Created by the Assassin’s Creed actor, this video game is an interesting Metroidvania offering.

Eat games that want to tell a story and they build their mechanics around this argument, and others who put tasks and interaction first then wrap them in a narrative; When both things are combined, the result is usually memorable pieces. We associate certain genres with the first approach to development, such as action-adventure or interactive drama, and others with the second, such as platform games and shooters. Maybe that’s why we were shocked by this Tales of Kenzera: ZAU Be alone the narrative is structured in the format metroidvania and not vice versa.

Journey through grief and African mythology

Of course, the premise it’s based on is very strong, both because of the theme it deals with and how unusual it is in a video game. First pear Surgent Studios continues assumption of loss. This is an inner journey through different states and different reflections of mourning for the main character who just lost his father; but also external travel around the world, taking place in African mythologywho needs to be treated as much as the character we control.

Despite being from a mid-sized independent studio, a personal author is prized: the author of its founder Abubakar Salim, the voice of Bayek in Origin of Assassin’s Creedwho has obvious his intention to portray in a video game, especially a metroidvania, the emotions and feelings he experienced when his father died. That the concept appeals to the player is essential to the enjoyment of an action-adventure and platform game in which narrative takes precedence over gameplaysometimes to the detriment of the rhythm and always with a feeling of what has become more effort in words than in mechanics.

It gives a feeling
They seem to want to create an interesting duality between the present and history, which ends up going nowhere.

However, the story is not brilliant. First we have to control Zuberi in the present time of the game. Afrofuturistic Kenzera 2089. His father had just passed away. Completely broken, he finds that he cannot enter the room in his house where the body lies to say goodbye. Study of the house is being restored the last book his father wrote, a mythological story filled with African culture like the one Salim’s father told him. At that moment, Tales of Kenzera completely forgets about the present, wasting duality that had potential narrative and even gaming, allowing you to immerse yourself in this story.

This the story of Zau, a young warrior-shaman who came to Kalunga, the god of death, with an offer: to bring back to life his Baba, his father, in exchange for hunting down the three great spirits who escaped their fate. To this end, he begins travel through Kenzera, its forests, swamps, deserts and volcanoes, about a destroyed world in which he will have to help mentally heal other characters while he heals himself. An adventure that touches on interesting situations and themes, but lacks impact and more memorable moments. and the great climax; an adventure where conversations and reflections, text and dialogue interrupt the game with more zeal than I would like.

There are many emotional and painful moments, but also
There are many emotional and painful moments, but there are others that over-explain the situation.

More action platforms than metroidvania

Because one of the pillars of good metroidvania It’s the rhythm in which the game flows between platforms, exploration, combat, and, when available, puzzles. That’s all, but it gives feeling like he lacks ambition or polish, to each of these legs. In that Platform There’s no shortage of double jumps, disappearing platforms, spikes and succession of power we achieve As we move forward like freeze waterfalls so you can bounce off them or the magic hook resembles impulses Ori.

Unfortunately, level design that improves greatly in the last third adventure, it lacks problems, and therefore, incentives and rhythm in the first bars; the game wants no one to get upset so everyone can enjoy the storyalthough this may lead to boring the potential audience metroidvania. In addition to some inaccuracies in control with whom you eventually get used to living, it’s surprising how little metroidvania This is a game that defines itself as such. A The most correct definition would be a platform for action.because while it is true that there are blocked paths that require us to acquire skills in order to advance, usually the power is obtained very close to the path where it can be used.

It never gets as complex as, say, Ori, but in
It’s never as complex as, say, Ori, but it’s much more dynamic in the final third.

Hence return back There is practically no progress in the adventure or in the story. Although there is some secondary motives to return to places already visited, quickly moving between fires greatly simplifies the task. Eat platform problems it’s quite simple that they reward us with amulets and struggle with tasks of different levels of intensity where we experience some of the most memorable battles in the game, but the two most common types of secrets are, again, narrative.

V trees of lifewhich also increase maximum health when detected, Zau He recalls the emotional moments he experienced with his father.. In its turn, echoone of the sources of obtaining the necessary energy, with which you can get points with which you can move along a simple skill tree, unlock short but numerous stories in the text, but voiced that although they are well written, they over-explain the situation and feelings that the main character is living in the moment, so they end up getting tired.

