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The Artful Escape (PC/Xbox)


MattyP
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Finished it this morning, my kids watched / played with me from the half way point so had a million questions and were pleased to see how it finished but disappointed we couldn't change clothes for the final encounter, they hadn't approved of my 70's Sun Ra space chic.

 

I did bounce off it initially, having played Psychonauts 2 id had my fill of psychedelia but after a few days break i got into the chill out nature of it. 

fattakin.jpg

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I thought this was I N C R E D I B L E ! A beautiful, wonderful, engrossing experience that had me beaming throughout. It's barely a "game" at all, and I don't care. 

 

On 14/09/2021 at 16:36, Stanley said:

platforming is fine, rhythm action is fine, it just doesn’t do either that well imo, to the point it may as well not be there. 

 

 

It is neither a platform game or a rhythm action game. It uses those mechanics as a means of self expression as opposed to completing a task. It's why it's simple simon style instead of rhythm action as @metallicfrodo says. The loose requirements for the simple simon bit allows you to play with the timing and make it your own. Same with the platforming, it's not about making it from A to B, it's about letting loose on the way, jumping, pumping your fist, sliding and wailing. 

 

 

 

On 15/09/2021 at 13:00, Quest said:

For me it's the quality of the music that lets this down. Just directionless, derivative noodling for most of it, and that undermines the story it's trying to tell. 

 

The game sort of acknowledges this at the end but I'd rather it just had a better score.

 

I'll allow this as a criticism - I thought it was great but I have a tolerance for noodling that is more or less infinite. 

 

And so amazing looking! I must have taken 50 screenshots. 

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3 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Well, ok, if we’re going be exact in our descriptions of what is or what isn’t platforming or rhythm action, it’s too convenient to just hand wave them away IMO because it’s art, darling. 

 

Sorry, I don't understand this post. What do you mean?

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On 18/09/2021 at 08:08, Unofficial Who said:

  Best way to describe the opening hour. Garden State: The Game. But then it takes a hard left turn into...I don't know, Bill and Ted meets Douglas Adams crossed with The Yellow Submarine?

 

 

 

Perfect description of the game for me. 

 

Just finished it a couple of nights ago. Brilliant experience. Gawd bless GamePass.

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It takes far too long to get going, you're probably nearly an hour in before you get to the good stuff.

 

It also feels like it has two introductions when it just needs one. Both introductions just duplicate setting up the themes and story beats of the game so having both, at least at the lengths they are, feels unnecessary from a storytelling perspective. I had totally gotten the gist of everything I needed to 15 minutes in yet it carries on laboriously setting everything up for another 30-45.

 

It's a lovely experience once it finally gets going though. Very sit back and enjoy the scenery gaming, which isn't a dig. It's not afraid of taking a few left-turns either like that talkshow interview.

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Absolutely loved this. The style, the sounds, the guitar shredding, it was all just stunning. 

 

Sometimes I'm just well up for games like this that aren't a challenge but are just stunning to look at and listen to, with a nice story to go a long with. Very much like A Night In The Woods.

 

 

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When does this really get going? I’ve been back to the cosmic lung a couple of times now, but just as I’m getting into a new adventure it comes back to a grinding halt with so many speech bubbles to scroll through that I’ve pretty much given up on reading them so I can get back to a bit of psychedelic fun.

 

It still feels like it’s warming up and I’m sticking with it as I’m waiting for it all to kick off. As nice as some of the visuals have been and when you’re sliding down hills shredding your guitar, it feels cool, but then it all stops again and I have to spend another 10 minutes wandering around talking to Lightman and the girl.

 

For a game that wants to revel in a fluid show of sound and visuals, I’m finding it annoyingly stop start.

 

Please tell me they take the training wheels off soon and I can spend the rest of the game watching the visuals get weirder and weirder.

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I’d say it never really changes. My feeling is that are really three big “levels” (times when you leave the lung and adventure before returning. They’re all pretty similar in style. Shredding punctuated with chatting.

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It was the endless dialogue boxes that killed it for me too. The actual 10% of the game where you got to play rather than just spamming A was pretty good.

 

Also, no matter how you dress your character up, you always somehow end up making the third member of Jedward.

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The dialog between the levels didn't bother me as much as the random things to talk to or interact with whilst you were cruising along. I now know you can ignore them all but their presence in the middle of it just seems quite poorly thought out.

