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Feature Video

Game of the Month April 2014

Happy to be sad.

by

After the cacophony that was March, with its enthusiastic reminders of how explosive and intense games can be, the quietude of April was a welcome reprieve. The slow trickle of releases forced us to savor each offering. We spent countless hours willing our Trials Fusion riders to stay upright, striving for record times as we incessantly belted out the lyrics to the electric opening theme. And we devoured The Wolf Among Us: A Crooked Mile, relishing each telling growl as this fantastical story infected our very beings. April was that kind of month, a time to dissect each game and to lose ourselves in their enticing worlds.

But it was Child of Light that had the most profound effect on us. The dreamlike artistic design danced before us, and, coupled with the melodic piano score, captivated our senses in uncommon ways. There's a deep sorrow in Child of Light, borne of the utter hopelessness of a land smothered by totalitarian rule. And so we opened our hearts to this strange place and, in turn, felt as one with its citizens as we took a personal interest in their determined struggles.

There's a remarkable maturity present in Child of Light. You can see it in its firm confidence, how it so expertly conjures difficult emotions instead of shying away from them. There's a united focus that's incredibly rare. The dialogue is so defeated, and the landscape is so barren, that you feel the weight of all of the problems of this land, and want nothing more than to bring a little happiness to those who are hurting so. And that's why the shift when you enter battle, when you finally set aside the overbearing difficulties consuming you and focus on the immediate threat, is such a relief. All of your pent-up emotions can be unleashed in a swell of anger as you overcome the enemies before you.

Child of Light is so soft-spoken that you have to lean in close to hear what it's saying. But it lifted our spirits despite its sorrowful mood, and reminded us what it's like to be human. That's a singular achievement in the realm of video games, when so many games eagerly transport us away from ourselves, and we are thankful that such a powerful mirror into our own hearts exists.


Discussion

143 comments
Elann2008
Elann2008

I just finished it tonight.  My pick for Game of the Year so far.  I am still getting goosebumps well after finishing it.  The last time I felt, "Happy to be sad," like Mr. Mc Shea stated, was when I played Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.  Child of Light is truly magnificent.  I have felicity in my heart after having played it.  


Highly, HIGHLY recommended.

asixjo
asixjo

Might have to get this, the art work on the game looks amazing.


Kyrylo
Kyrylo

So, once JRPG comes out, all editor and reviewers jumping on hate bandwagon and start bashing turn based gameplay calling it not modern, etc, etc. Now Ubisoft does turn base game, and all jump on praise bandwagon :P Double standards in games are blooming and growing 

finnicka
finnicka

Just this once I agree with ya GS... just this once. XD

CoL was 10/10 for me. I would have given any AAA[+] price for it & will do so if they release a 'deluxe' edition or release the soundtrack! (plz plz plz...)

Gaming-Planet
Gaming-Planet

I want to get it on steam but I really hate uplay. :(


Hopefully they port it to the vita.

Vaasman
Vaasman

This was a nice game. I really like the art and music and characters, the unique way it's told, and the way you explore. Flying pretty much right from the start feels really good. Other than that though, it's unfortunately typical-to-a-fault for an RPG, not really doing much challenging or anything interesting mechanically. Didn't really care for the ending much either, just wraps up too suddenly right as it's getting even better. It's fun for what it is though, I'd definitely recommend it for RPG fans.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

I'd love to explore this storybook world...but not as a little girl with a stripper name.  =p  Female kid Link she ain't.

jupsto
jupsto

finally completed this today, had to grind to beat the last boss on "hard", but otherwise it was a fairly short & sweet experience.


Alot of similarities to zelda and pokemon, but overall unique and charming. if I was a 12 year old girl it would probably 10/10.

mdign
mdign

I would've paid $60 for this game. It was that good. Definitely runner up for Game of the Year

Freeze-dried
Freeze-dried

COL looks good, but I just can't stand hit-point based battle systems.

nobody490
nobody490

Ok, you all have different taste in game. Carry on.

Pewbert
Pewbert

For all of those not wanting to jump on to the LGBT/feminist mindframe - this game sucks.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

If Trials Fusion was as good as Trials Evolution, then nothing could have touched it.  I wonder how many people are going to put 100+ hours into Child of Light?  And you don't necessarily have to be replaying the same levels over and over in Trials to hit that many hours, since there's so many thousands of great user generated tracks.

benleslie5
benleslie5 moderator

I still need to check out Child of Eden

wallydog63
wallydog63

While many people may love this game, it all boils down to gaming taste, and this tastes like liver to me.  I'm glad so many people do enjoy it, but to be honest this game is a snoozer to me.  Wont say it shouldn't have gotten game of the month because there really weren't too many good games released (at least in my circle of like and dislikes).  I'm a rpg'er, but am tempted to try Dark Souls 2.

