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Pyre – “Path through the Stars” Review

Over the past six years, a friendly and large fan community has formed around the Supergiant Games studio. Thanks to its popular hits, the American studio has built a reputation as one of the most prominent independent developers at the moment. However, there is nothing to be surprised by such successes, because their debut project Bastion was pleasantly surprised with a really outstanding visual style, chic sound design, and no less pleasant gameplay. Then the studio Supergiant Games consolidated the success with the next sensational project – Transistor. Subsequently, the second game absolutely also became a real hit, as if it was fate itself that had already been prepared for her in advance.

Not every team can create a big name for itself, especially by releasing only two games. However, for these guys, the task is quite possible. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that many people were waiting for the next project from these developers not only with impatience but even with special trepidation.

Without any doubts about the game, Pyre can be said at once one thing – it knows how to charm. The game literally falls in love with itself from the first seconds and frames. The developers are still scrupulous in terms of approaching the external side of the new project. Pyre immediately envelops its player in a pleasant atmosphere, begins to caress the ear with subtle gentle notes of a lute, and once again pleases the eye with a chic visual style.


In a word – a book


►”Nothing will be known initially. Who are all these people? What kind of world is this? Who even came up with these elaborate “Rites”? But as it passes, the curtain will certainly begin to open.”

The world that is presented in Pyre is rich and unusual. And so much so that describing it in familiar words is an incredibly difficult task. Pyre is just the case when in order to understand what the world really is, it is better to personally hear, see and read. And especially read.

At this point, it is very important to remind someone, and for someone just to tell, that in Bastion and Transistor there was always an invisible author, acting at the same time as a narrator. With his comments, explanations, and sometimes descriptions, he did not leave even for a second both the characters and, in fact, the player himself. However, pyre will not have it, so the model of the “fourth wall” popular for games from the studio Supergiant Games is completely destroyed. As a result, the heroes directly address the player. For example, they will ask you to determine the further path by the stars, make some decisions and in every way, one way or another, help.

We can say that the passage of the game Pyre is like reading an interactive book, during which the heroes find more and more new pages. And the events and characters of these pages literally come to life before our eyes, talking directly to your player, because the “fourth wall” fell, in the end. It’s actually hard to understand, so it feels as if, for example, Geralt from the The Witcher series of games directly addressed readers from the pages of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and asked for some advice on where he should search for Ciri.

►”The gameplay in Pyre is monotonous and unhurried. There’s a charm to it.”

And yet there is only one “BUT” and it lies in the fact that the Pyre universe is much more unusual and to some extent strange than the universe of the same “The Witcher”. Speaking briefly and very clearly, then in Pyre there is a certain “Lower World”, where all sinners (outcasts, criminals and those who cannot fit into the local “civilized” framework of the world order) are exiled from the “Outer World”). So, in order not only to free themselves, but also to return back to the “Outer World”, all these outcasts have to fight each other in the course of the so-called local “Rites”.

In the subordination of the player just will be a squad consisting of such outcasts. Together, the heroes will travel through the unlimited expanses of the “Lower World” inside a rather funny and cute trailer, which, by the way, as the game progresses, will be actively replenished. The only problem is that for each fight you can choose only three heroes from all this rabble.


Psychologist-reader


►”Pyre is not only “Rites” and travels. It’s also kind of a visual novel. The profile of each member of the group has a summary with all the information known at the moment. Dialogues, new information, situations – all this gradually forms a biography and a psychological portrait of each character. “

The protagonist is a certain Reader. One of the few who know how to read the scriptures and determine the location of the next “Rite” by the stars. By a happy and incredible accident, the hero is saved by three exiles, whom he soon leads on the way to freedom.

At the beginning of the passage, as you could already understand, there will be only three characters, but after a couple of hours, the trailer is replenished with new faces twice as much. In total, pyre has more than two dozen different personalities, and this already definitely inspires confidence, because absolutely every character in the game is unique and inimitable.

The further part is almost familiar thanks to other games. Of course, you will have to fight a lot, pump up your characters, engage in trade, buying mascots (and this will be the only removable element in terms of equipment) and for them various improvements. Periodically you will have to stop for the night and decide what to do in your free time.

And everything is exclusively individual, so you can deal with one of your outcasts. For example, by raising the rank, you can get some global bonuses for the entire squad before the subsequent “Rite”. Or you can go in search of something more valuable, then sell the found thing or put on one of the characters.

►”A horned young lady, a talking dog and a girl who is definitely “not in herself” – and these are far from the brightest characters in the team!”.

But the most important thing in this regard is that the main character will have to communicate a lot with his wards. They will be offended by some actions every now and then. They will ask for advice on and without a reason. After all, they’ll sometimes want to have a heart-to-heart talk, as they say.

It is quite logical that someone will be offended or upset that he was not chosen to fight in the last “Rite”, someone will harbor romantic warm feelings for another character and ask for advice on this matter: to admit or still to hide. And someone will even ask if he goes to the mustache or maybe not. In general, the relationship in Pyre is completely orderly, however, as well as humor.

From time to time you will have to coordinate your path on the global map of the game, but in any case, you will have to, one way or another, get to the next point of the “Rite”. Moreover, during the coordination, the members of the squad will not be silent, so they offer their options, how and where it is better to go, motivating with some personal reasons, or even – promising a valuable reward. However, it’s up to you to decide. All the decisions made and answers in the dialogues will directly affect the relationship with the characters, bonuses or even certain penalties during the next “Rite”. By the way, this also affects the ending. Well, of course, whether the ward will shave the mustache or not.


My Cute Trailer


►”As you progress through, you’ll gradually gain more and more information about the world, characters, races, factions, and even the complex relationships between them.”

