A Sideways Glance at Child of Light

A Sideways Glance at Child of Light

Postby Arnold Sideways » Thu May 22, 2014 8:07 pm

Seeing as I can now get screenshots from my PS4 I thought that I'd try out this whole reviewing thing. As this is my first one any feedback you have would be appreciated.

Child of Light is an RPG recently released onto PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows and the Wii U towards the end of April/start of May. You play as Aurora, a girl who falls ill and wakes up in a land called Lemuria. She encounters a firefly called Igniculus and begins her journey home.

I can't really talk about this game without talking about the rhyming. All of the dialogue is set to rhyme. Literally all of it. Even the most menial of conversations (of which there are a soul crushing number). Pretty much the only bits that aren't are the menus and battle commands. This is pretty annoying at first, and pretty annoying at the end as well. Okay, so I found it really annoying for the entire game. One of the characters who joins your party purposefully breaks rhyme and has to be corrected by other characters, which is a nice little joke about the whole thing, and in my case helped me to not start crying early on in the game. It feels like some of the dialogue has suffered in an attempt to force everything to rhyme, with some of the conversations coming across as a little bland, with others downright unnecessary. Some of the rhyming can also be very loose, with 'hours' being rhymed with 'stars' on one occasion. Fortunately Child of Light contains only a small amount of voice acting. With the rhyming, voice acting would drive you insane, but this is one of the cases where a lack of voice acting ends up working in the game's favour.

The gameplay is split into two sections: in battle and out of battle. Outside of battle you control Aurora in a 2D environment, moving around the world map and dungeons. With your right stick or the touch pad (PS4 at least) you can move Igniculus and collect orbs to restore your health and MP, open certain chests, freeze enemies in place (either allowing you to move past them safely or position yourself for a surprise attack), heal Aurora and collect items to increase your stats. The touch pad seems to give a bit more control than the right stick, which at times feels a bit too much like a slingshot unless you make the most delicate of movements. The environments are varied and graphically the game looks superb. Don't get me wrong, it's no Second Son, but it looks pretty and the animations look smooth. Controlling Aurora sometimes feels a little awkward though, especially once you gain the ability to fly. Flying itself is done well, but landing on the correct platform is sometimes a chore and grabbing hold of blocks to move is a bit hit and miss.

Spoiler: show
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Touching an enemy will move into a battle. Some enemies on the world map will throw projectiles at you, and if they hit you they'll get a slight head start in the battle. Conversely if you manage to sneak up behind them you'll get a head start in the battle. This system of surprise and ambush attacks does appear to not work as well as it ought to. There were a couple of occasions where I appeared to encounter an enemy normally only to be told that I had been ambushed, which made for a tricky fight when boulders of ice are far faster than any boulder has any right to be. The battles use an ATB system similar to other RPGs. Your character's icon moves along the line until it reaches the 'Cast' marker, whereupon time stops while you select you character's action. After selecting, your character's icon moves through the 'Cast' area. If anyone gets hit in the 'Cast' area without proper protection they'll be bumped back along the timeline and will have to reselect their action. Igniculus can be used to slow down enemies in battle, consuming a meter in the process, leading to some tactics being used to try and make sure you constantly interrupt enemies.

Spoiler: show
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For the majority of the game, provided you have two characters in the battle, fights against a single enemy are basically impossible to lose, even on hard mode. This feels a bit absurd, given that you can completely wreck a boss without taking a single hit only to be killed by a set of standard enemies a few minutes later. It should be pointed out that I played the vast majority of the game on hard mode. I started on normal but found myself stomping everything I came across with minimal effort. As the game progressed, hard mode presented more of a challenge while at the same time not being overly unfair. There was only one location where I was forced to grind, and autosaves are frequent, so should you die in battle you'll only normally go back a couple of minutes.

Although this game is an RPG, there are some 'standard' RPG elements which are missing. For example, there are no shops in the game, and you cannot upgrade your weapons or armour at all. There are no inns either, meaning that in order to heal yourself you need to rely on the items you find in game or wait for a level up to instantly restore all of your health and MP. Fortunately, downed characters receive experience points from battle, and the game's 'Revive' item heals a generous amount of health, so keeping everyone alive is never too hard to do. Upon levelling up you will receive a stat boost as well as a skill point to use on your character to purchase skills from the skill tree, which is too linear for my liking. There are 3 branches to upgrade, each of them forming one long squiggly line. Personally I'd have liked for there to be some more combat skills on the tree as well and fewer stat upgrades to buy (and some branching), but there is a varied set of abilities for most of the characters, with each of them feeling different enough in battle to warrant their existence.

Spoiler: show
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With regards to the characters, you get a little mission introducing each of them and a bit of their background, but some of the characters don't really get a lot of time to be introduced. In some way it almost feels like there are too many characters by the endgame, and the last one in particular doesn't have a lot of time to develop. I tended to alternate between four of the characters to use in battle, and by the end game you have 7.

There are ways of customising your character, and these come in the form of Oculi. These come in four varieties (Rough, Tumbled, Faceted and Brilliant), and eight colours (Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Onyx, Amethyst, Spinel, Citrine and Diamond), with only three colours being dropped or found in chests for the majority of the game. These can be combined to give higher ranked varieties of the same colour, or mixed to give other colours of Oculi. These Oculi can be applied to three slots on your characters; one on the weapon, one on the armour and one as an 'accessory'. It would have been nice if the game kept a note of which combinations worked, but as it isn't too big a deal, especially seeing as there are a number of places online to find crafting recipies if you can't quite remember how to get that Spinel. You can also create the Princess Stone, which gives a massive boost to your character's stats, but you need to do a lot of combining just to get one, never mind the 21 that you'd ideally like to turn your party into an invincible hoard of humans/lizards/jesters/masked warriors/mice.

Spoiler: show
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Overall I enjoyed Child of Light. The music is excellent and I like the art style, but the dialogue is mostly uninteresting and the rhyming is a bit of a pain.

Score: 7/10
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Re: A Sideways Glance at Child of Light

Postby Musashi1596 » Thu May 22, 2014 8:37 pm

I'm most disappointed that you didn't keep the spirit of the game and have the entire review rhyme. Although, I can imagine how it would be irritating most of the time. Shame about the skill system, looks horribly linear; they probably could have fit more on there if the icons were skinnier. At least you can do a lot to customise your team, really put some effort in and make that spinel gleam. Sounds like boosting your team up fully would need a fair bit of grinding, at least if all the oculi take a lot of finding. On the plus side I do love the game's art style, maybe I'll put this on my 'to play' pile.

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Re: A Sideways Glance at Child of Light

Postby Lieutenant Fatman » Thu May 22, 2014 10:03 pm

Nice review, cheers, think I'll pass on this one, sounds alright though.
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