Bigger isn’t always better. For Far: changing Tides the sequel to 2018’s gorgeous and underrated Far: Lone Sails the bigger size certainly means more things to do and places to visit however it doesn’t suggest that those things are more engaging. It’s still a stunning and sometimes serene journey across the globe filled with stunning scenery and clever puzzles. However, the developer Okomotive’s efforts to make it more of a mechanically diverse experience, though they’re successful, may also accidentally shift the balance of the original’s game from relaxing to boring sometimes.
Far: The Changing Tides lets you be in charge of a comically tiny person, at a minimum, compared to the huge sailing ship they’re controlling by themselves. Similar to the previous film It tells a tale using a minimum of words, delivering information using visuals to a generally impressive impact. The majority of the time, you might not be aware of the situation in which you’re living within this post-apocalyptic universe but you’ll never feel confused, and will don’t lose enthusiasm to keep moving towards the right direction seeking some sort of solution or other.
Propulsion for your ship can be performed by either removing an eagle on top of it, or by hopping through its internals to manually generate fuel and cool an enormous engine. It’s a great dance to perform, asking you to find materials to burn off beneath the waves while you travel. Ensure that the engine doesn’t overheat and complete other tasks to ensure that you’re sailing in a smooth manner and also sometimes have to jump out completely in order to deal with more substantial obstacles in your way such as massive gates or abandoned structures. When you receive a certain upgrade, your vessel is able to sink into the sea and transform into an underwater vessel, allowing you to travel under roads instead of going traversing them.
While that’s an impressive change, the most significant modification from the previous version one is the fact that pulling your sail isn’t as straightforward this time. Instead of pressing an icon, you need to raise the mast and then climb it. Then and then grab a rope to connect it back to the ground and then alter the position of your sails to accommodate the constantly changing wind to achieve the best speed. There are also obstacles that the sails may encounter and damage and also low overhangs which can bring off the mast. These additional elements make sailing without an engine more exciting however, it’s not always exactly the same as when you need to be “engaged” in order to catch an insect.
Although Changing Tides’ scenery is stunning, the perspective in 2D is a bit difficult to know if your sail is going to strike something. Also, unless you’re currently on the roof of your boat and are in the roof, there is often short time between spotting an overhang coming towards you and being able to take action even if you zoom out. That means that some of my most memorable moments from Lone Sails – catching a breeze, and just enjoying the music and sights after a long and stressful time of running the engine are gone completely and those areas are now being occupied by managing sails in threat assessment, as well as checking your radar to ensure that you’re not missing anything under the waves. These additional tasks are enjoyable, but they create an entirely different experience and one that I became tired of quickly.
Thankfully, the places you’re traversing are still an absolute delight for the ears and eyes. The soft music perfectly complements the surrounding terrain (even the fact that it’s not quite as unforgettable as Lone Sails with its incredible music) And your way towards the left is often packed with scenes you could take a screenshot, print out and put on the wall of an art gallery with no fear of being odd. The underwater areas can be stunning and one of the highlights is an array of bright jellyfish that I splashed through along the bottom of my boat.
There are some great scripted moments in the five hours I took to finish Changing Tides, too – none of which I’d wish to ruin. They’re magnificent in dimensions and scope and accomplish a great job of injecting adrenaline into the otherwise sluggish game. They’re the only genuine source of tension because it felt like there was no chance of anything going wrong, unless it was specifically made to do so this time around. This is an entirely different experience from the one of my car Lone Sails that was constantly on the edge of fire. It can seem like you’re doing the motions rather than trying to keep on the move at all.
As the sequel to Far: Changing Tides, I was somewhat disappointed with Far: Changing Tides. It is a step up from the previous one however, by making the formula more complex mechanically than the previous one, many of its meditational moments are interrupted by a lack of control. The added depth isn’t tested in a unique way however, the implementation of the new settings does create a beautiful adventure. It’s a more beautiful game to play as compared to Far: Lone Sails and navigating your hefty vessel remains a fun the juggling, even if I’m sad about the absence of more serene and challenging moments.
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