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The First 2 Hours of Child of Light on PS4

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The First 2 Hours of Child of Light on PS4

Child of Light

Before a crumbling statue in a dark wood, Aurora faces her first enemy in Child of Light. As it screeches in the little girls’ direction, she hefts her oversized sword into the air with supreme confidence. She’s unfazed by its arachnid frame and menacing gait. This encounter depicts Child of Light in its purest form: unflinching, beautiful, and defiant of expectations. It’s a PS3 and PS4 RPG that celebrates the RPG tradition while striking out on a new path, wholly its own.

When I first wrote about Child of Light last year, Aurora had already embarked on her adventure through the enchanting world of Lemuria. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to play the opening two hours, uninterrupted. The result: an unassailable emotional connection to Aurora and her quest. The team at Ubisoft Montreal has crafted a heart-rending story, steeped in detail and welcoming to young gamers as well as old.

Aurora’s arrival in Lemuria is immediately tragic. Daughter to an Austrian duke, the young girl falls ill and wakes in an unfamiliar wood. Bereft of her father and overwhelmed with emotion, Aurora is soon united with a charming little flame, Igniculus, whom Aurora addresses as “Sir Firefly.” He guides her to a seer and mystic who could reveal her pathway home.

Child of LightChild of Light

But adventures are rarely so easy, and Aurora is tasked with finding the Sun, Moon, and Stars, which have been stolen from the sky by the Black Queen. Returning the light to the land may enable Aurora to go home and be with her family again, so she is forced to play the role of hero.

Unlike many JRPG leads, Aurora embraces her newfound quest with startling haste. She charges forward with no trace of childlike fear or hesitance — a refreshing change from the norm. And while Child of Light features turn-based battles and questing companions, it more often than not darts away from RPG stereotypes, or finds clever ways to invigorate them.

If the above art hasn’t conveyed the point, Child of Light boasts a rare sort of beauty, equal parts ethereal and familiar. The UbiArt Framework makes each scene and each character look marvelous, from lamenting specters to gilded walls. The layered backgrounds give each environment immense depth, with birds taking flight and the silhouette of a giant lumbering past in the distance.

Child of Light

Every word in Child of Light, from the narration to the dialogue (even the quest objectives), is written in varying forms of rhyme. This bestows Child of Light with a storybook quality — though it maintains an abundance of wit. Aurora and Igniculus, for example, recruit a jester into their party that simply can’t seem to rhyme, and the pair must cooperatively correct her mistakes.

These clever plays with words are not all comical. When passing a cemetery, Igniculus remarks: “Don’t they know? Rocks planted in the ground will not grow.” A heart-breaking vignette of the firefly’s innocence and naivety, laid atop an unsettling background.

With no spoken dialogue outside of the unseen narrator, Child of Light’s aural spell is cast with exquisite music. The audio team employs long, running piano melodies rife with heart. They stir up in rhythm with Aurora’s journey, haunting the player with sparse chords or building tension with tumbling solos. It invokes Yann Tiersen’s immaculate work with the Amelie soundtrack in 2001 (Child of Light Creative Director Patrick Plourde mentioned the film to me when we first met, so it’s been on the mind…).

The more time players spend with Child of Light’s battle system, the more intricacies are revealed. Though the system itself is a straightforward, turn-based platform, the finesse involved with timing goes far deeper. There’s an art in waiting for the right moment to strike, interrupting an enemy attack and keeping Aurora safe. Igniculus can shine in the faces of enemies and delay their turn, allowing for further control of the flow of battle. Another player, be it a child, sibling, or partner, can control Igniculus on a second DualShock and take a simpler (but no less strategic) role.

Earning levels grants skill points to Aurora and her companions, which can be spent to unlock additional abilities in a branching skill system. Earning new skills makes the next in the branch available, giving players some flexibility in how they develop each hero.

Child of Light

And through it all, the player builds a connection with Aurora, who’s just about the most charming RPG hero in recent memory. This emotional resonance, coupled with the rich writing, promise to bring players back time and time again for repeat play sessions for years to come.

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63 Comments

18 Author Replies

  • I know it is Cross-Buy, but does it support Cross-Save?

    I know several people with plans on getting this (and Watch Dogs) then getting a PS4 come Mid-Summer that have been asking me this cross-save question for both games.

    • Hi! Great question, I’m checking with Ubisoft now. Will let you know what I hear back.

    • Hi everyone! Just to confirm: cross buy and cross save are not supported for Child of Light in North America, according to Ubisoft.

      Thank you for your questions and interest!

  • The art on this game looks awesome! Jaw dropping, please post a video! Date? Price? Cross buy?

  • Cant wait! But this will have a Platinum, rite?

  • April 29th, Cross-buy, $14.99

  • * Correction, it will not be cross-buy for NA :(

  • Is it true that the US version is not cross-buy but the EU version is? Please tell me that’s not true, that is beyond ridiculous considering it’s the exact same game at basically the exact same price. Why on Earth would one region get the cross-buy benefit but the other doesn’t?

    I really hope it isn’t true…

  • Any chance of getting this on PS Vita?

  • What SigEp said.

  • how will work the co-op mode… pleaseee nice co-op couch!

    • One player can control the little firefly flame, Igniculus, and assist the first player in battle and exploration. Great system.

  • I will be buying this so badly if only it had Vita version.

  • Cannot wait!

  • This is my most anticipated game in line after Second Son came out. Second Son was/is awesome and I hope this game will be too. It’s been a very dry winter/spring for next-gen games and while this is not a “true” next game it sure does look lots smoother and with crisper textures on the more capable hardware.

    Looks gorgeous, I hope the fighting system is great as well as the story.

  • Beautiful game! Ryan is there any way you could let the Ubi guys know that lots of people, like myself are interested in a cool little physical collectors edition version like in EU?

  • Hi Ryan. Could you please ask Ubisoft, why the hell European guys are getting this Cross-Buy for PS3/PS4 but US release is separate ? Please and thank you.

  • I want this game. Badly.

  • Beautiful looking game.

  • Game looks pretty…..and thats all I can say besides that from all the vids iv seen it looks insanely boring.

  • Are the quests voice acted? Reason I ask is my kids like to watch me play games like this but prefer if I don’t have to read them the quest text out load myself.

  • Would you compare the battle system to southpark without the mario rpg elements? Simple but fun? Or..?

  • Glad you guys liked it!

  • What a beautiful game! I am keeping my eye’s shut about everything else. Going to thoroughly enjoy this one on D1!

  • We want flash sales!!

  • Thanks, Clements. Love seeing stuff on here. Miss seeing stuff from you on IGN.

  • Any chance we’ll see this as a boxed retail release like the Deluxe Edition that Europe is getting? I’d love to have this on my shelf. Can’t wait to play it!

  • Wish we were getting the Deluxe Edition so bad. Even a retail release. This is going to be incredible.

  • BEYOND! This game looks like it is really something. I am glad to see some more artistic games coming out. Keep up the great posts Ryan!

  • Dang, I was hoping there would be a Vita version. This looks perfect for Vita. Games looks amazing though and I’m going to platinum both PS3 and PS4 versions.

  • Any chance of getting a PS VITA port. I would love to play this on my VITA, but usually have no time to play my PS4. Also, I believe this is running on the Rayman Origins engine which powers that and Legends. I would assume it would be an easy port if thats the case. And the VITA stats will get sales look at last weeks Final Fantasy X port for PS3 and VITA. 98,798 VITA and 331,803 PS3 almost a third was on VITA even though there is about 10 times PS3’s out there a good ratio of us VITA players buy way more games than your normal PS3, PS4 player. And about a 1/3 extra sales is nothing to throw out.

  • This game looks beautiful and i’m excited to finally have an rpg to play on ps4. Any chance that this could either by cross buy or have a discounted bundle for ps3/ps4 versions together? Also, any idea when this will be released? hopefully soon. :)

  • whoops…just read the other comments that had the release date for this and a price. But is it really true that North America doesn’t get this game as cross buy, but Europe does? That would be insane and would almost make me not want to buy it out of principle against their blatant favoritism.

  • I’m so so pleased to see this priced at 15 bucks. Great value even without cross buy.

    Ryan, great job managing the community, good to hear from you so much.

  • Something new to play for the PS4. And it’s reasonably priced. Woot.

  • I’ve been looking forward to this game for so long, but I have so much to play on my PS4, I think I may have to get it on the Wii U, just to give it some love.

  • This looks stunning! I can’t wait to play this with my daughter.

  • Can’t wait for this game.

    Hoping Ubisoft will release news on if the collectors will be NA. I need to know if importing it is my only option.

  • You had me until you said turn based combat. I hate that. Oh well.

  • Now this will be one to lookout for these indie games really are great. And at these prices you can play superb games on a budget!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Not to seem entitled, but seriously? No Cross-buy for North America?
    This on top of the Deluxe Edition being available pretty much everywhere but NA, which I would have bought on day one.

    Nice move Ubisoft. I’ll now be buying my copy when its on sale for no more than $5.

  • very nice. i’ve been waiting to hear more about child of light. game looks neat, release date is soon (day after my birthday), and good price.

    PS4thewin!

  • Aww… I thought this was a platformer. Turn-based battles aren’t my thing. Oh well.

    The game looks beautiful though. Amazing artistry on display here. Hope it does well for Ubisoft.

  • Hey Ryan C, As we all can remember Star War battlefront 2 for the PS2 i was really wanting it for the Ps3 or a revamped version on PS4? I Was really anticipated to get this nostalgic game today on the Ps store for the PS3 but was only available on PSP.

  • Wow. Very compelling preview. I really like the way you write, Ryan. Please do more of these in depth previews if at all possible. I don’t usually find written previews to be that descriptive. You managed to do something really special here.

    • Thank you very much. I love writing and love sharing my passion for games with the gaming community! You can definitely find more of my work on the PlayStation.Blog now, and in the future. ^_^

  • @6 & 14

    This could be two reasons.

    1. Europe is Playstation Territory

    2. We also pay more money for games, especially in the UK.

    That’s my guess anyhow. I’m certain NA will get this also on release.

  • Been following this game for a while. Can’t wait till the release! Will there be a digital pre-order for this so I can fork up the dough early?

  • will be playing this on ps4 and sometimes on vita with remote play…
    amazing job guys. Cant wait

  • Wish we were getting the Limited Edition like Europe.

    Also wish it were on PS Vita.

  • This game would be PERFECT on Vita! Why isnt that happening? :(

  • Is the tone and aesthetic similar to Folklore? Feels that way to me based on what I’ve seen.

    Beyond!

  • Will see how this one plays out. I miss a nice turn-based game. Don’t always need button pushing and action for fun.

  • Cross buy for PS3/4? What’s the point? It makes a bit of sense when it’s for Vita (you know, portable and not portable). Why not just throw in an Xbox version as well?

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