Oure Review: Crouching Titan, Troubled Dragon

This game came out of nowhere at Paris Games Week 2017, announced by PlayStation with a trailer stating that it was out that day. There is something to be said about a game that is kept off the radar until it actually launches. It keeps from anyone building unnecessary hype that lets people down (poor Hello Games never stood a chance with No Man’s Sky). But it is also cause for concern, because no one has had a chance to spend time with it. From the trailer, it had a lot of comparisons to Shadow of the Colossus and Journey, which are some pretty big shoes to fill.

Upon booting it up, you’re treated to a child narrating their beginnings with their family and everything that leads up to the moment you play. In this new world of clouds that the child had dreamed of, you transform into a dragon and fly among the white cotton candy as you collect orbs and pieces of titans. It’s also where you’ll face these giants in the sky in the hopes of saving the world.

Now that you know the story, you’re ready for the game, because you won’t get a whole lot more beyond that. You’ll hear from your parents after you defeat each titan, which typically consists of “Yay, you know what to do!” And you better not do the action before the game prompts you to, because it won’t register. It’s kind of funny how much the game holds your hand, requesting you to press a button on the screen, otherwise it won’t work. It’s a bit off-putting as it comes off as insulting to the player. I can understand telling you initially, but requiring it every time thereafter is a bit much.

Games that involve flight (or swimming underwater) often have two types of control schemes: either the left stick moves the character along the x- and z-axis with two other buttons moving up and down on the y-axis, or the left analog stick controls the x-, y-, and z-axis while another button propels the character. Neither is necessarily better than the other, as they can both work exceptionally well, but that requires a lot of QA. Flight is one of the times in games that not only do the controls have to be spot on, but so does the way the camera is used. When compared to AER, a recent title with a similar mission and premise, the flight in this looks like something from a previous console generation.

After collecting orbs (the game has 750 to collect, but you need a small fraction of that to complete the game and purchase the collectibles), you’ll be able to power a beacon. It’s here that you’ll then awaken a titan and fly alongside them, solving line puzzles on parts of their bodies. As mentioned before, you’ll be prompted to press square, and then a little diagram will be brought up for you to basically connect the dots. The game wants you to do it in a certain amount of turns as determined by the crystals shown on the screen, and while these become more convoluted as you progress, they never become difficult. Each titan will have its own gimmick in reaching the crystals containing these puzzles – the first merely teaches you how to do them, the second involves holding on while speeding away, while the third requires you to flip it around as lasers impede your progress. Later on you’ll come across a maze and some of the most frustrating portions of the game, although not difficult; just seemingly luck based.

The game has two children for you to beat the game with, as well as all those collectibles. It contains some minimal platforming which merely means you positioning the character at the right place of an edge as they jump at a ledge. Should you miss the mark, you’ll become a dragon and have to go back to the beginning, as you can only turn into a human at designated markers. The gameplay loop of finding orbs and then powering up beacons and battling titans isn’t terrible, but it’s not overly remarkable, as the clouds don’t lead to any awe-inspiring moments that you’ll find in the likes of Journey, AER, Rime, or even Abzu.

The idea of something from thatgamecompany meets Team Ico is more than enticing, but the game feels unpolished and rushed in the end. With a bit more variation in environments, stronger controls, more involved titan battles, and less hand holding, this game would’ve been much better. The story is fine, if not predictable, but that too could use a bit of bolstering. I really want to like Oure, but it feels like it wanted to do what other games did without realizing what made them special.

4 out of 10

Pros

  • Watercolor Aesthetic
  • Varied Titan Designs

Cons

  • Controls/Camera
  • Clouds… Clouds Never Change
  • Luck Based Gameplay Near End

Oure was developed and published by Heavy Spectrum. It was released on PS4 October 30th, 2017 and will release on PC November 14th, 2017 for $19.99. The game was provided to us for review on PS4. For more on Oure, visit its official site.

 

Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.

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