Sunday, February 22, 2009

Flower review

Name: Flower
System/s: PS3
Developer: Thatgamecompany
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 2/12/09

To start off, I bought Thatgamecompany's last game, Fl0w, and didn't enjoy it that much. It wasn't that it was a bad game, or that it was much a game in general, but that it just didn't grab me, the concept worked, but I got bored of it quickly, and couldn't get the hang of the motion controls. When I heard Thatgamecompany announced a new game, I was excited, but didn't really have any expectations.

Fast forward a year or so, a few days before release, I was surprised at all the good reviews it was getting, and was lucky enough to have a friend buy it, and be able to play it.

I will start by saying: This game is pretty. Sure, Killzone 2 is pretty in it's own way, but this is pretty in a way not seen very often in games. When playing this game, your eyes will be treated to fields that stretch as far as the eye can see, with grass sawing in the wind, and flower pedals blowing away.

The graphics are clean and detailed, with each blade of grass a 3D object, and with millions of blades of grass per level, as stated before, stretching on into the horizon. The landscape itself is smooth and shows no jagged lines, or straight edges, it all looks natural, not artificial. The effects and lighting also are top notch with nothing about the graphics taking you out of the experience which is extremely rare.

The gameplay itself revolves around the wind blowing flower pedals around, and picking up more, while opening new flowers, there is no time limit, no enemies, and you can't lose. It may sound simple, but it manages to stay feeling fresh through the game, with a few twists, I wont reveal thrown in. The controls would seem a bit awkward by reading them, but in practice they work surprisingly well, with motion control for steering and any button to go faster. The motion control is done better then any other PS3 game I've played, being responsive and accurate, moving about feels natural just about right away, and is simple enough that almost anyone can pick it up.

Another surprise to those who haven't played this game, is that it has a story, and a quite good one at that. The story is told through cutscenes, and gameplay, but has no voice acting or characters, which makes it feel extremely unique. All in all, it feels a bit like a extremely well done animated short, only you're the one making things happen. I wish I could go into more detail, but really, it's something I don't need to spoil for anyone.

The music helps set the mood, with soft orchestrated music, that's context sensitive, so it changes depending on what is going on. Opening flowers and exploring the area will yield different musical sounds which will weave their way into the soundtrack, and sounds like it belongs there.

The only complaint I could find with the game is it's length, lasting a few hours at most, and besides trophies you probably wont continue to play it. As I said before, anyone can enjoy this game, so if you buy it, expect to be able to share it with family members and friends.

The game is designed to hit your heart strings in the same fashion a movie would, and it succeed on doing that for me, which is rare, especially since I've played so many games. Flower, is, simply put, not like any other game, it's a work of art, an interactive work of art.

What I Liked:

Usually when you see outside areas in games, they look manmade, even the fields and meadows, this breaks that trend and looks very natural.

This game has both wonderful graphics, and just a style that you can't help but to think as beautiful.

I wont lie to you, this is one of the most immersive games I've ever seen, the graphics, music, sounds, and just everything sucks you in, and there's nothing that will pull you out of the experience.

Good motion control:
Most PS3 games that make use of the motion control are not known for it, and most of the time, it's laggy and inaccurate. Flower uses the motion controls, and does it better then any other game on the PS3.

Great soundtrack:
The music in Flower is wonderful, it completely sets the mood, and could not have been done better. Just wonderful overall.

In a time with so many shooting games, it's nice to see something truly unique, and this is it. A game unlike any other games.

Easy to play:
The controls and difficulty is so simple, just about anyone can play it, that includes your family.

The game is very touching, seeing the flower pedals move about in the wind, it feels like the wind is blowing around inside you while you play the game.

What I didn't like:

It's not very long, being only a few hours overall to finish it. The few hours are wonderful though,

Replay value:
Besides trophies and the urge to come back and play it again sometimes, there's not a whole lot to do in the game.

Overall Scores:

Presentation - 10/10: There's really nothing wrong with the way this game looks or sounds, everything is done right here.

Graphics - 9/10: I wished there was a few more objects, though I know this is only taste, a lot of people might think it would ruin the atmosphere.

Sound - 10/10: Excilent music, sounds, and ambiance, no complaints.

Gameplay - 9/10: Simple yet done right, something that will appeal to both hardcore, and casual gamers.

Lasting Appeal 6/10: A playthrough is only a few hours, and the trophies are also only a few hours, but you'll probably come back and play it from time to time.

Overall Fun 9/10: Despite the length, I find it hard to think that anyone couldn't find at least some enjoyment out of this game, it's so well done, just overall, that everyone should have a chance to play it.

Flower is available on the Playstation Network for $9.99, go buy it.

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