Abe returned, after 23 years, to relive his departure in the unique universe of a strange world. Stuck at turns of industrialization, the Mudokons shouldn’t miss their date with modernity. With Oddworld SoulstormLorne Lanning, creator of this universe and founder of studio in Game Controls, decided to renew his born with PS1 license, on the occasion of the release of PS5. The story is beautiful, but is the mission a success? Yes but…
Oddworld Soulstorm is a revamped 2.5D action / adventure platform game that the developers, Oddworld Inhabitants, release 2.9D but we’ll come back to that aspect when we get to the graphics part of this quiz. Soulstorm is a remake of Abe’s Exodus released in 1998 that offers a true and qualitative reinterpretation of the adventure our favorite Mudokon team lived in the year our French soccer team won the World Cup for the first time.
The adventure begins exactly where it left off in Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, Abe’s Oddysee remake, funded by Kickstarter and released in 2014. While Abe managed to save himself from Rupture Farms just before the factory blew up, accompanied by a hundred Mudokons who worked there and were to come to an end. They matter to sandwiches, literally.
The game is dominated on a flawless basis but we are quickly disappointed
This is when you’ll get back control of Abe, Dualsense (we tested the game on the PS5) at hand, to discover all the additions and mods for gameplay, game design and level design. Changes that are generally successful but not entirely flawless, far from that. First we realize that the way we handle movements is more tense, we are aware of the usual motions that are assigned to the usual keys to the eccentric world (r1 for running, l1 for walking slowly, from spinning to crouching, etc.) and quickly discover the main novelty that will allow us to approach adventure differently: Double jump. Then the plane design acquires vertically, and the excellent surprise, we quickly realize, during the initial levels, that it is very subtle. Each board, no longer really there, invites you to contemplate and invites your skill to overcome the challenges that await you in more or less frantic moments. We totally find the atmosphere we know from Oddworld.
The game’s grip is done on an almost flawless basis but we would soon be disappointed when we get to know the RPG-lite system added to the game … From this, it follows a literal list that isn’t really interesting as a fun because we would be satisfied with pressing the “square” key to make The object we will need without reading the basic requirements. Useless but not notorious in and of itself. What’s really infamous on the other hand, is having to recover materials that allow manufacturing. Your adventure will be stupidly spent searching for safes, litter boxes, enemies, etc. To retrieve Moulah (game currency, lol) and stuff.
This is then combined with another massive weakness of the game’s design: checkpoints, many of them for sure, but they only save your progress the first time you pass them. Imagine a save point before 12 lockers and 3 search boxes. After each death, you will have to search each of the twelve lockers again and try your luck again, hoping not to die because you still have to search each cupboard … A strange world by definition faces a rather difficult challenge, you will do it a lot death. You will then find yourself playing certain tricks by retracing your steps to launch a previous checkpoint and making the point of interest usable a second time. We should have had the possibility to save freely at every checkpoint, like Cyber Shadow, another platform released in 2021 that saved progress in every lane in the checkpoint area.
An old backup method corrupts an already dispensable crafting system, which unfortunately cannot be explained
Interaction concerns also spoil all of the good gameplay ideas this new version provides. We’re especially thinking about being able to play hide and seek with slides using lockers. When you are with the Mudokons, they will take several seconds for them to follow you into hiding. It is annoying but we can take this delay into consideration and deal with it, except that some will not bother to hide and will peacefully await certain death. At the end of the spell, you must wait a few seconds for the animation to finish to regain control of Abby. And although the player is marked with a certain precision of the controls at the start of the game, he realizes, especially when he has to hang from the rails and move by jumping on the next bar – it can also be mysterious. Uncertain. All of this is already causing the player to become very frustrated while we haven’t talked about the many mistakes that will follow your adventure.
The essence, not the form
The publisher told us very transparently two major bugs that would require restarting the game without spoiling your save. The first takes Abe to an infinite downfall and the second, on PS4 only, apparently, shuts down the game and takes you back to the PS4 roster. If we didn’t encounter either of these errors during our game, we ran into many other bugs, which are definitely smaller, but totally spoil the fun of the game. Mudokons that disappear when shown in HUD as following Abe. The end of the game I spent nearly two hours due to a bug. The slig-after-slig control you will need at the end of the game and which obviously doesn’t work as expected, with a cast team ending up where the slig is no longer accessible. All of this forces you to reload your game and start over. I even had to start a full level again because it’s in a section where you have to collectively save the Mudokons and put them in safety zone after zone, they weren’t safely displayed and I couldn’t start locking the next area. And, of course, you will be rewarded with some collision bugs.
If the model wasn’t at the level we expected, then an Oddworld fan who fell in love with this interpretation for Abe’s Exodus reinterpretation. 2.9D, which Oddworld Inhabitant is proud of, truly does justice to the Oddworld universe. From ruins to Necrum to factories or barracks to Slig and more, it all takes a lot of depth. No more table progression, we can now distinguish between the end and the beginning of the level because everything is connected naturally, except when we have to go through the doors of course. The camera, called “Oddcam”, which follows Abe and often changes the plan, especially during more action-oriented stages, or while climbing for example, brings a lot of depth and fluidity.
We all love Lorne Lanning for being in incredibly beautiful scenes that enrich Oddworld traditions. The artistic direction is Sami again and some levels like turning the train are breathtaking and invite players to reflect. Even if the OST is completely disappointing, and its use was supposed to bring that hint of oppression of the universe, especially early in the game, it has completely missed its point of view, we are gradually getting caught up in this somewhat dark story. Hints and sense of humor.
It’s also a real (and inexplicable) shame that the many flash radios that have made me smile so much that we dive into the satire of propaganda, have not even been translated. The lack of means didn’t help the localization effort because the game doesn’t offer VF, while those for the original two games were unforgettable. We must be satisfied with the translation which, so far, is also a buggy and present display problem (there is no space between certain words). The important moments in building the game world are not simply written …
If the scenes are perfect, the in-game achievement is really dated. During conversations, two black bars will reach the bottom and top of the screen while dialogue lines will scroll, without even a close-up of the characters. Fortunately, these clips are few and very focused at the beginning of the adventure.
On the PS5, since this is the platform we tested the game on, the loads are very short, and Dualsense is well supported with different effects on the triggers depending on the weapon or object you’re using. Hear directly from your controller amplifier. The game looks great and works on both PS5 and PC at a steady rate of 60 frames per second with a resolution of 1440 pixels. While playing on PS4, it plays at 1080p / 30fps.
Although it can be repetitive at times, Oddworld Soulstorm is very generous in terms of content. 15 different levels await and count more than fifteen hours of gameplay to complete the adventure for the first time and unlock the bad ending, most likely. You can then restart each level directly from the main menu to save as many Mudokons as possible, improve your Quarma, this new metric representing your in-game actions (save Mudokons, save slides that can be put to sleep or stunned) and unlock the other three endings Plus two additional levels. To unlock levels 16 and 17, you’ll need to achieve Quarma at 80% on at least 12 of the 15 levels. The final scene unlocks only when you reach an arena of at least 80% on each of the 17 levels! good luck ! Especially since the placement mode does not provide keeping points. You will have to complete the level before turning off your console to score your score, just in time!
Finally, note that the game has been available in immaterial form only on PS4, PS5, and PC since April 6, 2021 and that the physical release is well planned for July 6, 2021 on PS4 and PS5. These three months will allow Oddworld Inhabitants to work on many annoying UX bugs and the game will only improve!
Oddworld Soulstorm invites us to revisit a legendary story in a more modern and modern way. The artistic direction and the stories through which the story is told to us are luxurious. Unfortunately, some of the new features will quickly give way to a lot of frustration and the game, as it is, is prone to many bugs. The actual release of the game after three months will undoubtedly correct a lot of it.
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