horizontally and with the ability to summon a support character (player 2) the game is open to multiplayer action in the form of a sentient firefly known as Igniculus who can be controlled either by a second player as mentioned before or by using the right stick in single-player. Igniculus’ main role during exploration is to highlight dark areas and aid in picking up items, hit switches and open doors to help you progress in the game.
Child of Light does in fact feature half a dozen characters who will drift in and out of your party depending on the storyline, your undertaking and like in a lot of popular RPG’s your decisions affect the storyline. Each character has a story to tell and generally adds to your mission objectives and even more importantly, each party member offers positive help during the excellent combat system.
The game puts players in the shoes of Aurora, a child stolen from her home, who, in her quest to return, must bring back the sun, the moon and the stars held captive by the mysterious Queen of the Night. Quite an imaginative storyline but not the most original. It has that kind of JRPG twang and the narration and dialogue although sometimes not very expressive is interesting enough to keep you involved. As seen in a lot of games in the genre the player character can “pull” or engage an enemy if one desires or avoid if you would prefer not to fight. Battles are general one or two versus two or there and you have the ability to swap out any of your characters for another in your party.
The whole fight scenario is set around a time bar located on the HUD with character icons moving along the same bar at the bottom of the screen. When the bar is full or ready you can then select which action to take whether it be to attack or to defend. Each action takes a set time to perform, which will dictate how quickly your character icon moves in the bar. Actions, however, can be interrupted so during that important heal or that one last attack on the enemy it can become annoying to be interrupted, although this definitely adds a needed dimension to the game.
More skills and characters are unlocked over time which offer additional options which offer a great variation to the game. Here you have the ability to balance your characters by choosing which attack or defense combinations work to defeat your target. Powerful Target-All attacks with enemies that can auto-counter may not be the correct method for that enemy so it’s great to experiment with different moves until you find the best blend for combat. This does make the game interesting but also shows that the first part of the game is not too difficult where you require little to no attention on your characters build. This is the only thing with Child of Light that disappointed me and I felt that the different skill sets could have been introduced earlier in the game in order to make it more concurrent throughout and the very vanilla battle tutorials don’t really offer too much int he way of advice especially when considering the deep crafting system which becomes a focus in late game.
With that being said, the level progression is very fluid and the XP system and skill points help your team level up every few battles and on another positive note the new game plus offers the chance to change up the difficulty meaning you can choose such things as increasing the pace of the battles at any time, which provides a different challenge to your squad.
Child of Light is a wonderful title that really defines the 2D turn based RPG genre. Although the battle system at times can be a little easy the game does more than enough at keeping the player interested and just shows how amazing a game can look without going for that true to life look. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed playing Child of Light and if RPG’s are your thing then this is one you won’t want to miss!<