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The Artful Escape (PC/Xbox/PS5/Switch)


MattyP
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On 04/10/2021 at 11:59, K said:

I really wanted to like this, and after the rather twee intro I was very much on board with the Wes Anderson version of Bill & Ted vibe of the story. But my god, the music is absolutely killing me. I just hate the music, it's awful.

 

When you've got a game about music, and the story is about the power of music and involves musicians who are supposed to be the greatest musicians in the galaxy, and whose music is so amazing it can cause shifts in the faultlines of the cosmos itself, then you really have to nail the music. Obviously, it would be unreasonable to expect it to literally be the greatest music in the galaxy, but as with any story about fake musicians who aren't supposed to be terrible, there's a fairly high bar to clear in terms of actually selling the fact that they're supposed to be good.

 

With this, the music is just aimless, formless, endless guitar shredding over synth washes. It's the same all the way through - non-stop space metal noodling. Fair play if you like it, I'm not trying to take anyone's enjoyment of the game away, but for me, it falls so far short of the cheque that the story is trying to cash that it's borderline comical. Like, I like a bit of noodling - I don't mind listening to Pat Methany or a bit of jazz-funk improvisation - but I'm about two hours into the game, and it's just been the same sound all the way through. It doesn't develop or change. There's no structure. It's just a solo, on one instrument, for hours.

 

It just seems like such a wasted opportunity. I like the story, I like the themes of reinvention, I like the references to Bowie and Dylan, the dialogue and voice acting are excellent, but the music is like background noise. It's like Bowie walking out as Ziggy Stardust for the first time and just playing a guitar solo for an hour, to an increasingly bored and angry crowd, or Bill & Ted coming on stage at the end of Bogus Journey and just shredding rather than playing an essentially throwaway but catchy and satisfying pop-rock song. I feel like the game's going for all the accoutrements of being a rock star, without the tricky bit of creating music.

 

What a waste.

 

This absolutely nails my thoughts on the game.

 

The visuals are outstanding, but the music is probably the most forgettable music in a game I've played this year.

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I’m also in the “music is not quite consistently good enough camp”. I actually really enjoyed (and preferred) the folk music at the beginning of the game, the way it rang out from Calypso was beautiful. 
 

That being said I did think the music picked up towards the end, I think a shorter run time would have really helped. If the game was the length of a normal album I don’t think the lack of gameplay would have been so apparent, and perhaps the music quality would have been consolidated. I wonder if the developers didn’t feel like they could make a video game that short as it might make consumers feel short changed. This could be an area that subscription models (I’d pay for Annapurna Plus) can really add some value.

 

one thing I would add about the visuals, is it’s the first time I’ve ever really been amazed by the sharpness of an image. The sheer pin point clarity of the lasers and, especially, the projections had me in a state of disbelief at points. The fact the story calls out the quality of the visuals over the music was interesting. 
 

It’s a 8/10 for me. 

 

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8 hours ago, Boozy The Clown said:

yep. It's a game that requires little to no skill whatsoever. Hence why it's great for some of us who need just such a lack of challenge. I still failed the simon says bits like 20 times. 

Completely agree. More of an experience than a game really.

 

Actually found myself playing in "real time" to the Simon says bits towards the end just seemed a bit easier than trying to remember the whole sequence and replying it... actually felt a bit like your were playing with the boss type thing than just doing a Simon says type thing... if that all makes sense... :D 

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27 minutes ago, MattyP said:

Completely agree. More of an experience than a game really.

 

Actually found myself playing in "real time" to the Simon says bits towards the end just seemed a bit easier than trying to remember the whole sequence and replying it... actually felt a bit like your were playing with the boss type thing than just doing a Simon says type thing... if that all makes sense... :D 

hah. I did exactly the same.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished this and I thought it was beautiful. I don't even like music as a mechanic or theme (and this certainly hasn't convinced me otherwise) but the whole look, simple story and some of the soundtrack was just delightful. I thought the shredding actually ruined it though, so I didn't do that (despite the changes to the environment it made.)

 

I did think though

Spoiler

that there might have been something more about his dad, other than a comment when looking at a photo.

 

Anyway, some interesting views in this thread.

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  • 1 month later...

The aimless guitar wank was so annoying by half way through that I didn’t touch the play music button for the rest of the game. And I say this as a diehard prog person. But I appreciate not many people spent their 20s trapped in tiny practice rooms with two or three lead guitarists doing it for hours. Bad memories 😬

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Played this after it got praised so highly on TCGS. 
 

I really didn’t get on with it. 
 

I quite like walking sims and I like good music bits like the music levels in Rayman but by god I struggled in the 90 minutes or so I played. 
 

The story was mind numbing. I had no idea if it was meant to mean anything. The music itself was okay but overall it just never seemed to get going. It was just like a constant intro with nothing interesting to do. The Simon says bits also seemed really non responsive and it was one of those that I just gave up on and uninstalled. 
 

It’s a shame as I wanted to like it and I thought it looked stunning but it’s a big nope from me. 

