Monday, November 25, 2013

Proteus Let's You Explore With No Rhyme or Reason, For Better or Worse

Quick Note: Proteus is an interesting experience full of small surprises, but it feels like an incomplete experience. Great for quick jumps in and out, but it might be better to wait on a price drop before you dive in to this game.
Many games offer the freedom to do whatever it is your heart desires. In some ways, Proteus is that game, but emptier. Proteus feels like the start of a game concept rather than a full experience, but it is special and not like any other game out on the market.

The game is simple in its execution, placing you in a world without any rhyme or reason other than to explore. You can sit down by pressing the X button and if you hold the O button you can fade out to the menu, but other than that, you use the left joystick to move the camera and the right joystick to move. Hitting the R button allows you to take Postcards to leave for others to see. That’s it. No powers. No jump. No complications.
The world consists of this one island full of flora and creatures to interact with simply by moving towards them. These creatures have unique noises that add to the overall sound track of the game to an incredible effect. Even the weather adds to the soundtrack. Many times I found myself just stop playing to listen to everything come together in an amazing chorus.
The visuals consist of a unique blend of 3D models created to look pixelated and dated, but the colors all have sharp contrasts, creating a unique world. There is some unique thrill from just moving forward to see what comes next as you wonder aimlessly.
There are also landmarks, including a path, a house and a few other things. At night, the stars and the moon shine above and a mystical light leads to a stone circle to create a portal that leads to the next season.
Each season has unique plants and creatures to come across along with a few specific events, but aside from all of this, there’s nothing else to do. The island is fun to explore, but once you’ve crossed it once and seen everything, the game starts to lose its magic. And that's the major downfall to this experience. After the first play through of the game, there's no real reason to come back, especially since that feeling of discovery wears off once you've seen everything (that should only take an hour or two).
The Vita version does have a random generator that shapes the island based on the location you are in and using the back touch pad allows you to manipulate the color of the game. Aside from that, there isn’t a whole lot of reasons to come back and not a whole lot different from the console version.
Proteus is all about the simple things. The little things that all add up to the whole. However, once you’ve experienced all the little things, which won’t take long, the allure wears off and all that’s left is a desire for more from the game that has little to offer, at least content wise. It’s an enjoyable distraction, but one that you might be better off waiting to experience, especially at $14.
7 out of 10
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