Anyone who has ever laid eyes on Kena has only marvelled its stunning visuals and impeccable design. The game looks like a Pixar movie and then some, but then, the visual competence of Kena though has never been in question. Designed by the animation studio Ember Lab it is the transition to making games that gaming fans have wondered about. For most parts Kena delivers and there are some neat flourishes that make it one of a kind but a brilliant game this is not.
My early experiences with the game were nothing short of breath taking as I gathered a galore of visuals and was lost in the wonderful music score, but a few hours in I realized that the two were elevating a gameplay experience that wasn’t stand-out. Kena despite the audio-visual perfection has combat actions similar to Aloy in Horizon (courtesy a very similar staff to wield), rock climbing sequences similar to Uncharted and Tomb Raider, a world design similar to old-school Nintendo RPGS (where specific sections only open up only after certain plot-points)and puzzles to solve from games like God of War.
Despite the similarities, Kena’s strength lies in its gameplay design, you are never fighting or exploring or solving puzzles for too long, the three are interspersed in an enjoyableaction cocktail. Kena also has the most adorable fuzzy set of characters in her sidekicks, called rots, and they do about everything from fight the big bosses to solve puzzles. The game allows you to customize their headgear and I spent quite a bit to try them all out on my Rot army. Kena can be extremely adorable at times.
As a modern action RPG though, Kena lacks on several key fronts. It is a bit too short at 9 hours and on the PlayStation at over Rs 3,000 that isn’t value. The combat while fast and responsive lacks the ability to lock into enemies and is a bit glitched. Several times I wanted to fire an arrow and Kena clubbed her staff forcefully instead. The weapon upgrades are minimal and don’t change the status-quo much as your combat style doesn’t change or adapt. At the highest difficulty most, combat scenarios are the same from start to finish strategy wise as nothing else works. The breath-taking visuals and sound also need good game play to back them up and Kena is a bit short on that.
A good first game, or maybe a 9-hour demo of Ember Lab’s abilities? I am hopeful for what they serve up next, the starters though were a bit undercooked.
What Stands Out:
The game’s visuals and animation sequences, this is by far the best-looking game this year
The soundtrack and the characters are very well designed they nearly complement the visuals to perfection.
Fails to Impress:
The combat is a little unrefined and too simplistic for a game in the Action RPG genre. The game could do with an enemy locking system and the combat could do with some much-needed variation
The ending leaves you hanging and desiring for more but not in a good way.
Title: Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Developer: Ember Lab
Game Type: Single playerAction Role Playing Game
Platforms: PS5, PS4 and Windows
Price: Rs 3,330 on thePS5 store, Rs 939on Epic
Innovative Gameplay: 4
Game Handling & Quality: 4
Value for Time: 4.5
Value for Money: 3
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