Oddworld: Soulstorm Overview (PS5) | Push Sq.
It is onerous to know the place to start with Oddworld: Soulstorm. The sequence has positively had its ups and downs, however it’s all the time felt like a part of PlayStation’s flavour, so it is good to have it again after so a few years. It is a reimagining of Abe’s Exoddus, a sequel to New ‘n’ Tasty, and in some methods it is one of many higher entries within the storied franchise. Nonetheless, as a contemporary online game, Soulstorm is troublesome to advocate.
The story is a continuation of Abe’s escape from Rupture Farms; he is considered as a saviour and a hero by his fellow Mudokons, and should push on to rescue the rest of his enslaved brethren. Immediately, the opening cutscene reveals the bigger ambition of the undertaking; the pre-rendered scenes look nice, with properly animated characters and a few superb surroundings. Sadly, the sport would not preserve the spectacular visuals if you’re taking part in, however general it appears first rate sufficient.
Constructing on that grander presentation, this appears like a broader sport normally. That is most positively an Oddworld sport, however the scope is just a little greater and wider. You are still making your method by means of intricate levels, coping with Sligs, dodging hazards, and rescuing Mudokons, however ranges really feel bigger, with the digital camera pulling out to point out the size. There are secrets and techniques in every single place, with diverging and hidden paths you will want to search out if you wish to save everybody. Moreover, Soulstorm introduces a couple of new options to the puzzle platformer in an try to modernise issues.
One main sticking level with the sequence has been Abe’s restricted motion, which might make easy jumps probably perilous. You needed to be exact in your positioning and timing. Right here, a double bounce makes issues just a little extra forgiving, permitting you to succeed in excessive platforms and get well from failed makes an attempt. Nonetheless, as a lot because it makes Abe really feel extra nimble, jumps are nonetheless troublesome to guage, and easily climbing up ledges or swinging between monkey bars could be frustratingly tough. Particularly by fashionable requirements, simply controlling the character feels fairly inflexible.
We’re additionally just a little underwhelmed by the addition of looting and crafting. Whereas they do present an additional layer to the movement of a stage, rooting round in each bin and locker will get tiresome fairly shortly, and crafting feels superfluous. You may must do it with the intention to receive sure devices and gadgets, however it would not really feel prefer it must be within the sport in any respect.
To be trustworthy, the issues that work finest about this sport are the issues which have all the time labored: possessing enemies, fixing environmental puzzles, and saving Mudokons. The primary few ranges could be an train in frustration, particularly a piece during which you need to sneak previous the baddies whereas snipers purpose their lasers at you and mortar hearth rains from the heavens. Luckily, issues decide up just a little afterward when the motion slows and it is extra about guiding your allies to the exit. When all is working nicely, discovering all of the Mudokons and efficiently main the conga line by means of harmful territory feels satisfying. Possessing Sligs and steering them to drag levers and gun down different baddies stays a enjoyable answer.
The difficulty is that it would not all the time work nicely. We bumped into points with the AI on quite a few events that turned some elements of the sport into an actual chore. Typically, Sligs would cease patrolling on their route, stopping in place, which might often imply we could not progress with out dying or restarting the checkpoint. Different occasions, Mudokons following Abe would refuse to behave; hiding in a locker ought to see your followers doing the identical, however from time to time, one or two of them would resolve to not hassle.
Elsewhere, you will usually must throw bottles of the titular Soulstorm brew to set off fires, and water to place the fires out. That is very finicky, particularly when the digital camera frames issues at an ungainly angle, making it onerous to guage your throw. Oddly sufficient, whether or not the water bottles would really put out the hearth felt extraordinarily hit or miss. Frankly, the gameplay appears like a little bit of a large number.
Criticising an Oddworld sport for its cussed controls would possibly come throughout as a contact harsh, because the sequence has all the time been like this. It is all the time been a difficult journey that requires precision and an acceptance you will die lots, and followers love that in regards to the franchise. It is a bleak story in an oppressive setting starring a weakling hero, and these titles do not maintain your hand. It is smart. Nonetheless, none of which means a brand new sport within the sequence has to observe design limitations from the late 90s. In a method, we admire that Soulstorm is so true to the franchise’s established quirks, however for us, it would not make for a really nice expertise — particularly when mixed with bugs and pointless options.
Having stated all that, there’s an plain attraction to Abe and the Oddworld that will see you thru any tough patches. The character is lovably dim, and the land he inhabits is nicely realised, feeling greater than anyone title. At its finest, the sport affords up some nice situations, akin to hijacking an unlimited practice, and presents a captivating world full of surprising, attention-grabbing characters. That is what holds this collectively, and it is what is going to preserve followers going by means of the prolonged marketing campaign.
Oddworld: Soulstorm presents itself nicely and reveals a grand imaginative and prescient for the sequence, however as a contemporary sport in 2021, it is simply not the place it must be. It may be extraordinarily awkward to drag off even primary manoeuvres, some new options miss the mark, and sure ranges made us need to give up altogether. Bugs exacerbate a few of the gameplay frustrations with wonky AI, and finally the play expertise could be frustratingly inflexible. Followers will love this reimagining of a basic, and the franchise’s distinctive attraction shines by means of, however it’s a troublesome promote for anybody coming to the sequence contemporary.