Concrete Genie: PS4’s Newest Very first-Celebration Exclusive Should not Be Overlooked

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Sony has its big PlayStation four exclusive, Death Stranding, coming out in just a couple of weeks, The Final of Us Portion two ultimately got its significant re-reveal with hours of hands-on and a release date, and the Ghost of Tsushima and the PS5 is nevertheless on the way. But, if you are a PS4 owner, you shouldn’t be turning a blind eye to a smaller sized scale but significant-hearted Sony very first-celebration game debuting this week, Concrete Genie.Concrete Genie is the second game from Pixelopus, a very first-celebration Sony studio that previously created Entwined. And whilst it might not be functioning at the scale of a Naughty Dog or Guerilla Games, Concrete Genie is nevertheless a fantastic, heartwarming adventure that can stand proud alongside the God of Wars and The Final of Us. It is critical that Sony is nevertheless focusing on smaller sized stories, and Concrete Genie is effectively worth your time if you are seeking for a brief, sweet, special tale.

Concrete Genie: 15 Screenshots

What Is Concrete Genie?

Concrete Genie tells the story of Ash, a bullied boy who loves to draw and lives in Denska, a city that is develop into dilapidated and rundown. And there’s a mysterious dark purple-and-black undergrowth beginning to infect the city to boot.

One particular day, Ash’s bullies go a step also far, tearing the pages out of his sketch book and sending him off to Denska’s abandoned lighthouse. There, he finds a drawing of his, Luna, has come to life, as effectively as a magic paintbrush that enables Ash to bring his sketches to life on the walls of the lighthouse — and quite a lot each and every constructing in Denska.

What Is Concrete Genie’s Gameplay?

Concrete Genie has no combat for the very first two-thirds of its story. It is a non-confrontational game — and even when it introduces combat (far more on that in a second), it has a tone and tenor to it as opposed to most any other combat technique.

Rather of fighting as a signifies to progress, Concrete Genie is all about painting life back into Denska. All through Ash’s journey, you will gather scattered pages of his journal, every single with a distinctive design and style attached to them. Some play into the titular genies and their styles, whilst other individuals are something from trees to moons to birds. The base design and style is generally the similar — that moon, for instance, will appear like Ash’s moon. But you can impact size, orientation, position, and, based on the piece of art, the path “living” components, like that flock of birds, will take.As you go from 1 element of Denska to the subsequent, you are correctly painting the lights back on, whilst pushing the darkness out. Strands of light will come to life as you paint on the walls about them, but other than your genies especially asking for a specific drawing right here and there, you are largely totally free to paint what ever you want. My version of Denska will probably appear a lot distinctive from yours primarily based on what art styles you are drawn to, and every little thing you paint is persistent all through the game.

As for these genies, even though you pick from predetermined base builds, you can add tails, ears, horns, and other design and style components to make them your personal, whilst also deciding on their size and scale. These options can impact their personalities, and locating your self with an army of cheerful paint pals, who act like loyal pups or mischievous rascals, bonds you to them. Combat does come into play toward the third act, as dark genies start to seem. But rather than fighting them to the death, combat feels far more like taming a wild beast just before it can hurt itself and other individuals. These “battles” are far more about containing the threat and saving the genie rather than beating it to a pulp.

What Tends to make It So Unique?

You can study our Concrete Genie critique to come across out why Joe Skrebels’ believed Pixelopus’ new game is fantastic. But for my mileage, it is 1 of these games exactly where each and every piece feels like it is functioning in concert to make the complete much better.

At its heart, Concrete Genie is mostly about the cycles of bullying and how we can break them, and the empowering nature of art on each a private and societal level to influence our lives. There are stunning messages in their personal proper, and Concrete Genie’s story, globe, and gameplay reflects these themes in dazzling detail.For a game all about art, it surely aids that Concrete Genie appears so damn quite. Yes, it might not have the fidelity of detail that one thing like God of War does, but Concrete Genie tends to make inventive use of its limitations. Its art has a special style to it, and by enabling the player to place their personal spin on every single piece of his artwork, one thing universal instantaneously becomes private. The way Denska, dark and rundown at very first, is brought to life by your art is quite specific to watch.

Concrete Genie’s painting mechanics, accessible by way of DualShock motion controls or by way of the proper thumbstick (the motion is, surprisingly, my a lot preferred way to play) do not demonstrably transform more than the course of the adventure, but they are regularly entertaining. New pages enable for new artistic expression and distinctive approaches to method the blank canvas of every single wall. It is a joy to paint more than each and every inch of Denska, and Concrete Genie’s capacity to make you really feel like an artist, no matter the ability level, is an impressive trick to pull off.

How Does This Match in With Other Sony Very first-Celebration Games?

What I’ve described in all probability does not sound like it has a lot in frequent with Sony’s other very first celebration fare, which tends to sit comfortably in the AAA space. But it is in step with Sony’s commitment to delivering heartfelt stories.

God of War, for instance, is a brutal action game that, at its core is about a father’s partnership to his somewhat estranged son Marvel’s Spider-Man (retroactively very first-celebration!) capitalizes on the interplay among Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s lives to ask what becoming a hero actually signifies Horizon Zero Dawn, the Uncharted franchise, