Nothing really prepared me for this game. I had played Journey before and had heard of the parallels (Same art director and composer for both games) but the differences were significant enough to create a new experience.
Abzu is an underwater exploration game that flows seamlessly like its setting. The currents that create some of the most cinematic sequences in the game carry us forward into the beautiful journey of an alien robot as he discovers the ancient ruins of a technologically advanced race. On his journey, he encounters and interacts with a wide variety of fish species who he eventually teams up with to save the land (underwater). By the end, you come to some realizations about technology and its effects on the land. You also start wondering if someone who seems villainous at first is truly a villain or a misunderstood hero.
There is no tutorial, no ugly buttons flashing across the screen. It is an experience, as seamless as they come. There are puzzles to solve accompanied with cinematics that give you a bird’s eye (fish eye) view of the whole landscape. By no means a difficult or challenging game, this is an experience that completes your Sunday relaxation experience.
Matt Nava and Austin Wintory together strike again. Their goal was not to make a realistic portrayal of the underwater. In their words, “when we depict a fish, we wanted to choose its most iconic traits and accentuate them, as opposed to make them completely realistic.” And the product is a sensory masterpiece. Add to it the musical score that ripples through your heart as it complements the visual situation and imagery.
Play the game, it’s a must. If you are tired of shooting zombies or taxing your brain, this is the game that will stimulate all your senses.