Night In The Woods PC Review

A very particular story driven game stood out from many others during this year, is Night in the Woods worth your time and money or is it another game of the bunch?

By UletheVee4, Posted 14 May 2017

Whenever someone brings up the term “Story Driven” alongside games, I used to go on a rant about how these kinds of games had nothing going for them except that they were glorified walking simulators depending way too much on graphics and sound, besides their story. Dear Esther, Proteus and many other games come to mind that left me with a bad taste because I didn’t really think I was having an adventure or that my choices mattered. I just felt like I was in a rollercoaster ride watching how a story unfolds.

Night in the Woods,Review,PC,Steam,Story Driven,Adventure,Screenshots

It was then that I saw a game starting to stick out from the crowd this year and, once again, it was a story driven experience. After a while, I started to shiver at memories of over-praised games like Undertale and how unwelcoming fans would be to a near negative criticism of this piece. But I had no way to know how vocal the Night in the Woods fandom actually is. I decided to give this game a shot of my own accord, to see what would come from it as, more often than not, this has led me to having a positive experience.

What I got, was the way I actually feel a story driven game needs to be done. That is a game where you feel every choice you make is important and it makes an impact in the story as a whole. Many mini-games to keep you occupied, on top of a plot that often keeps taking twists and turns that make you think differently about the characters, and even the protagonist.

The sound design is fantastic and it’s the second thing that stood out the most about Night in the Woods. The way tracks are composed makes you feel like everything oddly blends together with the setting you’re currently in, which changes a lot depending on the state of your current adventure. It definitely keeps you wondering if the next sequence you’ll live through is going to be a good one or an awful one. Not to mention that the graphics also stand out, although they may be a bit simplistic for my taste. They may be a few sets of circles and rectangles in my eyes, but you’ll remember who Gregg is or what kind of shirt Mae uses, just to bring a few examples up. Everything sticks out on its own and you’ll recognize who each character is, but if you need some pointers, the protagonist also lets you know that with the sketches in her notebook.

Night in the Woods,Review,PC,Steam,Story Driven,Adventure,Screenshots

The gameplay isn’t too shabby either, being a 2D sidescroller where you walk and jump like you would expect. The game rewards you with a lot of information about the town and its people whenever you start taking a few steps and stray from the path you’re supposed to take. This includes learning about the townfolk and what they think of Mae, even some nice mini games that are a bit challenging in regards of what you do. I swear, I cannot complete the Rock music mini games without at least one miss and that Demontower game-within-a-game minigame is a great throwback to gaming in the 80s. But hey, they are challenges after all and I’m happy to take them on. Not to mention that sometimes during dialogue you’re given a choice about what to say next. And it does feel like it’s an important choice and not just a random thing that changes a few lines of dialogue, which obviously will encourage multiple playthroughs.

I was very skeptical of the story and character development at first, because I thought it would be your typical “Everybody in my town except me has changed” story, seeing how Mae, the anthropormorphic cat, is a college dropout that recently comes back to her home town. But as you progress through the game, you notice that there are a few things that are off about the town and its people. What Mae’s friends think of her as a person and even the way her parents act towards her feels a bit off. The more you play the more you’ll piece together, but also there will be more and more questions that will rise from your playing experience. And sadly, while this is the main point that will rile you in, it’s also the point I can talk about the least because talking about character development and the story will be a heavy spoiler.

Night in the Woods,Review,PC,Steam,Story Driven,Adventure,Screenshots

This is one of the major problems that Night in the Woods has in terms of the game itself, when you boil it down to the most basic aspects. It has a great story and the character development is equally good. It also brings a fair amount of complex platforming like park our jumping or walking on cables, however. There isn’t much more I could talk about without probably spoiling plot or character details, which I think are very important to discover on your own.

The second issue is the amount of text you have to sit through, which is a lot. Now, I may be spoiled for watching cutscenes where there’s voice acting and such. But if there’s one thing I hate, it’s constantly having to press the A button while you helplessly watch, wanting the current scene to just end, but having to sit through more dialogue that you eventually end up skipping over if you’re not interested in the situation. Now, moments like these are a few and far between but they do make themselves noticeable when they happen.

I praised the freedom you have in the game before but there is no set objective of what you have to do and, while I like the idea of having the player decide their own path, sometimes you end up straying very far from what’s required for progressing. That, or you end up missing out on the additional content because you accidentally did what’s needed for story progression. And there’s no way of knowing it until you already made the choice, and god forbid you saved and didn’t come back to the game in a long period of time because the experience will get a whole lot harder if you want to know where to go. An easy fix for these issues would’ve been a map or some sort of hint after a long period of wandering aimlessly.

Night in the Woods,Review,PC,Steam,Story Driven,Adventure,Screenshots

Night in the Woods is a pleasing experience and a story driven game done right. It certainly isn’t a magnum opus as the fandom will want you to believe, but it’s also not Dear Esther levels of bad on how much you end up doing the “Go from point A to point B” issue a lot of these walking simulators tend to have. However, like any story driven game this has nothing going for it besides that, and if you got spoiled about plot details, how certain character interactions play out or even what the twists and turns are, you won’t get much out of the game. If you enjoy story driven experiences, you’ll get your money’s worth, but if you want a game that has something else going on besides its story, I’d suggest you look somewhere else. (Gregg rulz ok)

Javier Ulises, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS4
Publisher(s): Finji
Developer(s): Alec Holowka, Infinite Fall
Genres: Platformer
Themes: Adventure, Isometric, Cartoon, Exploration
Release Date: 2017-02-21

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