Aside from the curious and hilarious mustache story, you could probably see the rest in other games. And you do not need to run far for an example – this approach was in the hand-drawn series of games The Banner Saga. But that doesn’t mean Pyre is just plagiarism. There are really unique things in the game.

Firstly, pyre has a special and so far unlike anything else atmosphere. It consists both of a simply stunning picture and of the magical music of the talented composer Darren Korb. Secondly, it is an unusual setting and extremely colorful characters. Not only do they fight in rather strange masks, but they also speak some strange language and this gives the game a pleasant charm.

Who is not among the wards: a minstrel, a demoness with horns, a small creature that looks more like a parrot, a worm pretending to be a noble knight and even the same dog with a mustache, which it may well lose if desired.

And each of the characters will have their own interesting character, curious biography and exciting whims, but even this is nothing wrong. Other events will also please, for example, someone can get sick and go somewhere. Some characters may even refuse to go into battle if someone they don’t like takes part in the Rite. But still, the rotation, as a rule, in Pyre will go on its own, so the more often you put the one who is closest to enlightenment in battle, the closer he will be to leaving your modest squad forever.


Magic Rugby


►”Whether you like it or not, if you started the pyre,then you will have to get used to the local combat system.”

Another cardinal difference between Pyre and other projects is the combat system. It may sound a little strange, but in this game it is rugby. The bottom line is that all fights will take place in separate arenas, and the trio of your wards and the trio of the enemy are located opposite each other – face to face. In the center of the arena is a sphere. The sphere, in turn, first needs to be captured, and then delivered to the base. However, not to their base, but to the enemy’s base. The sphere has the appearance of a flame and a limited supply of health. So each move with a conditional ball to the enemy base will reduce the amount of health of the sphere.

Characters can pass to each other, throw a sphere into the enemy’s flames, jump, accelerate and even conjure. By the way, spells can knock the conditional ball out of the opponent’s hands and thereby temporarily take him out of the game. Plus, everyone will generate their own unique aura and contact with this aura also knocks out the sphere.

All the parameters and skills that will have to be studied as new ranks and levels are obtained will be strictly “sharpened” in order to improve the effectiveness of these actions. For example, you can increase the speed, range of the throw or even the damage that is inflicted on the enemy base. Also, thanks to improvements, it will be possible to reduce the time before returning to the field, or simply make the aura more powerful and much more. The passage of Pyre will please not only with interesting adventures, but also with a lot of pumping options.

►”The soundtrack in previous games of this studio was on top, but here they just managed to surpass themselves. The main part of the soundtrack consists of beautiful ballads, post-rock motifs, although sometimes there is something heavier. “

At the same time, each of the presented characters is also distinguished by personal specialization and some certain skills. In general, someone can be faster, someone a little slower, someone beats spells strictly along the line in front of them, and someone knows how to create an explosive wave around themselves. And most importantly – all this must be taken into account, choosing a team for the next battle and building your own convenient, effective battle tactics.

Of course, at first such a number of mechanics and in general this whole system can be discouraging, but once you get used to it, stop being offended and swearing, carefully reading the rules, then the spirit of excitement from non-traditional battles in the form of competitions will capture literally with your head! The only drawback that is present in this system is the constantly repeated battles, although they are sometimes diluted with tasks: sometimes you need to jump over obstacles, engage in the total destruction of enemies or protect your flames in a mode that is more like a kind of “Tower Defense”.

However, much more offensive than all this will be the fact that there is no Russian language in Pyre. And there will be nowhere to download Russifier for Pyre 2017. However, this is not reliable. And the text in the game will be incredibly much, so so far without knowledge of English, many will probably miss this project. However, even with knowledge of English, you can also not fully feel the whole atmosphere and plot component of the game, which is extremely sad.


Adventure Notes


►”Supergiant Games studio gathered a lot of talented people, including artists!”.

Much has already been said about what a great style and soundtrack it turned out to be in Pyre. And again! Once again, the Supergiant Games studio once again managed to keep the bar and not to disappoint both new and old fans in this regard. Absolutely every background, every sprite, every character and even every animation is a kind of small work of art. At some points, Pyre even looks more impressive than the Transistor game. And all thanks once again to the unique charm.

I remind you that the music for Pyre was written by a great man with excellent talent – Darren Korb. Many people can remember him from the soundtracks to other projects of these developers. He once again performed his work at a high level. By the way, this is one of those few cases where OST can really be bought separately from the game – it’s just beautiful in itself.


Multiplayer


►”In local multiplayer, you can take absolutely any character into the team.”

Passing Pyre in cooperative mode, unfortunately (or maybe not), is impossible. Such a possibility can really only be dreamed of, but for that in the game you can always test yourself in the skill of “Rites” against some other player. And here everything is exactly like in the single player campaign: there are two teams, there is a sphere and there is a dynamic gameplay.

In local multiplayer, you can play sitting behind one “iron”. Both participants are free to choose a team according to their personal preference. There is full access to the characters. Once the team is fully staffed, it will finally be possible to face off on the rugby pitch. Of course, this is a tiny and small detail compared to the main part of the game, but how pleasant it is.


The Bottom Line


Pyre isn’t just an iconic game. This is also a real example of how one small American studio is able to surprise its fans again and again. Yes, it is important to say that Supergiant Games once again succeeded. It turned out to create a unique, bright and atmospheric game. It turned out to release a sustained project with a completely recognizable style. However, in addition to the wonderful music and visual style, players are shown new and non-standard battle mechanics that resemble rugby with magic. Still, it is interesting and fresh, where else can you see this? And the only thing that can upset, and even disappoint or even discourage the desire to play, is the lack of the Russian language and the often repeated battles. Although the second compared to the first is just a trifle.


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