Child Of Light Shimmers With The Promise Of A Fresh Take On JRPGs
Child of Light is a JRPG from Ubisoft Montreal that draws on the past of JRPGs with fresh inspiration and direction. Child of Light is not trying to re-invent the wheel, rather the focus is on telling a coming-of-age tale with a strong female protagonist, a great JRPG battle system, poetic verse through a water color painted world.
Name: Child of Light
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: April 30, 2014
Price: R 360
Many gamers lament the decline of the JRPG as a prime staple nowadays, where the genre especially with Final Fantasy has been about livening up the pace of gameplay and appealing more so to Western tastes. Child of Light comes to us from Ubisoft Montreal and is a JRPG made by a Western studio with JRPG sensibilities and inspiration. The story follows the journey Aurora a girl from 1985 Austria, the daughter of a duchess and duke, who contracts a sickness leading to a deep slumber. Waking from this slumber Aurora finds herself in the fantastical world of Lemuria, a world lacking light, with no sun, moon and stars. All of which have been stolen by the Queen of the Night.
It is Aurora’s mission to restore light to the land, acquire the sun, moon and stars, and defeat the Dark Queen. However, she is not alone and is joined by a friendly firefly named Igniculus, born into existence by Aurora’s entrance into the world of Lemuria. Igniculus, is a co-op partner for Aurora, blinding enemies and finding items to aid Aurora on her journey. He is also a playable co-op character for a friend to play as.
The whole narrative of the game is constructed in rhyme scheme and is meant to be poetic in nature. As such, you could argue, as does Ubisoft Montreal, that Child of Light is a playable poem. The way the story is told is crafted in verse and rhyme, as sighted especially in the dialogue between characters.
Aurora has the power of light, and she is the Child of Light, and has to combat the forces of darkness. Battles take place in a turn-based system, an Active Time Battle system, which draws inspiration from such games as Grandia II, Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series. This is combined with sidescrolling platforming, a style of gameplay Ubisoft excels at. In battles, you fight alongside Igniculus and other party members. The abilities and powers of Aurora and her friends are at your disposal, so in typical JRPG fashion the game is more about methodical slow-paced gameplay with an emphasis on strategy and tactics, rather than outright hack-and-slash mechanics. The battle system is further diversified by the co-op mode where a friend can help you out in battle as Igniculus.
Igniculus also helps you to solve puzzles and make progress through the game, and with a friend the journey becomes a varied experience as both characters make their way through the world of Lemuria. Aurora and Igniculus have different skill-sets which the game tests with different puzzles, challenges and enemies. To get an idea of how the co-op mode operates in Child of Light watch the video above.
The game is powered by the UbiArt Framework, which was used for Rayman Legends and Rayman Origins, two beautifully rendered games, and Child of Light is no different, and arguably one of the stellar elements of the game at present is its visual presentation and style. Child of Light draws inspiration from Eastern European fairy tales and the theatrics of the opera. Furthermore, the art style places great influence in the works of Yoshitaka Amano and Hayao Miyazaki, and by extension Studio Ghibli. The game has this amazing feeling of being a painting that has come to life, and draws you in nostalgically, and is a very gripping experience.
Suspected Selling Points
- Child of Light has a brilliant hand-painted art style that is visually gripping.
- Child of Light draws much from games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The game looks as if it will build on these foundations.
- The battle system is inspired by JRPG classics, with solid mechanics.
- The game has a unique approach to a coming-of-age story.
- Child of Light may prove to be a very niche experience.
- The challenge and difficulty of the game is still in question.
In conclusion, Child of Light is looking very promising, seemingly hitting all the right notes pre-release. The game is taking the best bits of some of the greatest JRPGs, combining this with Ubisoft Montreal’s sensational visual flair and solid sidescrolling prowess. What we have here may very well be a hit in the making as the game is vastly unique to anything else out in the market, at this moment in time. Child of Light is building on the old, but at the same time is doing some new with old parts and it is quite the sight to behold.