Review by sakura4994
When one thinks of games like The Unfinished Swan, one thinks of how video gaming can be different, artsy, and totally unique. Much like the rise of art-rock in the mid 70's to the early 80's, gaming is just now seeing the beginnings of how games could be seen as art. No, art games didn't just start in the last couple years - one could argue the origins was with Ico - but the prominence of games like this (along with Journey), could be on the rise. The Unfinished Swan may be one of several reasons why this genre's rise is inevitable.
The Unfinished Swan must be considered a legitimate contender for best PSN game this year. It has all the elements you want in a PSN game- adventure, story, and the ability to bring you into the game. Inherently, because of the way the game is made, it draws you into the game and uses curiosity to draw you in. The story itself is cute and drives the why part of the game, but it may not be necessary to pay attention to it to from level to level. Everything in the game also works so well together and cleverly put together, I don't think you will be bored figuring out what this game is all about.
The way this game is presented makes for a very unique experience and it's where the game really shines. No other game gives you the ability to go out and discover the world quite like The Unfinished Swan. Even the game opens up with a statement: I'm just a canvas. The music, the visual, the story, and the sound effects all combine to give you a fresh, different way of looking at gaming. The game also guides you with a few clues along the way, so don't feel bad if you start feeling lost.
Game play wise, it's very simple; shoot, walk, and climb. There are times where you won't be able to see where to go immediately, due to the way the game is built, but that is to be expected. It isn't supposed to be a cake walk and isn't going to hand you the keys to the ending just like that. It wants you to feel, experience, and discover along with it. Even if the control schemes are simple and intuitive, the ability to "discover" your way through the game is always encouraging and fulfilling.
Even though The Unfinished Swan does give you a great feeling after you beat it and wants you to come back to it every once in a while, it does have one downfall. Its only weakness is that it didn't really capitalize on was the replayability. You can only play this game so many times within a week before knowing the game inside and out. There are a few challenges, for example finding all the balloons and storyboard clips, which aren't exactly the most unique ways to encourage fans to play more, but it does suffice without going overboard.
Some may say that the length of the game is another weakness, but it is the perfect length. It doesn't run too long to become an unnecessary chore, nor does it become boring or pointless. The story is short, simple, and cute, and gives context to the game, as it adds to the presentation. I think it could be considered a strength. Oddly enough, some of the back story is hidden away as a collectable instead of being added to the main story. Then again, when you think about it, it's probably needed to be out in the open.
Honestly, it's the type of game that probably never would have come out if not for the creativity of the developers and Sony taking a chance on this game. Yea, it's that different. Unlike any game to date, you are put into a white screen, (yes, even I was confused as to what to do in the beginning), and it's up to you to bring the world into existence. The main goal of the game was to give you an experience with an ambient feeling and doesn't want you to forget about it.
When presented with the idea of games as art, one should not automatically think Art games are inherently great. In fact, it should be treated like any other game. Is it fun? Is it enjoyable? Yes, in my opinion this is one of the best games I've played this year. It isn't the fact that it's a beautiful game that brought me in. It was because it was an unique, different game that I wanted to try and I am glad that I did. You should too, not because I said so, but because we need a gaming world that is as diverse as our interests.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/29/12
Game Release: The Unfinished Swan (US, 10/23/12)
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