STAFF REVIEW of RiME (Xbox One)


Monday, May 29, 2017.
by Brent Roberts

RiME Box art We have all heard from people in the industry that gaming is an expression of art. Designers, artists and everyone involved collaborate on a digital canvas, producing their own piece of art. Tequila Works has taken this principle and have developed a new game called RiME. While some companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on making a game, Tequila Works has done something spectacularly well. What they've done is create a digital masterpiece of art. Let's take a look at what could make RiME a serious contender for game of the year.

Yes, you read that right, RiME is absolutely amazing. It tells a loose narrative where you must piece a world back together by navigating the various realms, all in an effort to discover your true destiny and what darkness haunts the lands. The story is just a watered down place holder; however, right from the beginning you'll be hit with the titanic beauty that is RiME.

RiME is one of the most beautiful games you will ever see, as it uses the Unreal Engine technology to produce some the most vibrant and bold images ever to grace our screens. When you start you'll see how the game essentially lets you discover it for yourself. This tactic could be misleading, though as the beauty you will find is amazing as you take extra time to uncover various hidden pathways that reveal unique relics and special secrets.


Throughout the various levels you will see parts of the overall experience that reside in a very large and open framework. When broken down though they are really very linear. Now, one of the biggest points going for RiME is the ability to create something with such depth and creativity while utilizing incredibly simple controls. The X button interacts with items, A button jumps, Y button activates your 'shout' and B lets you roll in the direction you move. Such basic controls, yet when put against the backdrop of a platforming adventure like RiME, is a stroke of pure brilliance. The challenge actually comes by you trying to figure things out since there is no hand holding. This takes us to the soul of this game, the puzzles.

Throughout the various levels, if you will, you'll come across many puzzles. Figuring these puzzles out will require some thought, but overall they aren't too challenging. Since there really isn't a run feature you'll find that most of the puzzles will take time simply because you have to find a way to get to them to solve them. Sadly though, what this ultimately boils down to is going through linear pathways to solve a puzzle that will unlock a new path to take, where at the end a puzzle it will need to be solved, rinse and repeat. So trying to figure out the path isn't as challenging as you would expect, and there is exploration, however, it's almost a pseudo open world concept. Essentially what I'm saying is that I'm being picky because I can't explore more of the game, but to compensate for that shortcoming RiME packs in one last piece of pure beauty, the soundtrack.

Hands down RiME is in my top 5 game soundtracks of all time, period. The orchestral composition, and the instruments used, weave a tapestry of audible harmony that will envelop you and submerge you deeper into the experience of RiME's beauty. Hearing the orchestra build and crescendo into a climax of masterful proportions. Navigating tombs and underwater palaces while being serenaded by sonic bliss is an experience you'll wholly enjoy.


These are just some of the examples of mastery you will hear throughout RiME. Not just the music, but every single piece of audible material is created with more attention to detail than we find in a lot of major blockbuster games, and from start to finish it is its own masterpiece to experience. Now it goes without saying that RiME seems to tick all the right boxes for being game of the year material, however, if we look closer, there are a few areas that have to be addressed.

First is the framerate. RiME is beautiful, but it slows down quite badley more often than not and the framerate becomes so unbearable that it takes you out of the beauty of this fluid artistic experience. RiME does use the Unreal Engine, but somehow the dev-team couldn't fine tune the graphics to keep up with the pace, and when a game is actually very slow, you wonder just what is going on with Tequila Works.

Another major issue is the initial loading time. I understand it has to load a few GB of data, however you could probably go get something to eat and still come back and it would still be loading. I think "The Hundred Year War" finished quicker... well probably. So, you have to wait an ungodly long period of time to load up a game that is so beautiful it slows its framerate down to the point where it severely impacts the overall experience somewhat. Oh, and earlier when I said that every single piece of audible material is beautiful, If forgot about one sound. The Y button 'shout' actually gets on your nerves, which doesn't go well considering how often you have to use it.


This got me slightly depressed, confused, and more all at once. I thought to myself, who would see the framerate issues and say yes that's a good idea, and let's do that? Could no one, absolutely no one figure out a way to improve the framerate that, if I'm honest, aren't so demanding? We're not talking hyper realism here. I am hoping for a patch to fix the framerate as it will let this artistic masterpiece shine even more.

I have a confession to make, after reviewing games for 9 years, I've never given a game a 10. Never. I always thought that gaming perfection was unobtainable simply because there is always room for improvement. Had the issues noted above not plagued RiME, this game would have been my first 10, and that was a sobering moment of just how big of an impact these issues can be. When you're talking about simplicity and doing more with less, then you have to make sure that everything, and I mean everything, you give to the gaming community has to be the best. That being said though, RiME is a gaming masterpiece that should be experienced, even with the hiccups I speak of. Creative puzzles, beautiful environments, spellbinding soundscapes, and at $29.99, Rime is right now one of the games to beat in 2017.


Suggestions:
Improve framerate and loading time issues.


Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.8 / 10

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