A story-driven action adventure with a stunning visual aesthetic combining exploration with fast-paced combat. Players find and grow a team of charming spirit companions called the Rot, enhancing their abilities and creating new ways to manipulate the environment. Kena: Bridge of Spirits seamlessly blends action and narrative into an unforgettable experience. Travel with Kena, a young Spirit Guide on a quest to uncover the mysterious story surrounding the demise of the village.
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Idk, I guess I don't see what the big appeal here is for this game. Sure, the presentation is great. The cutscenes look like a Dreamworks animated movie. But the characters, in my opinion, are largely uninteresting. Perhaps I didn't get far enough in the story for it to become more intriguing, but I didn't much care for Kena or even fully understand what she was trying to accomplish outside of helping these spirits and getting to this mountain. Voice work was also extremely weak in my opinion. Its not House of the Dead 2 levels of awful (tho imo I would've liked that), but it is weak enough to where I'm just not believing that these characters are real.
As for gameplay, I've seen many compare it to an early platformer from the PS2 era. While this has a certain charm to it, it also comes with big drawbacks. The combat is very simple, but uninteresting. Enemies, even on normal difficulty, are a bit too spongey and hit extremely hard. There's nothing wrong with this being a difficult game (cue the Dark Souls references here), but I felt that the combat system never really did anything to make these challenging encounters very interesting or "skill based" in any way. In a souls game for example (there it is, the Souls reference), every death makes you want to try again because the gameplay is so refined that you know it was your own damn fault that you died. Here, the hitboxes and parry timing are so wonky that its difficult to even understand whats going on.
That is of course, assuming that the frustrating lock-on system worked properly. I greatly struggled with something that should be extremely simple. The camera here is a mess, straight up. Its perfectly fine in platforming sections, but is pretty garbage during enemy encounters with many enemies, which the game has a ton of. The platforming was painfully average as well. Kena has a double jump, but the second jump feels so stilted and difficult to maneuver. The puzzles were good, and I enjoyed solving them, but they never came off as clever as something you'd see in your average Zelda or Banjo-Kazooie type adventure/platforming game.
I find this game to be vastly overrated imo. While It is a beautiful looking game, and it certainly isn't broken by any means, I find it to be painfully average. For a first game from this studio, I am rather impressed at what they were able to accomplish. And don't get me wrong, there is a lot of good here. Great visuals, music is also somber and relaxing, and some of the puzzle solving I liked quite a bit. But this game was trying to shove too many different (and better) games into itself. The devs said "Let's put old-school 3d Zelda, Dark Souls, and Jak and Daxter together to make this!" and it just didn't work out as well as they had hoped in the end.
The presentation is top notch, honestly that was the main reason I wanted to try this game. Gameplay-wise there's nothing too original and I would have preferred some aspects to be explored more (mostly the interactions with the Rot, which feel very simple), but overall the game is still solid and well made. I especially liked the combat system, very nicely designed. On the hard difficulty (the one I selected) many fights are challenging and rewarding.