There are puzzles with boxes and switches that are repeated with variations, and others based on reaching a door before it closes.
There are puzzles with boxes and switches that are repeated with variations, and others based on reaching a door before it closes.

A fight with good ideas, but underdeveloped

Like intelligence the fight is gaining interest and intensity as we unlock and improve abilities and new monsters appear. The base starts with a good one: Zau Porta. two masks, Sun and Moon, between which we can switch on the flyand at the same time vary the available attacks. The sun protection mask is aimed at hand-to-hand combat: There are very simple combos, the ability to lift enemies into the air, slam the ground, and throw spears that can impale opponents.

The moon mask allows us to shoot, has an active cooldown to increase projectile damage, a close hit that stuns, and a spear that freezes enemies. Both have a powerful ultimate attack that uses the same resource, which we recharge when attacking and which is also used to heal us. Thus, we are forced to constantly switch between one and the other, either because the battles have ground level and flying enemies, or because they have shields that protect them from one type of damage or another.

They miss me
There are no more final bosses, although each one serves as the climax of the action.

But this solid gaming base feels wasted and underdeveloped. He the monster squad is very sparseto a system that allows throw enemies and make them collide There is no juice between them, there are too many fingers on one hand to count several. final bosses that aren’t difficult some – under the blows of their own and their enemies. no impact, amulets Wearables don’t change the experience all that much, and fights that involve more opponents become chaotic because with so many effects Sometimes it is difficult to determine our character.

The lack of combat challenges that veterans of the genre will encounter can be mitigated. increasing difficulty level between three possible ones, but the damage and resistance of opponents changes, not the design of the fights. Of course, some of the optional hard level combat missions live up to their name. They are the main interest in returning to the game as soon as we see the credits after about nine o’clock a starting point that can be extended for a couple more to get all the secrets and complete the challenges.

Fights usually take place in indoor arenas, but due to the levels there are usually some
Fights usually take place in closed arenas, but there are usually enemies found throughout all levels that intensify exploration.

Famous audiovisual environment

All this amounts to metroidvania which motivates you to continue the adventure more because of the story than the pacing and challenges of the game, but there is another pillar that supports this: the setting. Plot context, African mythology which surrounds this entire experience is as amazing as scenarios of magnificent nature and interesting buildings the people we study. Although the same cannot be said about enemies, character design This is great. While there are elements that stand out, such as the lack of facial animation in dialogue, this colorful game in artistic and technical terms. By the way, on the PC we were using (listed at the end of the article), we played with graphics at maximum. Stable 60 FPS in 1440p resolution without using upscaling technologies available (DLSS 2.5, FSR 2.2 and XeSS 1.2).

If visually this is a nice and individual game, then even more so when it comes to the sound, although the effects of hits, jumps, etc. are not on the same level. The soundtrack, epic or emotional, depending on the situation, is mixed. orchestral parts with percussion, synthesizers and African-style choirs, a unique combination that helps us immerse ourselves in the action; And environmental impact They give authenticity to the natural environment. He English dub (it is also available in Swahili and texts in perfect Spanish) is at a high level, both in conversations and in texts, voiced by the powerful voice of Abubakar Salim himself.

Has an artistic personality
He has an artistic personality and is very technically attractive.


For a fan metroidvania You might be shocked to learn the name of the genre. more concerned with story and setting than platforms and combat.. But keeping this in mind, Tales of Kenzera: ZAU This is an interesting proposal, from the point of view of its a tale of woe, sensations and emotions that you experience after the loss of a very close person; its setting, which emphasizes African culture and mythology in a way that we don’t remember seeing in any video game, a milestone as commendable as the one that represented Black Panther for mass cinema.

This is the adventure that happens in a crescendonever developed from Platform and some very simple encounters with reasonable challenge As new abilities are unlocked, more monsters appear and the level design gets a little more complex, but it never leaves the impression that As for playability, it needs to be developed. some of his ideas, let’s delve into return back and polish the control feel. However, Surgent Studios makes it clear in its first feature that This is a team to watch.

We performed this analysis thanks to the Steam code provided by Apple Tree. The computer used is equipped with Nvidia RTX 3070 8GB, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and 32GB of RAM.

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