FAR: Lone Sails
Review Context: I am very drawn to games with new concepts that try to bring a different experience to the player through its execution. Journey is a good example of a game that did that successfully that I respect.
Date of Playthrough: May 14, 2018
PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU 540 @ 3.07GHz
RAM: 8 GB
Video Card: GeForce GTX 950 2GB GDDR5 ACX 2.0 SC+
Disclosure: This review is based off of a review copy.
FAR: Lone Sails, developed by Okomotive, is a game that is different than any other game I’ve ever played. This is an experience that only you and your vessel will go through in a post-apocalyptic world. As you see your surroundings, you realize that all you have is your metallic vessel to carry you through all the outside conditions you are about to experience.
When you begin your journey in FAR: Lone Sails you are a no-name person in red that is about set out on your journey. The metallic vessel has many functions that you will have to manage from within the vessel, whether it be fueling the engine, cooling off the engine with a water hose, or letting out some steam to prevent overheating. There are more functions, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the rest of the journey for you. As you travel across a wasteland you will find upgrades for your vessel and also have to solve some puzzles. There aren’t a ton of vessel upgrades, and if you’re expecting customization, sorry there are none. As you’re getting your upgrades you are left wondering, “What a coincidence, just enough for me!.” It’s this open question that you, the player, has to fill in about what was left in civilization. The puzzles are fairly easy, but doing the puzzles helps the storytelling that it is important for your vessel to pass all these obstacles, as there are many key places within the game where you can pass through, but not the vessel.
During the course of your journey you will have to manage your fuel, and managing the fuel is easier in the beginning compared to the end. That being said, fuel is plentiful, as I never felt like I was being squeezed in fuel quantity. Okomotive does an excellent job in giving the player the best feeling of control and ease in movement in going from station to station within the vessel to make sure everything is getting its proper attention for survival through the conditions to move forward. I played the game with a controller and little to no trouble.
Where FAR: Lone Sails shines is in its atmosphere presentation. The art direction is just out of this world, especially as you experience many weather conditions. For a 2D game, or any game for that matter, I’m just not used to art direction of this high caliber. The metal on the vessel is incredibly pristine, as you can see the metallic surface and shine really pops. In the background you will see buildings, ships, and other structures that look like they were created with great care and attention to detail. As mentioned above, it’s the weather animations that really put the art direction front and center. During the course of the journey the time of day will change, as you will see the colors of a sunrise, shadows going from daylight to dusk and dusk to night, just an incredible sight. And yes, the game runs at 60 FPS with ease.
While graphics in games are important, so is the sound. The sound effects are usually fairly standard in video games, often overshadowed by their soundtracks, but not in FAR: Lone Sails. This isn’t hyperbole, as I truly believe FAR: Lone Sails has some of the best sound editing and sound mixing ever in video games. As someone who played the whole game with headphones, the weather sounds are just amazing. When inside the vessel, the sound of rain hitting metal is so incredibly realistic, and if you’re outside of the vessel you hear rain as if you’re outside. The sound is also stereo, as when the left side of the vessel was damaged, I heard it in my left ear. This is not even mentioning all the technical sounds of a metallic vessel with its wheels moving. The soundtrack is also very good, as it’s a soundtrack that I would consider listening to outside of the game. All of these various sounds contribute to the great atmosphere presented in conjunction with the art direction.
FAR: Lone Sails is definitely not for everyone The experience is very linear, almost no customization, and no built-in replay value. The replay value to me is showing the game off to other people at what a remarkable technical achievement it is. My playthrough was roughly four hours, as I spent a decent amount of time just admiring the scenery. FAR: Lone Sails is about your attachment and bond to a big hunk of metal for survival, while maintaining it through tough conditions. Since there is no actual text story in the game, it is up to you to put together all the pieces of storytelling through the gameplay, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The ending is the same for everyone, as the ending left me wondering a bit to fill in the blanks. In conclusion, it isn’t the length of this experience that will stay with me, but the excellent rich quality of an experience that Okomotive gave us with FAR: Lone Sails that will be remembered.
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