What would you do if you happen to knew that the world as you recognize it’s about to satisfy its finish? That’s the dilemma dealing with the primary character from the journey recreation SEASON: A letter to the long run. With no approach to stop what’s going to occur, she units out on a journey to file all the pieces she will concerning the outdated world earlier than it’s swallowed up by the brand new, to offer a historic file for the brand new season that follows.
SEASON: A letter to the long run is extra of a storytelling expertise than a recreation per se, with the protagonist traversing a panorama that has already seen its fair proportion of eras come and go. To say extra concerning the story itself would spoil the mentioned expertise, however it’s a journey rife with discovery and feeling. It’s a story of discovering loneliness with lingering unhappiness and remorse, but in addition of the hope and energy of the reminiscences and moments we preserve and depart behind ceaselessly. It’s transient and impermanent at instances but in addition long-lasting in different methods. You’re buoyed alongside in the course of the journey by your mission and what you encounter alongside the way in which, together with your actions impacting occasions and what you invariably expertise. The way in which the gameplay mixes with the core storytelling loop is phenomenal.
Upon setting off in your quest, you get a motorbike to experience into the good unknown. The bicycle is your major mode of transport, other than slower-paced strolling, and there are huge swatches of open fields and winding pathways to make use of your automobile finest. The PS5 controller makes for an optimum driving expertise by permitting you to get a way of the completely different terrains you’re driving over and even making use of resistance to the controls when confronted with differing speeds and inclines. Just like actual life, extra push is required when climbing up a hill in your trusty bicycle, however much less resistance and button pushing is required when touring downhill. The bicycle driving controls are intuitive and really feel enjoyable and enjoyable when uncovering their innate rhythm.
When you attain a focal point, you possibly can forgo the bike quickly to discover and collect data. Whereas there, you possibly can take photos or make a tape of distinctive sounds for posterity. You may sketch landscapes at particular vantage factors or take samples of things to your journal information. The journal serves as a memento or scrapbook of your travels in SEASON. Inside its pages, you lay out your findings and even what conclusions you in the end make, supplied you collect sufficient data to type a ultimate observe. Because you’re writing down letters for historic preservation, it’s additionally essential to do not forget that your conclusions within the journal might colour the tone of a selected level for future generations.
In that very same vein, you encounter some colourful characters all through your journey. The way you reply to them or your actions of their lives impacts how their position within the story performs out. Time is a transferring, fluid factor, and SEASON: A letter to the long run captures that sentiment splendidly in the way it presents its character interactions. As you proceed the narrative and discover new areas to discover with new individuals to speak to, your journal has the potential to be stuffed and that a lot richer in content material.
SEASON is all about your personal expertise and the way you method issues. Due to this, it has a affected person, enjoyable high quality to its gameplay mechanics and story development. I by no means felt punished for selecting to reply or act in a sure manner all through, and it’s genuinely fascinating to see the differing spider webs of story that occur on account of your responses throughout a playthrough. The sport can take as little as six hours to finish or greater than twelve, relying on the tempo with which you method it. My playthrough was on the longer aspect, but as a result of I continuously uncovered hidden truths and moments alongside the way in which, I at all times felt that the title stayed welcome. It’s a good size for such a narrative expertise.
The sport’s visible model is exclusive and exquisite, with a heat colour palette. The character designs jogged my memory fondly of Studio Ghibli partly, and I like how distinctly every character really stands out. The journal’s artwork route is inventive and relatively scrapbook-influenced, making web page creation really feel very tailor-made to your tastes. The soundtrack is minimalistic however genuinely transferring, the place silence can inform simply as a lot as a musical observe. It made the tracks that did seem stand out, and the sound results helped paint a vivid image of the world. A siren blaring within the distance of a serene vista, animal life thriving in deserted areas, wind transferring by a wind chime: they’re all exceptionally effectively accomplished! SEASON’s world, for all that it might be ending, nonetheless feels alive in wholly surprising methods, which is a big a part of its innate magnificence.
The English voice appearing for the characters can be worthy of observe. All of the actors do an unbelievable job of respiratory life into their roles, regardless of how small they is perhaps within the grand scheme of the plot. I liked the quiet-yet-powerful feelings at work all through each line of spoken dialogue. This wistful reflection emerged when a personality talked concerning the previous or their tentative hopefulness for the unsure future awaiting them. Maureen Adelson stands out amongst some genuinely stellar performances because the protagonist. Whereas silent throughout dialogue with different characters to allow you to decide her responses, her voice work carries the story in components the place you’re touring alone. It gives some genuinely beautiful poetic perception into observations you unearth.
Whereas SEASON: A letter to the long run is a beautiful recreation when it comes to its visible route, although not having characters’ mouths transferring whereas conversing is a inventive alternative not interesting for everybody. It’s additionally close to unimaginable so as to add each picture, recording, or piece of remark you may stumble throughout into your journal pages, as they refill fairly readily. Mine typically turned a jumbled mess relying on how a lot I uncovered in a given space. There’s additionally no actual save choice within the recreation itself, guide or in any other case, till you exit the title and get prompted to make a save. Whereas that is comprehensible from a inventive stance to create an immersive expertise, it did make me nervous about enjoying the sport when the climate was temperamental, as I wanted to determine what would occur ought to an influence outage happen.
Nonetheless, minor quibbles apart, SEASON: A letter to the long run is a gorgeous and ethereal gaming expertise about what’s each everlasting and impermanent in our lives. I used to be happy with the conclusion my explicit journey took, discovering the sport to be genuinely transferring and galvanizing in surprising methods. SEASON: A letter to the long run is one journey journey recreation followers will need to expertise.