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I liked the story, and it was definitely helped by the voice acting which I thought was superb. I do think the start was perhaps a little slow, although this wasn't helped by my stupid desire to talk to absolutely everybody. Otherwise I thought it really added to the experience, especially

 

Spoiler

how your dialogue choices gradually shape the character you create. I was very pleased with The Whimsical Mogster! from Nez Beam! Leader of the Insanely Loud Galactic Orchestra or whatever it was. :D

 

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I found this a bit charming but ultimately empty.

 

Yes, the environments were interesting and showed inventiveness on the part of the art team but the gameplay was utterly devoid of interest.

 

Other games with no challenge ('walking simulators' for want of a better term) at least demonstrate some inventiveness when it comes to gameplay. I was just bored with this.

 

The gold standard of these kind of games is still the magical realism of What Became of Edith Finch, specifically the trout factory level.

 

Also the music wasn't anywhere near as good as it needed to be to carry the experience. I know music is subjective but they really needed this game to be carried by the tunes and most of it was utterly forgettable.

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2 hours ago, Isaac said:

Also the music wasn't anywhere near as good as it needed to be to carry the experience. I know music is subjective but they really needed this game to be carried by the tunes and most of it was utterly forgettable.

 

This was my main problem with it. Constantly telling you that the whole universe is enthralled by the music of the main character, but it's just bland soloing the whole time. More variety in the music between the different levels might've helped. Anything that'd get me to buy into the narrative. 

 

Out of curiosity I went and listened to that Galvatron guy's old band and, errrr, never doing that again. 

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Yeah, horrific. A comedy band I assume. Bland music aside, the game has just about the dullest imagining of ‘psychedelia’ I can imagine, it’s all very second hand. On the other hand, it’s clearly not a game for me, with barely there mechanics and well-trodden story. 

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1 hour ago, rafaqat said:

It's funny.  I realise that people will have different opinions of games I love but i STILL feel personally insulted when I see people calling this game bland.   :D

 

You should try the Psi King level in Psychonauts 2 if you really want to see what LSD can look like. This isn’t a patch on it for authenticity.

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21 minutes ago, K said:

I feel like the game's going for all the accoutrements of being a rock star, without the tricky bit of creating music.

 

This could also serve as a fair summary of Galvatron's old band.

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This seems to do what a few games seem to do lately. They're too afraid to just present you with a cutscene on rails. Perhaps so that people don't complain that the game has "really long unskippable cutscenes"?

 

But if the interaction is basically walk to the right, talk through speech bubbles, walk to the right, talk through speech bubbles, walk to the right...it's still a cutscene, just an obfuscated one that I have to keep nudging forward.

 

I'd rather just strap in for some story telling, and then when I regain control I'm actually playing a game.

 

I did enjoy the first bit of shredding / platforming when I got to it this morning, and tried to just enjoy the vibe of the hipster intro. It's really visually quite stunning as it comes across as a simple paper-doll indie game but then has these next gen touches that make it quite spectacular, so I'll enjoy it for a bit more. It's a good respite from the intensity of yet another Hades run

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Well after a fairly uninspiring hour on Ratchet and Clank on the PS5 had a wonderful one and half hours on this....

 

The warp turtle man... wow.... fantastic stuff. Don't want this to end.... one of the best experiences I have had for a while... :)

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How is everyone getting on with this? 

 

Had a few slowdown issues on The Warp Turtle level is this the same experience everyone has had... just trying to gauge whether it's my PC not being upto the job or people have had issues on their Xboxes playing it?

 

Not had any issues on later levels so far....

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2 minutes ago, Flub said:

Plenty of slowdown on the Series X when I played it.

OK... So perhaps its badly optimised then... :D 

 

Series X should have enough grunt to easily handle this... (as I thought my PC should have!!!). Still loving the game but surprised my PC started to struggle with it.

 

Playing this with surround headphones on is awesome BTW... sound design on the levels is fantastic... although not to everyone's music taste I guess!

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2 hours ago, Flub said:

Plenty of slowdown on the Series X when I played it.

 

I didn't notice anything at all when I played it. so, YMMV depending on how sensitive you are to that stuff - I'm clearly not very sensitive lol

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