Child of Light ReviewPS4
key review info
- Game: Child of Light
- Platform: Playstation 4
- Reviewed on:
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Child of Light is one of the most intriguing all-new games coming from Ubisoft's Montreal studio, delivering a novel experience modeled after classic Japanese role-playing games, but with vibrant visuals and some really interesting cooperative-like mechanics.
Can the large studio delight fans with this smaller experience or should this light be extinguished for good? Let's find out.
The story in Child of Light focuses on Aurora, a little girl who's taken to the mythical land of Lemuria, where Umbra, the dark queen, has captured the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. The different clans inhabiting the world have suffered greatly and all sorts of dark creatures are now lurking about.
Aurora gets teamed up with Igniculus, a small firefly-like being that can be controlled independently by using one of the analog sticks or by another player using a second controller. They must work together to restore the celestial bodies and to defeat Umbra, while helping different characters in their quests and enlisting the help of other companions.
The whole coming-of-age story is quite touching and the fact that it's relayed through a poem makes it that much more interesting. The characters are great and varied, each with different motivations and personalities.
In terms of gameplay, you explore the world of Lemuria in a side-scrolling manner, first on foot and, after a few quests, in the air, as you gain the ability to fly alongside Igniculus. The world is filled with all sorts of great locations and there are more than enough hidden areas filled with goodies and rewards.
The game's combat is turn-based and shares quite a few similarities to Japanese role-playing games. The brawls use an Active Time Battle system, in which characters attack depending on their speed and abilities. There's a casting zone in which you select the attack you want to unleash, but you need to make sure that you're not interrupted by another attack.
While the system may sound a bit complex, especially for those who didn't get a chance to experience such a system in classic JRPGs, in practice it's a lot of fun and turns fights into strategic encounters that reward quick thinking and precise attacks.
What's more, Igniculus plays a key role in battle, as he can blind opponents, causing them to move more slowly on the timeline, or heal allies. His powers are limited, however, by a light bar, but you can refill it either by waiting for a while or by activating different Wishes, which are plants that grow on the battlefield.
The actual characters are quite varied and wield all sorts of impressive powers, not to mention elemental abilities. Aurora specializes in physical and light-based attacks, which work great on regular and dark foes, while other allies, like Finn, can cast powerful elemental-based attacks against Fire, Earth, or Water foes.
Their abilities can be upgraded based on skill points awarded upon leveling up, and the skill tree system is pretty straightforward, offering three different paths for you to take. While you won't be able to max out characters on the first playthrough, the title has a New Game+ mode that resets the story and provides tougher foes, while keeping your current upgrades.
To add more depth to the game, you can also use Oculi, which are gems that provide different bonuses when slotted into the weapon, armor, or miscellaneous slots. You can also craft the Oculi to improve their strength and combine different kinds to produce new results.
While the combat can get a bit tedious sometimes, you can always freshen it up by using different characters from your party and explore their different abilities. While all your allies level up after a match, you can only use two at once during a fight.
In terms of visuals, Child of Light is absolutely gorgeous, with stunning watercolor-based graphics that shine thanks to the UbiArt Framework engine. The effects are quite good, the animations are fluid, and the character designs are very varied.
The soundtrack is also superb, featuring some really smooth songs that make the whole experience feel like a fairy tale. There are some charming moments in which Aurora uses a flute that represent high points in terms of the audio design.
- Good coming-of-age story
- Intense battles
- Gorgeous visuals
- Amazing soundtrack
- Objectives aren't clear sometimes
- Playing cooperatively via Igniculus doesn't work that well
Child of Light is a hugely fun and memorable experience. The combat is intense, the visuals are unique, and the soundtrack elevates the whole game to a new level. While it might get a bit ambiguous about your goals at some points in the story, it's still really good and well worth the investment.