Child of Light is bloody brilliant. Mixing a wonderful aesthetic with combat that offers both accessibility and complexity, it is more than worthy of your attention, especially at a time when new releases are few and far between.
Much has been made of the game's art direction, and it's every bit as accomplished as billed, the UbiArt Framework fitting beautifully with the narrative; a simple tale of a girl lost in a strange new world. For large parts of the experience the story moves along nicely, at a pace to match the soothing score. As it approaches the final third, however, it quickly ramps up and offers a climax that draws you in, suddenly presenting a situation much more grave than first thought.
The gentle tempo works well, moving you expertly through the wonderfully varied environments. Ubisoft has done a good job of setting a certain tone to dictate play: the steady musical score and open landscapes encourage exploration to find side missions or hidden stat boosters throughout Lemuria, and on the whole it feels like a proper adventure.
The combat system is also superb. Unlike other turn-based games, there’s hardly a moment’s respite: players will be constantly juggling between the members of the party, hurting and healing, while also sending Igniculus, Aurora’s glowing companion, roaming between enemies to hinder their progress towards the next move. Fights quickly become complex, with many different strategies in play and tactics to maintain, but the system is never overwhelming, and I always felt able to overcome my enemies with solid planning and quick reflexes. It's so good I never found myself trying to avoid encounters as I explored Lemuria.
The biggest complaint I can levy against Child of Light is its relative lack of challenge. I fell only twice in the main story, and a quick shuffle meant the enemies were quickly swept aside. On the other hand, this is an RPG that never feels like a grind. It is one to enjoy, to soak in, to escape into and enjoy every moment you have with it.
Version Tested: PS4. Played for 15 hours.
9 / 10
- Lots to explore.
- Deep combat system.
- Superb presentation.
- Lack of challenge may irk some.