Jan 06 2014
During the Winter break, I finally had time to catch up on some video games now that I’m done with academics. I decided to give Contrast a go on my PlayStation 4. When I first heard about this game, I was intrigued by the Jazz-noir themes and the shadow mechanics. However, I was surprised that it received mixed reviews from critics.
I was never really a puzzle/platformer type of gamer, but I’ve always appreciated it when I watched people play it. As I watched my cousins play Contrast, I was able to appreciate and be annoyed by it at the same time. For the first few minutes, I was wondering why people didn’t like the game so much. However, its faults soon surfaced and it was very hard to ignore them.
Read on for more.
I really liked how players could shift from 2D to 3D in an instant using shadows. I thought that it was a refreshing experience from other indie games, but it sort of reminded me of BioShock: Infinite because of a lot of things. The city in the sky feel, alternate dimensions, and the vintage themes weren’t exactly original, but it was still different in it’s own way.
The puzzles were challenging, but they weren’t impossible to figure out. I liked how you could gain new abilities over time. You don’t have the option to customize your skills and I didn’t really care since it was a relatively short game. It was neat how you could shift objects in addition to the protagonist.
The soundtrack and the art were cool. I like its vaudevillian music selection and the gothic feel of the art design. The story was interesting as well, and I think that’s one of the game’s strengths. These were all my initial impressions until I started to see why some critics gave it an average grade.
I’m usually the first person who will fight for flawed gems, but the glitches in this game make my hair fall off. Often times, you get stuck in a place for a stupid reason. There are times when dashing helps, but it’s a pain in the ass when restarting is your only option. I even encountered a level wherein I had to redo an entire level because of a glitch.
There are also levels when you have to move boxes around the level. In one instance, my cousin accidentally dropped it in the abyss. Normally, you would respawn if you fall out of bounds but it’s not the same for objects because it will be gone forever. If you did drop it, then you’ll have to revert to the last save.
The problem with this is if you’re in a level that has three puzzles, you’ll have to do the entire thing again as opposed to starting from exactly where you left off. It’s particularly annoying when the reason you are starting over isn’t even your fault.
The voice acting isn’t that special as well. Maybe the voice actress behind Kat Malenkaya is an exception, but that’s it. If you’re a big gamer, then you’ll probably notice Elias Toufexis in the game as well. I remember reading an article that noted Toufexis was supposed to voice another lead character, but the developer decided to use another guy since his voice is too familiar. I think they were right. His voice is easily distinguishable and that’s not a good thing.
In the end, Contrast could have been an awesome game that everyone will be talking about but it sadly falls short. I’m happy I got it for free on PlayStation Plus.
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