Sea Of Solitude Assessment – Uncharted Waters Of The Thoughts

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Writer: Digital Arts
Developer: Jo-Mei Video games
Launch: July 5, 2019
Score: Teen
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Additionally on:
Xbox One, PC

Psychological well being is a troublesome topic to sort out in video games. Reaching a tactful steadiness between recreation mechanics and difficult themes requires perception, however it may well make for a rewarding expertise when the 2 intertwine in significant methods. Titles like Celeste and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice illustrate this, and Sea of Solitude boldly plunges into comparable subject material; its world is as stunning as it’s melancholy, with a number of characters opening up about how their lives are ravaged by psychological well being.

 

Sea of Solitude casts you as Kay, a younger woman whose loneliness has remodeled her right into a literal monster. She navigates {a partially} submerged metropolis, with blurry reminiscences of a human previous. Quickly she finds out she’s not alone on this world, and she or he begins a quest of self-discovery through which she makes an attempt to proper earlier wrongs by serving to her household (who’ve additionally turn out to be beasts) discover peace. Sea of Solitude introduces an intriguing premise with darkness hiding below the floor, and it largely succeeds regardless of occasional hiccups.

 

You spend your time travelling by foot and by boat, platforming over roofs and thru cityscapes, avoiding risks, and interesting with no matter grandiose monster – like a big, fear-inspiring crow – lurks within the space. I used to be all the time desperate to see what the following beast awaited me could be, and the way the world would change to replicate it, similar to sundown skies and harsh waves when Kay’s dad and mom bicker at each other.

 

Kay has a private reference to every beast, whether or not that’s a mirrored image of a well-known darkness inside herself or an embodiment of a tortured member of the family, which brings a captivating depth to enemy encounters. I empathized with every main foe, and by no means needed to harm them. Fortunately, I by no means needed to. Boss battles in Sea of Solitude will not be typical fights; reasonably than defeating enemies, you assist them overcome points by clearing corruption, which will increase Kay’s understanding of their issues and helps these in ache see clearly, similar to two characters realizing its finest to finish a relationship that’s useless within the water. It’s a intelligent method that succeeds in driving empathy within the participant, too.

 

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Clearing corruption is your major aim in Sea of Solitude. Corruption factors seem as glowing orbs with clouds of black smoke twirling round them. To eradicate these, you accumulate different smaller orbs by platforming across the space and doing gentle puzzle fixing. You have got a flare you possibly can shoot into the air that helpfully guides you to your subsequent goal, however it’s additionally your one and solely weapon. Mild defeats shadow enemies; typically it’s a must to kill them earlier than shifting on or, because the gameplay evolves, flip them into allies to allow them to soar upon ledges you possibly can’t attain to seize orbs for you. Preventing or manipulating enemies is a lackluster expertise because it doesn’t require a lot technique, and I most popular platforming moments which might be intertwined with voiceovers that give perception into what occurred to Kay’s household.

 

Puzzles, like defeating shadow creatures, are shallow. For instance, you possibly can trick enemies into chasing you to steer them away from a door you want to enter. However the straightforward puzzles by no means bothered me a lot, since clean development permits the story to proceed uninterrupted – and narrative is Sea of Solitude’s power.

 

Characters have depth, and also you study extra about Kay and others when clearing corruption. Issues are rooted in psychological well being, similar to Kay’s boyfriend who’s in a deep pit of melancholy and one other sequence a few younger boy being bullied. Most of those moments really feel real, however I discovered the temporary bullying storyline clumsy, particularly when it delved into suicidal ideation in a sloppy method. Different instances I took situation with stilted and awkward dialogue or when deeply private themes have been rushed.

 

Nevertheless, some moments shine when the sport lets its world converse for itself; I loved seeing characters coming to grip with their actuality on their very own and the way each the climate and aesthetic modified to emphasise these emotions. I really like how town turns into chilled and blanketed in snow when exploring the subject of a damaged romantic relationship, or how a constructing with vents that spew steam fittingly displays a father’s overwhelming anger.

 

Climate performs a major position throughout exploration, with rainfall warning you of hazard and sunny skies signaling security. It’s a easy system that works properly to tell the participant when to brace for horrors, and there’s a shocking quantity of fright. A fish monster swims at midnight waters and if it catches you it violently tears you aside with its sharp tooth. Murky seas often have ghostly fingers that emerge from the depths that drown Kay if she touches them. All of this feels all of the extra terrifying due to Sea of Solitude’s barren world.

 

 

 

Whereas an empty world is usually seen as a damaging in video games, it feels applicable right here not only for the efficient horror parts, but additionally as a result of it displays Kay’s emotions and provides intrigue to the thriller. I stored questioning how Kay ended up alone and why monsters are the one dwelling beings left. Solutions to those questions aren’t all the time handed to you, however I loved attempting to piece collectively bits myself by means of my very own interpretations and messages left behind in bottles.

 

Sea of Solitude supplies an insightful take a look at how psychological well being devastates the lives of not simply these it impacts, but additionally family members on the surface. Kay learns loads about herself by understanding the worth of listening, coming to time period along with her flaws, and never simply empathizing with household but additionally accepting {that a} easy repair isn’t all the time potential.

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Rating: 7.5

Abstract: This journey recreation supplies an insightful take a look at psychological well being inside a stunning and melancholy world.

Idea: Navigate a half-submerged metropolis and conquer your demons by overcoming literal monsters

Graphics: Sea of Solitude is each stunning and horrifying, with colourful aesthetics juxtaposed with darker palettes throughout storms

Sound: The sound design is properly carried out, similar to a crow’s piercing cry and the crashing of waves offering an unsettling ambiance

Playability: Sea of Solitude controls simply, and the minimalist interface helps you turn out to be totally immersed

Leisure: Sea of Solitude supplies an insightful take a look at psychological well being and its characters evolve in significant methods

Replay: Reasonably Low

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