Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Isolation Reviews: Abzu for Playstation 4
Rather than find a screen-capture, I decided that a game like Abzu is better represented by a video showing off actual footage. I think I originally snagged Abzu as part of the Playstation Network free monthly game titles; if you manage to find it for the price of free this game is an utter steal. Although I played it on the Playstation 4 (Pro), it is also available on every other platform.
Abzu is not exactly a game in the conventional sense.I spent about 4 hours in total before completing the experience, but you could easily take your time with it to explore every nook and cranny of this alien underwater world. Abzu does provide a sort of plot: you are an aquatic diver who apparently doesn't need oxygen, exploring an increasingly labyrinthine undersea realm that consists of a diverse and sometimes extinct ecology, ancient ruins, some seemingly mystical segueys of some sort, and later on more obvious science fiction elements manifest as well. The overall experience is about 10% game and 90% event; you play Abzu because you want to marvel at the gorgeous graphics, mood setting music and speculate on the snippets of plot that you float by as you do so.
Occasional minor puzzles pop up, though nothing that anyone would consider challenging; more along the lines of "I must open this door by pulling these chains" type stuff, or "I must swim around these floating mines or be momentarily inconvenienced" events. There is no risk of death or setback, just things to experience as you move your way through the environment.
Ultimately, Abzu is best played when you are in the mood for a relaxing experience. It's Venn diagram falls somewhere in the overlapping plane of "I want to listen to mood music," "I want to ride a roller coaster through Disney's undersea adventure land," and "I want to watch a National Geographic Wonders of Nature Special, but also make the photographer move around according to my whims." If you recognize that this is one of those games that pushed the envelope and broke the mold, then you will be pleasantly rewarded with a fun experience.
Overall, I give it a solid A! But with the caveat that it is better described as an "experience" than a "game."