Editorials

Published on August 23rd, 2016 | by Boman12l

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Hyper Light Drifter: Hard Lite Takedown

One of the achievements for Hyper Light Drifter ask players to complete the game without dying once. No small task, as the combat is punishing. Small errors can quickly lead to death. Timing of attacks and dodges must be perfect. Hyper Light Drifter is a game that ask a lot of players, but not only with is combat, but with the way it tells its story. A gamble that could leave some players staring off into the abyss. Hyper Light Drifter, more than most modern games, puts a lot of faith in its audience. It trust players can figure out its combat after a short tutorial; however the bigger gamble, it expects players will pay attention to shit.

Developed by Heartmachine, with Hyper Light Drifter you take control of a Drifter. Drifters travel what remains of the world, collecting lost treasures, technologies and cutting anything that gets in their way down their light sword. Our Drifter, at the beginning of the game, is shown a vision of the world being destroy and is affected by a sickness appearing to be connected to an evil being that haunts them. Outside of the opening cinematic, everything else is up player interpretation. The few NPCs that populate the world don’t say much and the ones that do, do so with pictographs.

 

While this might sound vague, but itis not. Thanks in large to Hyper Light Drifter’s beautiful art and masterfully of environmental storytelling. There is no traditional lore or codex for players to read; instead, the entire world map works as a codex. Each of the four regions tells its story and give hints to what the world was like before the game’s versions of Second Impact and costly fight against titans happened. While some things like the devastation of a great war are obvious. Other things like the culture of the regions and what life was like require a level of attention to details, more games do not believe players have anymore.

Splitting their attention is something players will not want to do, as the combat can be punishing. While it may look it at times, Hyper Light Drifter is no masher. Timing is everything. Attacks and dashes must be executed perfectly or combo attacks and triple dashes will fail to connect.  Players can explore any of the game’s four regions at their own choosing. The core gameplay loop does not change much. Explore area, looks for keys and secrets, fight boss.  Regions steadily increase in enemy, variety and numbers. Controlling space and choosing when to attack is key to success in combat. The Drifter can be killed in a few hits.

 

Adding to the challenge there are no invisibility frames, meaning dashing in the wrong direction or trying to use a health pack at the wrong opportunity often end in death. The game is hard, but not in a cheap away. Multiple deaths can leave to frustration, but the satisfactions of defeating a boss after countless restarts is defiantly satisfying.

Hyper Light Drifter has plenty of secrets. There are entire rooms, locked doors, cloaks, weapons and extra keys players could easily miss on their first run. While many of these secrets are found by pixel hunting, players paying attention will learn Hyper Light Drifter’s language both figuratively and literally. Invisible platforms, rooms seemingly unreachable, small walkways slightly off screen, exploring thoroughly will not only rewards players with new items and abilities, but knowledge of the game’s world. Like everything else in the game, the map screen has not text and does not track your current position. The map track what room the Drifter is currently in, players are left to use their witts to figure things from there. It takes some getting used too, but after a players will learn to look for landmarks in room and cross reference them with the map to find there way and possibly some of the game’s secrets.

 

Hyper Light Drifter story’s is simple yet engaging. This is a tale that has been told before. The world has been destroyed, silent protagonist – sick – casing down a dark evil presence, based on the suggestion of an equally mysterious force or entity. However, how Heartmachine has told it, asking players to do some digging, makes things intriguing. The big difference her, Hyper Light Drifter gives plays all they need to piece together it’s history, instead trying to worldbuild via a multimedia approach (Halo 4 and Halo 5 looking at you). The game features a literal Rosetta stone players can use to translate its ancient langue. The open nature of it, while parts of the history are set, what is happening now is full up to player interpretation. It engages community in great ways, as players share their favorite builds, dungeon over and theories with one another. Hyper Light Drifter is a challenging game. It rewards those who want to dig deep into its offerings.

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About the Author

Is Co-founder and Managing editor at RapconQueso.com. When he is not trying to relate everything to Wu-Tang, you can find him on twitter (@boman12l ) trying to relate everything to Wu-Tang. Hit him up at d.brown@rapconqueso.com



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