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

Wait a minute.  Goat Simulator was released on April 1.

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

Child of Light has been an absolutely incredible experience so far. I couldn't agree more this month.

Metalnoid
Metalnoid

The Game of month inside my console still is Dark Souls 2

hitomo
hitomo

good ... CoL is not a game ... if I want to be emotionaly manipulated I go into Cinema (but I dont) ...


you ask, but Hitomo, whats wrong with Child of Light, tell us!


okay, the mainprotagonist is a little underaged Girl with a Crown ...


thats how parents see their children, not how children see themself or how they see themself inside this world


this makes the mainprotagonist a pure qliche not a deep caracter, an empty object to project our own expections

onto, something that will never give you an experience you have not expected already ...


this brings it down to the most superficial category of games we have, sidecrolling games ...


it is similar to games like Sonic on Genesis or Contra on Snes ...


but those games never tried to manipulate you with fake emotions, they where giving you real joy

and exitment ... something you look for when playing games


the game is not only superficial like games from teh 90s, it is also aimed at the lowest common detominator

we can find in the mind of human beings ... self-pity

Banyek
Banyek

I remember the first time I showed my childhood friend the changes in videogame world, by showing the review site of gamespot. His first reaction was : "What the fuck happened? What is all this shit?" He was never really a fan of retro style and indie games... Me neither.

Elann2008
Elann2008

@asixjo

Agreed.  I think people misuse the word amazing.  A lot.  You sir, used it right in this context.  :)  Please pick this one up.  You will not regret it.  

Elann2008
Elann2008

@Kyrylo


Well, there was a time when JRPG turned-based combat system was becoming stale.  The last two JRPGs that I thoroughly enjoyed were Final Fantasy X and Lost Odyssey.  LO being my favorite JRPG of all-time.  


Child of Light is turned-based, but Ubisoft added a little flair to it that made the combat fun.  Over eight hours into the game and I never got bored of the turn-based combat.  It reminded me of FFX and how I never grew tired of the combat system.  Albeit, Child of Light's combat is not as deep, but it is not to be undervalued as well.


I get your point about the JRPG bashing though.  Lost Odyssey deserved a higher rating.  

Elann2008
Elann2008

@Gaming-Planet


I could understand that you dislike Uplay from a past negative experience.  I did not have any issues with Child of Light and other Uplay titles.  I understand that issues that come up with Uplay are case by case.  


Uplay nowadays is NOT intrusive at all.  For Child of Light, it takes literally three seconds to boot up and by the time Steam gets CoL up and running, Uplay is ready before it starts and you're ready to go.  A matter of a few seconds after pressing "play" in your Steam library, you're already in the Child of Light menu, starting your story mission.


It really is not bad as some people make it out to be.  I understand that there are isolated issues, that are (like I said) case by case.  But that's probably due to a user side issue or a bug that came up with an update.  This is rare than most people think.  


Now, if this was GFWL, I could understand the skepticism.  Uplay is a lot better these days and "it's like it's not even there."

Elann2008
Elann2008

@Shadowdanc3r


"Don't judge a book by its cover."  In this case, don't judge Child of Light by "what you've seen."  Play it and you will be amazed.  Unless you frown upon this kind of art style and storytelling, then perhaps, it isn't for you.


If it isn't for you, I understand, but you will be missing out if you don't give it a chance.


In other words, I implore you and every skeptic to give this game a shot.  You won't regret it.

Orga777
Orga777

@Shadowdanc3r  

The game is a really good coming of age story. Check it out. It is a quality game.

Elann2008
Elann2008

@mdign


I couldn't agree more. And I really mean that to the millionth degree.  It is my Game of the Year pick so far.


Also, it has an amazing soundtrack.  It is right up there, if not better than Transistor's soundtrack.  

ringringabel
ringringabel

@spacecadet25  total playtime is not a good way to judge how good a game is....in fact i'd say it's one of the worst as playtime can vary drastically between different players

Elann2008
Elann2008

@wallydog63


Depends what kind of RPG'er you are.  Dark Souls RPG is not exactly the same as a turn-based RPG video game like Child of Light, Lost Odyssey, or Final Fantasy.


