Below — eyes pleasure, souls torment. Review
|Genre||Survival simulator, roglic|
|Minimum requirements||Intel Pentium 4 1.8 GHz/AMD Athlon XP 1700+ 1.46 GHz, 4 GB RAM, graphics card with support for DirectX 9.0 c and 1GB of memory, e.g. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280/AMD Radeon HD 5830, 5 GB on the hard disk, Internet connection and a Steam account|
|Recommended requirements||Intel Core i5-680 3.6 GHz/AMD Athlon II X4 635 2.9 GHz, 8 GB RAM, graphics card with DirectX 10 support and 2 GB memory NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050/AMD Radeon HD 7950|
|Release date||14 Dec 2018|
|Age limit||12 years|
|Platform||PC, Xbox One|
Game tested on Xbox One X
Below get to players a good five years. The public project was first presented in 2014, at the same time I got acquainted with him at Gamescom 2014. The game from the first shots have been fascinated with the mysterious world, attracted to unravel his secret. However, had to wait before the opportunity presents itself — year after year, the release was postponed. A long and probably full of difficulties way to release perfectly characterizes the game itself.
Floor by floor
At first it seems that in the dark night sky one by one light up the stars. But that’s a reflection of the sky in the water. And there’s something else. Ship? Rather, a small boat, alone and cleaving the waves. Beneath varied with hypnotically mesmerizing tribal-charming ambient camera down lower. Now you can see white sail, and quiet traveler that is on the deck and bravely looks to the island among the vast ocean. Finally, a modest vessel reaches the shore. It’s time to take the first step into the darkness.
Opening scene Below lasts five minutes — you just look at a leisurely sailing the boat while the virtual operator me-e-e-slow increases the picture so you could see at least a tiny figure of the protagonist. And that’s all. We are waiting for a leisurely adventure in which you will need patience. Oh, how we need.
But this does not mean that the road ahead will be calm and peaceful — quite the contrary. Below only does what it suggests, direct sentences, you from it will not wait. No plot story, no short there is no training. Even the basics necessary to comprehend independently. And this is its charm. You are standing on the shore. Where to go? Why am I here? Oh, lies a stone. And amber. Hmm, they can pick up, but that done? So many questions, so few answers.
This is the essence Below — it is in itself a great mystery, and in search of a key have a lot to experiment, actively using a method scientific. Pretty soon we will find the mysterious flashlight, an unknown person left, and with his help we can find a way in dark caves. And, as the title States, start the descent into the depths.
In the first hours Below enchanting. The décor is perfect. Dark underground vaults, ancient ruins, ice caves — all this looks great and attracts a mystery. As great the game sounds. Dark electronic ambient music with symphonic hints at certain points accentuates the mysterious atmosphere.
Capybara Games knows how to build suspense. In the game interesting even just to understand the basics: how to get food, how to mix ingredients to obtain something useful like running the same lamp. But it is much more important than it might seem at first glance. Of course, this is the most convenient source of illumination in dark caves, but more importantly, it highlights traps, and a narrow beam of light activates the mechanisms and reveals the secrets.
Fuel for the lantern is not oil, and particles of light, most of which are produced from the carcasses of defeated enemies. Below to fight often, although the combat system itself is not particularly complicated. It is elegant in its simplicity — a shield to hide behind, a sword to kill the red-and-black whether demons, or ghosts… and, well, everything. Despite the plainness, the battles felt great. Each strike felt the weight, the bow shoots exactly as expected of him, and different combinations of enemies force you to adapt.
Dark dungeons Below beckon deeper. Successfully camera zooms in during battles, or when you need to pay attention to something important, but most often hanging so high under the arches that the protagonist seems a tiny grain of sand in the middle of the bottomless pit — this creates a sense of magnitude of what is happening. Our alter ego is, in essence, a nobody.
If you die, you will resurrect at the nearest checkpoint to the island some time later will come a new unnamed wanderer who can find the remains of a previous adventurer. You have only one attempt to pick up old supplies. Will die again and will have to collect all their belongings back-breaking labor. Everything except the lantern — he will remain in the dungeons until you reach the floor, which killed its last owner.
Authentic? Very. And it’s breaks the game, like Bane of the Dark Knight. Remember those terrible moments of childhood, when on the offense wanted to throw the controller into the wall, because death meant that everyone will have to start from the beginning? Below wonder exactly the same emotions. Yes, in passing you will discover a short path to a deeper floor. Learn that for a modest fee, you can access a one-time “portal” to the fire, who rest. And from any bonfire you can always move to a secluded camp where allowed to keep stocks of resources, passing them thus “inherited”. But this will not make your life easier when you for the next error will go to feed the underground fauna.
Who, well, who has a trap that kills instantly, with the pillars, making them completely invisible? The lamp will illuminate, of course. If he is with you and not lying somewhere in the depths. Below is forcing you to be constantly on the alert, can not relax for a second. That in itself is not bad. In the end, a game about slow study… apart from the fact that it does not explore the world slowly!
Since project development began in the years when “vigilance” was at its peak, the corresponding elements are moved into the Below. Not only create useful things from scrap materials, but also indicators of hunger and thirst. They tortured hero constantly. You can eat grilled steak, but five minutes later, the stomach starts to rumble protagonist again. Instead of carefully wading into the island in search of answers, you nosites like mad on the levels in search of at least a measly carrot to stretch for a few minutes. And God of randomness is ruthless — here it is possible to die because of their own mistakes, and because it is not lucky that is generated for the next campaign dungeon.
I understand the idea of Capybara Games. The authors really tried to make you feel the researcher of the dangerous depths. Death may lie in wait at every step, and we need to be ready for anything, to carry provisions and explosive arrows in the backpack. Only it turns out to be a necessity after each death then spend half an hour to fill the collected resources, if you suddenly failed to return them. What is the use of short cuts, if at lower levels to survive without training? And here you are again “grindie” upper floors in order to procure canned…
No basic facilities. Over time you realize that recipes for crafting. But the game does not give them even to save for quick access in the future, you train your memory. Or write on a piece of paper yourself, as sometimes we had to draw maps in games since NES. I remember those days, but this is not nostalgia, but an archaism.
Play Below and see a lot of opportunities to make the adventure a little easier without killing the atmosphere. At least make permanent the ability to move quickly to open fires. Or let the bodies before the adventurers with the acquired good is not lost. The lamp is a lie, why do things have to disappear? It just seems unfair.
* * *
If in many games the death of a character is spurred to become better, to learn from mistakes, prepare more thoroughly, Below after the death of another from starvation simply give up. Needless the secret of all the suffering and time spent in the same monotonous actions? The question is not rhetorical, but the answer for you, I have not.
- amazing atmospheric world;
- the combat system is simple, but feels great;
- mesmerizing soundtrack.
- balance complexity and limitations of the cut down at the root of the fun of the game.
Stylistically, Below are just perfect.
Jim Guthrie (Jim Guthrie) did an amazing job — his electronic ambient music perfectly complements the mysterious atmosphere.
Good, even great adventure survival simulator. But to take it terribly is not desirable due to poor balance.
Refined torture: like I want to get to the end, but will do that through the power of tears.
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