Pyre - Review
Pyre shares different aspects with Bastion and Transistor, starting first of all from the love of narration, which in this case is put on display with a similar approach to a visual novel, where you read a lot and sometimes make very emotional choices that involve teammates, enemies and countless characters that you will meet during the adventure. An adventure that, at least in terms of performance and style, resembles those of Fire Emblem, so to speak. The intricate events of the story of Pyre put us in the shoes of an exile known as Reader (coincidentally!) In an imaginary world halfway between fantasy and the mystical, discovering a complex and multifaceted lore, but always intriguing from to explore.
Our goal, without ending in the unhealthy spoiler practice, which in this case would be really harmful for your gaming experience, is to put up a team to compete in tests with a sporty flavor, rituals, which are basically the only way to cross the border, the Downside, and gain forgiveness to return to the Commonwealth by advancing in the main map purgatory. The field, therefore, is nothing but the background of a continuous battle in which it is possible to understand and exploit the skills and characteristics of your teammates, as well as those of your opponents.
Peculiarities that will reflect your path and your choices, obviously dictating your preferences among the members of the party (the characters recruited by the end of the adventure are eight, all very different from each other and able to generate interactions with opponents very close to the MOBA style) and altering the ending of the game. Furthermore, depending on the opponents and the arenas that you will find yourself in front of, you will obviously have to adapt your playing style, for example by forming a team capable of defending and, at the same time, using a fast character to entrust the task of marking how many more points in the shortest possible time. An alternative that in some cases could favor victory over the choice of a more homogeneous team or in a situation where the enemy AI should prove more offensive than usual.
To support the games there is a fairly simple idea of gameplay, but unfortunately very little intuitive in the execution. Blame for an unnecessarily complex and cumbersome control system, which does not allow the game to free itself from that patina between the serious and the tedious that surrounds the entire production. Yes, because after all the rituals are nothing more than a fantasy interpretation of a three-on-three basketball game, where the characters also face each other by hitting each other with special attacks and defend themselves, who more, who less well, thanks to the auras that surround them. A real-time game system that prefers the strategy that perhaps would have been better to entrust to a turn-based formula and which, by force of circumstances, ends up restricting even more the slice of the public to whom the title will appeal: Pyre is not certainly a game for everyone and the developers, while inserting a Versus mode locally, have not done much to try to make it attractive to a wider and less demanding slice of players.
In addition to the narrative aspect, the graphic style is also an aspect that Pyre shares with the other Supergiant Games games. Despite having an original aesthetic and its own precise character, the latest effort of the San Francisco software house is very close, in terms of taste and sensations it brings, to what was seen in Bastion first and then Transistors. The colors and visual style of Pyre are stunning and are part of a classy artistic direction, which mixes the dreamlike of the settings with the expressiveness of the character design, with the liveliness of the ritual arenas to close a truly impressive circle.
A general aesthetic picture that is put in the foreground by PlayStation 4 Pro, which is able to natively turn the title in 4K, enhancing its qualities and immersing the player in his beauty. The soundtrack and audio signed by Darren Korb, the same composer of Bastion and Transistor, packs everything on the instrumental and vocal notes to which the Californian developers have accustomed us, between the vibrant main theme and the aggressive electric guitars of the rituals that they seem to come out directly from the 80s.
I played Pyre on PlayStation 4 Pro thanks to a download code from the PlayStation Store provided by the developers. My test took place with a 4K TV, on which I did not notice any technical imperfections, on the contrary: the title flows smoothly and smoothly at the native 4K resolution and at 60fps. A scenario that quietly approaches the best configurations of the title on PC and improves significantly as much as possible on standard PS4, a version still anchored at 1080p and 60fps. Currently the game is not localized in Italian and is completely in English.