For the lack of a better phrase, "Whatever floats your boat."  If you do or don't enjoy it, then it's absolutely fine.


Going by your post, I am not sure if you played Child of Light or not.  I do encourage you to give it a shot.  It is my Game of the Year pick (so far).

ringringabel
ringringabel

@wallydog63  DS 2 is the best game i've played this whole year, i'd say go for it. Child of Light is actually very good too, just make sure to play it on hard mode if you want a decent challenge, the combat system and rpg mechanics are surprisingly deep and complex and the whole art style is just beautiful. i thought this was gonna be some kiddy game, but it's actually quite mature and very immersive. be open to new types of games and you'll be surprised with how much fun you can have with games that didn't appeal to you from trailers and reviews, as they tend to be misleading. everyone has completely different opinions. i for one, am in love w/ the sound design in both dark souls and COL, but that's because i do sound design/composition for games and film.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@wallydog63 If you try Dark Souls 2 don't pay too much, seriously.  I paid $5 for Dark Souls 1, and completely felt like I wasted my money.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Metalnoid   Just imagine how much other stuff you could do or experience (or create) if you weren't redoing the same half an hour chunks of Dark Souls, again, and again, and again after all the deaths?

ringringabel
ringringabel

@hitomo  gj bro, you just took the fattest troll poo and left it for everyone to step in w/ how many times you pressed the "return" key

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@hitomo This person is probably trying to get his/her Def Poetry 'discovered.'  When this person starts making a mad amount of poetry money, then you'll see... :)

gamersince78
gamersince78

@hitomo This my be the dumbest post I have ever seen. Contra and Sonic are the games you think this resembles? And little girls don't see themselves are princesses...really? I know two 4 year olds who might disagree with you. Your post reads like someone who has no idea what he is talking about, especially when it comes to kids, which I am guessing you are.


This was an amazing game

Spushkin
Spushkin

@hitomo  I think you've managed to miss every single one of your points. Good job.

Heisenberg1
Heisenberg1

@hitomo  Wow....so much pseudo intellectual nonsense, I don't even know where to start! 

KaptajnKnap
KaptajnKnap

@hitomo  Man, if I ever wanted to look up "complete and utter bullshit" I wouldn't have gotten a result that was half as good as your post. Get a grip dude :D

jakej27
jakej27

@Banyek  so true,i was young once and played my super nintendo games,i don't want to satrt playing them again

Elann2008
Elann2008

@ringringabel @spacecadet25


I couldn't agree more.  If we want to calculate value, Child of Light is worth every penny.  For a mere $15 for a game that is worth $50-60, you're getting about 8-11 hours of gameplay.  


I felt like I robbed the developers of their hard work.  If there was a donate button, I would donate the difference of $50-60 and what I put in ($15).  What I will do is purchase Child of Light for some of my friends.  


Easily, Game of the Year (so far).  

gamersince78
gamersince78

@jakej27 @Banyek then you are missing a great game...engaging, beautiful and has a distinct personality that does not revolve around something blowing up. My advise is to try it...if you ever played Braid, although not quite the same game play, it has that earthy, melancholy feel to it.


Just try it...trust me

ringringabel
ringringabel

@Banyek @gamersince78 @jakej27  the graphics are actually really good, it's all hand drawn, the animations are very detailed and the hair physics are just ridiculously detailed. games can look amazing in both 2-d and 3-d planes, although this is a mixture of both i'd say. limiting your choice in games to 3d is doing yourself a big disservice and depriving yourself of many amazing games that can only convey their message in that format.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Banyek @gamersince78@jakej27 I found LIMBO annoying too.  However, a recent sidescroller that was done extremely well was Mark of the Ninja, that game ruled.  Most other 2D games don't get me going though.

Banyek
Banyek

@gamersince78 @jakej27 @Banyek  I donno, Once I tried Gothic I-II-III, Skyrim, and GTA 4-5, I really dont want to downgrade to 2D after visiting all those extremely big 3D playgrounds. It feels retarded. But I enjoyed LIMBO.... for about 30 minutes, until I got bored with it..

Child of Light More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 5 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • PlayStation Vita
    • Wii U
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Child of Light is a digital download, 2D side-scrolling role-playing game inspired by the art style of Studio Ghibli.