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7 hours ago, Gabe said:

@YiggyI don't think there is a great deal to the story, to be honest - it's just about the character finding out who he is, the setting is largely superfluous to that really and is just dressing.


Yeah that’s fair enough. It’s a bit like Kentucky Route Zero in that respect. 

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Graphically and imaginatively this was wonderful and right up my street. Plays to my style over substance failings in life. 

 

But the actual gameplay was monotonous, which is more understandable in this type of game, but ultimately tiresome and repetitive, there's only so much sliding down hills and pressing jump twice before it gets a bit stale. And whilst the music early on showed promise it turned into a shredding wankfest towards the end. To the point I ended up listening to a podcast rather than bothering with the self-indulgent guitar solos. 

 

I hate being down on games like this because I think these types of endeavours are risky and polarising. I also think gaming would be poorer and more anodyne without things like this. I think if the music was some kind of Daft Punk space-operatic jam then I'd have far preferred it. I'm glad I played it, as the visuals and speech were great, but ultimately I didn't get a great deal from it. 

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@StopharageI honestly thought it was far better by completely ignoring the shredding (which was just horrible). Sure, you missed out on some graphical bells and whistles, but some of the actual soundtrack was really nice and made for a much more relaxing piece.

 

I do think that it perhaps went on a bit longer than the gameplay - such that it was - could support though. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I bought and played through this yesterday on PS5. It’s ridiculously entertaining from start to finish, and just the right length too.  
 

More of this, please. 
 

Carl Fucking Weathers. 

 

(If I had one gripe, and it’s only a tiny one, it’s that it hasn’t been optimised for the PS5 in the slightest. Some stuttering here and there (like 3 times in the whole game), and it bizarrely snaps to brief black loading screens which kind of take you out of it a little, and should surely be avoidable with appropriate use of the SSD). 
 

 

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2 hours ago, catinthehat said:

(If I had one gripe, and it’s only a tiny one, it’s that it hasn’t been optimised for the PS5 in the slightest. Some stuttering here and there (like 3 times in the whole game), and it bizarrely snaps to brief black loading screens which kind of take you out of it a little, and should surely be avoidable with appropriate use of the SSD). 

Don't worry not great on Xbox Series X or PC either to be honest and probably suffers in the same places. Certainly had stuttering in a few places on the PC. Didn't spoil the game just felt like a bit of good old slowdown:) 

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11 minutes ago, Meat said:

Thanks to the thread that’s the fastest I’ve ever gone from being aware of a game’s existence and purchase, @cassidy sealing the deal beyond any doubt whatsoever.

Well I hope you enjoy it now or I'm going look a fool( well more of one than normal) 

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31 minutes ago, Meat said:

Thanks to the thread that’s the fastest I’ve ever gone from being aware of a game’s existence and purchase, @cassidy sealing the deal beyond any doubt whatsoever.

Easier to think it more an experience than a game. The mechanics you use to interact with are fairly rudimentary but the experience.. well.... Enjoy :)

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I do hope you like it @Meat. I just didn’t rate it at all. I found the ‘game’ mechanics far too repetitive and boring, the story really poor to the point I ended up skipping as much as I could and the lauded hallucinatory visuals a real disappointment after the Psi King level in Psychonauts 2. Sorry!

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Thank you beautiful people, went in with more tempered expectations, enjoying the shit out of it 🤩

 

I do wonder what a cubensis escalation might do to the experience but that could be for another time.

 

I know nothing about Psychonauts but now also very intrigued @JPL

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1 hour ago, Meat said:

Thank you beautiful people, went in with more tempered expectations, enjoying the shit out of it 🤩

 

I do wonder what a cubensis escalation might do to the experience but that could be for another time.

 

I know nothing about Psychonauts but now also very intrigued @JPL

Glad you’re enjoying it. I seem to be in the minority in not liking it anyway.

 

And yeah, I’d definitely recommend Psychonauts. It’s a full on platformer, but you’ve got psychic powers and the level I mentioned is really trippy. It’s full of really creative ideas throughout though and we’ll worth playing.

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1 hour ago, Meat said:

Thank you beautiful people, went in with more tempered expectations, enjoying the shit out of it 🤩

 

I do wonder what a cubensis escalation might do to the experience but that could be for another time.

 

I know nothing about Psychonauts but now also very intrigued @JPL

I doubt it would make it any worse an experience tbh. Cos it's not really a game is it. I played Simon and had a Douglas Adams story delivered by a great voice cast.

 

What's not to like. Says the guy who shovelled many a 50p into Dragons Lair just to play the next QTE. 

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  • 3 months later...

Just started playing this and it is the perfect game to use with a Hue Sync light system, absolutely brilliant to have the game world expand into my living room.

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  • 1 month later...

Started this a few days ago and for the first half hour or so found it incredibly tedious. Walk here, press X, yap, yap.

 

Anyway, it’s opened up now and I’m enjoying it.

 

The art-direction is great overall, but I do find the main protagonist to be incredibly bland. This game deserves a better star.

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