Review of the game Pyre - an original RPG from the creators of the Stand

Date: 2017-08-03 15:30:00
The review was based on the PC version. Also applies to the PS4 version

The fans of the indie scene from Supergiant Games don't like recycling ideas. They debuted a fairy-tale post-apocalyptic hack'n'slash, after which they released a cyberpunk action RPG. Now, after a few years of waiting, they served the hungry fans another production, which can be described as ... Well, what is it anyway? And does the problem with an unambiguous definition of the genre affect the reception of the game and may it disappoint the target audience?

Pyre will surely be of interest to those players whose previous works by the studio, Bastion and Transistor , captivated with the perfect composition of an engaging, emotionally engaging story, hand-painted graphics and perfectly matched music and action - including the first title of an uninhibited, dynamic fight with hordes of enemies, in the latter to strategically plan subsequent activities in the active pause mode. Indeed, most of these climate-building elements can also be found in Pyre , but in terms of gameplay, the game is set into hitherto unexplored waters. Quick, sports matches with the "ball" and "goals" in the lead role interspersed with story inserts like in a visual novel game? And an extensive story dealing with important and sublime matters ? Supergiant Games, you have my attention!

The ball is one and the heaps are two

Hardly anyone would like to live in exile and it is no different with the members of our merry gang. Expelled from their country for various offenses, they are poor in a inhospitable land resembling purgatory. Until fate smiles at them when it turns out that return to the bosom of society is at hand - you just have to fight it in a series of skirmishes with other outcasts.

These clashes are truly mystical. Teams of three fighters fight for a celestial ball, which they must then shove into a burning pile of opponents - and so on, until they are completely extinguished. The participants of this rite do their best to achieve the goal and prevent competitors from winning. In addition to jumping, dodging, sprinting, and in some cases also flying, they also use powerful auras that can temporarily remove opponents from the battlefield. The key to success is proper coordination of the actions of all three players.

Fortunately, the player who knows the art of reading, an activity that has been banned for centuries in our country of origin, stands in the way of a group of unfortunates called Nightwings (and here comes the first suggestion that the place we all want to return to is a bit shady). By studying the secret book during the game, we get to know the arcana of rituals in which we lead our team to battle , learn more about the races and factions inhabiting the world, as well as explore the history of our homeland and the place of our exile.

Liberation by exposure

The world we travel is as captivating as it is dangerous. The stars lead us (quite literally - because they indicate successive points on the route of our journey) to gloomy, bubbling swamps, to a fairy-tale but terrifying forest, or straight into the hot desert sands dotted with huge skeletons . The battlefields reflect this diversity and are crafted down to the smallest detail. Usually, we will also find elements to diversify the game that correspond to the nature of the opposing faction. For example, enth-like creatures make the forest surrounding the battlefield grow, reducing it significantly.

Our team initially consists of three exiles, but soon - as a result of more or less bizarre circumstances - more beings join its ranks. We gradually discover their past - from anonymous "enemies of the motherland" united by chance by a common goal, they turn into multidimensional characters with their own history, the guilt to which they "owe" their current situation, and motivation to return.

Players who remember the phenomenal narrator who accompanied us in previous games of the studio may not have a similar solution in Pyre . This time, a lot of reading awaits us, as our companions "talk" a lot in the text windows as in a classic RPG against the background of static boards reminiscent of the visual novel genre or the Fire Emblem series . We can also hear them - each character says a line from time to time in a fictional language. It's true, I miss the narrator, but somewhere along the way we forget about it, because personalized styles of speech, tone of voice, as well as a few poses and reactions of hand-painted characters are enough to make our companions of misery very real .

As a result, it's getting harder and harder to part with characters when it comes time to decide who's going to go slow. Creators with true perfidy force us to take into account various factors. The heroes with the highest level of enlightenment (the local equivalent of experience), i.e. those we play most often and eagerly, have a chance for liberation. More than once, I have had internal battles: as a player, I wanted to keep a character in my team as long as possible that suited my playstyle, but as a dedicated Nightwings member, I wanted to give freedom to those who deserved it most - my favorites. In addition to the emotional load of such decisions, you can also feel their impact on the later game. It gets a lot harder when we have to play characters whose speed or movement does not match our favorite strategy so far guaranteed success. Well, nobody said the road to freedom is simple.

In a healthy body, healthy mind

The difficulty in classifying the Pyre 's genre reflects the fluctuating pace of the game perfectly. On the one hand, we have the heart of the game, i.e. dynamic matches that sometimes effectively raise the pressure . Congratulations in the spirit of particularly successful plays (even the usually unfavorable match commentator known as the Voice is kindly surprised that we did quite, quite this time) and we get pissed when the opponent knocks out after a well-coordinated sequence of moves. us a ball right next to your stack (read: goals). And when you are only five points short of winning - that's just the source of frustration! Immediately, however, a change of pace awaits us, and with it a moment of well-deserved rest, when you can cool down the emotions a bit.

Pyre between matches is primarily a visual and fictional experience. We pack our belongings, jump into the worn-out car and keep going where the stars will show us. Along the way, we admire the hand-painted views and the painstaking care with which a multiracial and diverse world has been made while listening to a great soundtrack, but we also have some more specific things to do.

It often happens that one of the companions has something on his heart and wants to talk - he will be waiting for us in the car (note here - it is a pity that the game has not been translated into Polish, because those who do not know English very well will bounce back) . The pause between matches is also a great opportunity to review our characters' statistics, enlightenment levels, skills and talismans, as well as try out new squads as part of casual training matches against, um ... a team of mystical exiles trapped forever in a secret ball.

Is the constant jumping between these two poles of the game tiresome? No, because the story that we discover layer by layer could easily serve as the basis for a novel from the young adult trend (i.e. youth literature, usually in fantasy climates) and would be great to read. It's a lot of fun to get to know new characters and factions, because they are colorful and well-written. Our paths cross, inter alia, with a pretentious ent, a haunted follower of a local counterpart Cthulhu or an anarchist punk dog (sentenced to exile for nothing but urinating at the monument to a respected judge). The relations between the characters go beyond the plot and often find their final, not necessarily positive, on the battlefield . Sometimes we feel sorry for our enemies ...