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spawn622

[One Man's Opinion] Valley

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spawn622   

Blue Isle Entertainment is most well known for Slender: The Arrival.  Being fans of being scared by games, I'm sure you know their work.  It was a good update and expansion of Mark Hadley's original game.  However we aren't here to discuss that one.  Maybe another time if you'd like.  No, today we're here to discuss (As you can see from the title) Blue Isle's new game Valley.  This one may have flown under the radar of many people, however I can say it shouldn't.  I went in blindly with this one and came out the other side very impressed by what I played, how it looked, and even the super tight controls.  With all that said, let's do this.

Going in with no preconceived notions of what the game was/is, I just jumped right it.  The story starts off pretty good.  You're a guy going in search of a mystical "life seed".  A mystical power that has the potential to destroy the planet.  You then stumble upon a research facility.  You find out the government (because of course) knew of the life seed already and have been trying to harness it's power for military gain (again, of course).  Yeah, it sounds pretty silly and standard, which it really is, but once you get in to it, the story takes shape and eventually gets quite intriguing.  There's also a level of mysticism introduced that just ties it all together and makes it work.  The plot points are given to you through audio logs, notes left around the environment, and the internal thoughts of the player.  Things eventually go south, as they do in games, and it's up to the player to fix it all.  I ended up getting in to it and wanted to push through to see where things were going to end.

The games strongest asset is the controls.  You get a military developed L.E.A.F. (Leap Effortlessly Through Air Functionality) Suit.  It takes is power from the titular valley and you have to maintain its power as you use its abilities.  It's a bit of resource management, but there's enough upgrades to make it not be a worry at all (This isn't No Man's Sky).  Once you get the suit, it is where the game takes off and becomes something different.  The suit allows you to run at a faster rate (Even faster when going down hill. PHYSICS!), jump farther, double-jump, use a cable to propel yourself forward, and it also enables combat.  There's more upgrades as well, but I don't want to ruin some of the stuff that you can do, if you decide to play it.  It seems silly how much I gush over this thing, but it really is what sets the game apart and keeps this from being another "walking simulator".  Notice I said "enables combat".  There are actual battles here, which is when you realize this isn't another Dear, Esther or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (Both were good games, but they just got kind of boring).  The L.E.A.F. Suit gave me one of those "HOLY SHIT!" moments that have been missing recently in games.  It evoked a feeling I haven't had since Spider-Man 2 back on the Original Xbox, when you start controlling and moving your character in a way you didn't expect.  Everything is tight and just feels really good.  I literally gave out a Peter Parker-esque "WOOHOO!" the first time I ran down a hill and jumped from one side of a lake to another.  It really is awesome.

For a fairly indie title, this one really surprised me.  I went in thinking it would be just another game where I walk around and read the story text.  I was completely wrong and I'm really glad.  The story was decent and took some twists that I didn't expect and ended up being pretty good.  The real star of the show is the L.E.A.F. Suit.  Once you start upgrading this thing and get going with it, you'll want to just screw around in the world.  Running, jumping, and propel yourself across long distances . . . It really is great.  All in all, the game really shocked me.  I wasn't expecting much going in, but can highly recommend this one.  It's $20 on all 3 platforms.  Maybe a tad pricey, but if you want to have fun and support a smaller developer, I would say go for it.  If not, wait for a sale.  Links below:

Steam

Xbox Store

PlayStation Store

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Definitely flew under my radar. I don't think I've heard of this game. $20 isn't much if it's replayable, or if you're an achievement hunter. I can see many getting it on a Steam sale, too.

On the topic of No Man's Sky -- a new game came out today called Osiris: New Dawn that looks pretty damn cool. Early Access with some more time needed to smooth everything out, but I think people who played No Man's Sky would really like it.

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