Kena: Bridge of Spirits
September twenty first, 2021
Platform PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC (Epic Video games Retailer)
Writer Ember Lab
Developer Ember Lab
Appearances may be very deceiving in life and video video games. At first look, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, the primary sport developed by Ember Lab, appears like a quite simple action-adventure sport that does not have an entire lot occurring outdoors of its attractive, Pixar Studios influenced visuals. In actuality, there are fairly a couple of issues the sport has acquired it going for itself, so many who it virtually feels onerous to imagine that that is the studio’s very first title.
In Kena: Bridge of Spirits, gamers take management of Kena, a Spirit Information who roams the land in the hunt for spirits to assist. On this unnamed world, many are those that can not transfer on to the subsequent life as a consequence of remorse or unfinished enterprise, and it is as much as folks like Kena to make issues proper. Her obligation finally brings her to a land suffering from a mysterious corruption, which she should filter with the assistance of some mates earlier than reaching a sacred mountain shrine.
Sadly, the story of Kena: Bridge of Spirits is nothing to put in writing residence about, as it’s fairly primary and would not transfer past the boundaries of a basic good versus evil story. Characters additionally get little growth throughout the sport, which is a disgrace, as their design, facial expressions, and animations make them immediately likable. Even Kena herself stays undeveloped, and her backstory is hardly explored throughout the course of the journey. It is an actual disgrace, because the sport’s universe and characters really feel like they’ve numerous untapped potential.
Whereas Kena: Bridge of Spirits would not ship in relation to story and character growth, it positively does by way of gameplay, regardless that it actually would not convey something new to the desk.
It is clear that Ember Lab has been impressed by Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda sequence, as Kena: Bridge of Spirits does really feel like a lite model of any 3D entry within the franchise. Controlling the Spirit Information, gamers must discover a decently sized map the place all areas really feel available however can solely be accessed with the appropriate capability or merchandise. This semi-open-world strategy works nice, because it permits gamers to department out after they really feel like in the hunt for collectibles and elective content material with out making the journey really feel too dispersive. Kena additionally controls very easily, which makes exploring the luscious areas within the sport fairly satisfying.
With a mysterious corruption plaguing the land, it isn’t shocking that Kena should battle many various enemies to make it to the mountain shrine. Fight is the function that truthfully stunned me probably the most. It begins extraordinarily primary and uninteresting, together with your typical lock-on mechanics, gentle and heavy assaults, dodging and parrying mechanics, and really restricted enemy selection. As I discussed earlier, appearances may be very deceiving, and fight utterly adjustments into a way more involving affair as soon as gamers unlock a couple of further talents.
The primary mechanic that makes fight a lot better than it’s within the first few hours are the Rot mechanics. Throughout the journey, Kena meets these cute little spirits referred to as the Rot that assist her battle the corruption spreading by means of the land. In addition they assist her in fight, granting her the flexibility to cease enemies of their tracks for a restricted period of time, increase her common assaults, and so forth. Commanding Rot requires Kena to fill a particular meter, which is constructed by attacking and defeating enemies, so it’s just about not possible to abuse these mechanics to render all battles a stroll within the park.
The Rot mechanics is not the one one which improves the fight really feel as the journey proceeds. As soon as the Bow is unlocked, for instance, the sport will begin throwing at you enemies that assault from vary, flying enemies, and grounded enemies which have some seen weak factors that may be onerous to hit with an arrow whereas they’re shifting. As such, the sport forces gamers to modify their methods and use all of the instruments at their disposal to defeat enemies with ease. This fight design strategy shines in boss battles, which play nice and really feel fairly epic, additionally because of the good soundtrack.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is not at its finest solely throughout fight, as exploration mechanics are simply as effectively thought out because the motion is. Whereas exploring areas to information spirits to the afterlife and save the land from corruption, gamers will usually have to resolve some easy puzzles designed round Kena’s talents, similar to controlling the Rot to maneuver objects, capturing spirit arrows with the Bow, and so forth. Many of those puzzles additionally require some gentle platforming that feels nice and by no means irritating: because of the very easy controls, I did not die as soon as for a missed bounce in my 13 hours with the sport.
Thorough exploration can be made extra rewarding by the wealth of collectibles accessible, starting from easy cosmetics to further Rot and Cursed Chests, easy fight challenges with completely different circumstances. To be trustworthy, the elective content material does depart somewhat to be desired because it’s principally associated solely to cosmetics unlocking, excluding the Meditation Spots which are used to extend max well being, however completionists will admire all of it the identical.
On PlayStation 5, Kena: Bridge of Spirits comes with two show modes that favor decision or efficiency. Decision mode makes the sport run at 4K decision, 30 FPS whereas Efficiency mode drops the decision to maintain a largely secure 60 frames per second body charge. Whereas the sport does look attractive at 4K decision, the motion, particularly fight, suffers from the decrease body charge, so I really feel the overwhelming majority of gamers will go along with Efficiency mode. Regardless of the show mode, nevertheless, Kena: Bridge of Spirits appears superb, notably as a result of superb lighting that additional improves the sport’s ambiance.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits additionally helps the DualSense haptic suggestions and adaptive triggers. Haptic suggestions is used each for cutscenes and gameplay, additional highlighting what is occurring on display, whereas adaptive triggers activate when utilizing a heavy melee assault, or when capturing the bow. Like most titles accessible on PlayStation 5, the implementation of the DualSense options would not actually transcend acceptable, so they aren’t precisely a game-changer.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is not going to revolutionize the action-adventure style, however not each sport needs to be revolutionary to be good. Typically, a well-thought-out acquainted expertise is greater than sufficient to make it worthwhile, and Kena: Bridge of Spirits positively excels on this regard.
PlayStation 5 model examined. Evaluation code supplied by the writer.
Regardless of that includes a really acquainted expertise impressed by The Legend of Zelda sequence, Kena: Bridge of Spirits manages to face out from the competitors with its superb visuals, glorious fight system, and puzzle design. The underwhelming story and lack of actual innovation forestall the sport from being essential, certain, however what Kena: Bridge of Spirits does effectively, it actually does effectively, a lot that it’s totally straightforward to look previous its points.
- Nice wanting visuals
- Glorious puzzle design
- Partaking fight with nice enemy selection and boss design
- Tons of collectibles
- Underwhelming story
- Disappointingly restricted character growth
- Little or no innovation