Abzu

De­vel­oper Gi­ant Squid Stu­dios Pub­lisher 505 Games For­mat PC, PS4 Re­lease Au­gust 2

EDGE - - DISPATCHES PERSPECTIVE -

The com­par­i­son is un­avoid­able: an enig­matic, mute pro­tag­o­nist; a mys­tery-soaked odyssey; bring­ing life to des­o­late lo­ca­tions. Abzu has more than a lit­tle of Jour­ney about it. But then that’s hardly sur­pris­ing given that Gi­ant Squid is led by Jour­ney art di­rec­tor Matt Nava.

Nor are those sim­i­lar­i­ties a bad thing. Abzu’s sleek un­der­wa­ter move­ment in­vokes the same sense of lib­er­a­tion as

Jour­ney’s soar­ing flight, but here that rush is never tainted by the need to re­turn to the ground. And where Jour­ney put count­less grains of sand on screen, Abzu de­lights with schools of fish 10,000 strong. They re­act to your pres­ence and the en­vi­ron­ment, ad­here to the hi­er­ar­chies of a sim­u­lated food chain, and will swim by your side when you call them by tap­ping Square. A be­spoke light­ing en­gine lends this un­der­wa­ter world a won­der­ful sense of au­then­tic­ity and, tucked away in 505’s room at E3, we’re gifted a brief win­dow of zen-like calm as we watch dart­ing shoals brush aside the gen­tly sway­ing reeds that rise from the sea bed.

Later on we en­counter a great white shark (which will ap­par­ently be a re­cur­ring pres­ence), some an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture, and a por­tal to an­other realm, though Gi­ant Squid isn’t yet ready to be drawn fur­ther on such in­ter­di­men­sional de­tails.

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