While undoubtedly ambitious and quite beautiful, the overall play experience doesn’t quite deliver on its promise
Strayed Lights is a bit of a frustrating title that, from the opening, just never seemed to really gel for me in terms of what it wanted to be. Right from the start you’re going to have to sort of go through a combat boot camp, learning the key techniques that will keep you fighting and alive throughout the game, but I was actually wondering at that point whether it was going to be a Furi-esque boss rush. Instead, once you get through that you’ll be put into a very pretty (but generally empty) world with mostly run-of-the-mill enemies to take down, usually requiring quite a bit less effort than the opening tutorial. Most games would have avoided this early bang followed by a fizzle combat bust by slowly introducing each element and mechanic over the course of the adventure, but here it feels like your expectations are set high and then let down. I also found the lack of being given much direction, usually left to aimlessly wander around relatively large (and generally empty) areas in hopes of something to happen, disappointing more often than not. Without some carrots to entice and reward my continued attention the game seemed to present itself and hope I’d just inherently find it interesting, but that wasn’t generally the case. While there’s an upcoming patch intended to deal with various technical problems like stutter and sluggish load times, how well they’re able to take those concerns off the table will remain to be seen. To me Strayed Lights just doesn’t seem to live up to its full potential, teasing you with a visually enticing world and opening with the feel that it will be a challenge but then just feeling pretty average at best as you play through.
Justin Nation, Score: