A Path To Freedom — A Pyre Review

With a roster of nearly 20 characters, this cast is also the biggest one yet for a Supergiant game. Unfortunately, these characters wasn’t explored as well as I had hoped they would be. This may be because of aforementioned large cast; in previous games the total number of their main cast was less than half, including antagonists. And as endearing as Pyre‘s characters are, they don’t have the same kind draw as characters from previous titles.

In both Bastion and Transistor, a lot of characterization comes through in the main plot itself. On the other hand, in Pyre, a lot of that same characterization usually has to be hunted down. The fact that some of these instances come through what are more or less branching story paths doesn’t help either. The end result of that is that I went to favor some characters while neglecting others, which really is a big shame.

Of course, one could argue back with the solution of replaying, which I’m more than okay with myself. I can easily see how other people may quickly get tired of the game after completing it once, though. Unlike the last two games Pyre doesn’t have a new game plus. Players have to start from scratch if they want to play it again. It makes sense in the context of the game, but I can see how something like that can put a damper for other players.

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These same branching paths, though, allow you to get so much more of the characters that you love. In this game every choice you make gives you something, thus putting value and weight in each decision. Here is where true brilliance of Pyre‘s writing shines; the game is set in a way that there’s never really a wrong choice to be made in this game. Even when you lose a match, it’s not game over: that loss plays into the narrative instead. Its consequences are something you have to live with as you continue onward with your journey.

Even then, losing might actually be what you want to do. The opponents that your team faces aren’t nameless, generic NPCs. They, too, have their stories and histories and their own reasons to earn their freedom. And while their reasons may mean nothing to you, the same may not hold true for your team. Some of them might even wish for the opposing team to win instead! Do you go ahead and claim victory at all costs, or will you instead do what you feel is right? Pyre is that game that has you asking these questions and more.

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Talking about a game by Supergiant means that one should not forget about the music or its art. “In The Flame” is definitely up there as one of my favorite game songs. The soundtrack itself is laden with many beautiful melodies that bring life to the Downside. A special mention goes to the ending theme, “Bound Together”, which takes great care to note the fates of the main cast. Just the thought of having to make something like that work deserves a round of applause by itself. The art of this game is also gorgeous. It has the same quality of the previous titles, and is always a treat to look at.

Overall, Pyre is a beautiful game that stands out with its very different take on gameplay. It is simultaneously different from Supergiant’s previous titles and what’s out there on the market. It’s a breath of fresh air that can be well-appreciated in spite of its flaws, and I urge anybody who wants a something new in their library of games to pick up a copy of this game. You certainly won’t be disappointed.

RATING: 4.5/5

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Frieda Mak
25, female, avid lover of Cadbury chocolates, ice cubes and coke. Also a self-proclaimed tomboy, serial casual gamer as well as occasional napper. Does a lot of things on the internet such as watching Youtube videos, reading fanfics and rambling a lot about her obsessions.
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