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mdn2

Night In The Woods

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I've been doing a weekly mini review on some smaller eshop games this last few weeks, in the hope of promoting some discussion about the games. I figured I'd spin off some of the posts into their own thread to see how interested others are. So here goes. 

 

This week: 

Night In The Woods

 

Price: £17.09

Metacritic: 85%

https://www.metacritic.com/game/switch/night-in-the-woods

Also on: Pretty much everything.

 

It's hard to really talk about Night In The Woods without going into spoiler territory. I can't even quantify what appeals about the game so much to me, really. You play as Mae, a young cat who returns home to her little town after dropping out of college. You rekindle old friendships, you attempt to talk with your disappointed parents, you wander around town, noticing how many places have closed down since you were last here, you poke at dismembered arms with sticks. The atmosphere reminds me of Animal Crossing if it was written by David Lynch. Things just don't seem quite right in this little town. 

What stands out about Night In The Woods is the dialogue. The core four main friends have easy, well written conversations that flow naturally. Oftentimes, this will slow the pace of the game down a bit as you end up listening to talk about what was on TV lastnight, but it really does aid the character development. And when the game takes a left turn about two thirds of the way through, you realise how important those conversations are. 

Honestly, I just enjoyed spending time in the world. At about 6-7 hours, it's not the longest game, But the feel of decay, of a town which is failing in the face of the modern world is so well realised. And it has a great story to tell. 

 

 

SQ_NSwitchDS_NightIntheWoods.jpg

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4 hours ago, mdn2 said:

Oftentimes, this will slow the pace of the game down a bit as you end up listening to talk about what was on TV lastnight

 

To be honest I think this is what puts me off trying it - I watched trailers and things for this on YouTube and it looks like it's much more about narrative than gameplay, and the narrative that's there takes a long time to get going. There's nothing wrong with these sorts of games; they're just not always my thing.

 

However, I like the art style (well, what I've seen of it.)

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If you like the characters or can relate to Mae then you'll like it immediately. 

 

I loved this game. It's like a really good graphic novel come to life. 

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An odd thing happened when I played through Night In The Woods. I fired it up just to check it off the list of 2017 games before making my GOTY list, and after a couple of hours I gave it a tentative spot in 10th place. Then 9th a little while later. Then 5th, when I discovered the DemonTower mini game. A couple of hours after finishing the DemonTower mini game, it had made its way up to 2nd. Then, once I had finished the main game and the bonus Kickstarter episodes that come with the Weird Autumn release, I realised that this was comfortably #1 on my list. Ostensibly a mundane story about a group of friends in a small, run-down town, it manages to touch on very 'now' social issues, as well as having its own surprisingly complex lore and history. You spend a lot of time learning what makes the central characters tick, which is often more than you expect, but there is also back story for pretty much every incidental character to give context to their grumpy outbursts or poignant philosophising.

#1 on the list though? Zelda is obviously an amazing game, but I asked myself when making my list, if I had to erase one of the two games from my memory of 2017, which experience did I want to hold on to? I had to say that Night In The Woods, with its amazing writing, relatable characters and gripping drama, was the experience I valued the most.
It was Night In The Woods, not Zelda, that had me giggling so much I couldn't play properly (dinner with Greg) and that made me literally stand up in panic while playing because of the ho-ly-shit drama. It's an awesome game.
Pro tip: It's easy to miss, so make sure that you head up to the rooftops above Mae's nearby neighbour Selmers every other day, when the astronomy guy is up on the roof. Chatting with him will give you some of the most beautiful writing in the game.

 

PS I kind of just c&p'd the above from my GOTY list, but it still stands and I'm too late for work to edit it.
 

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9 minutes ago, Stejay said:

Are those bonus episodes now included in any of the console versions, @El Stevo?  It’s been on my Switch wish list for some time.

They're on the Switch version, don't know about the others. 

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3 hours ago, Stejay said:

Are those bonus episodes now included in any of the console versions, @El Stevo?  It’s been on my Switch wish list for some time.

 

They are on the Xbone version as well. They're technically standalone bits of content, but they are acknowledged in the main game and you'll smile when you spot the references. Well, I did anyway!

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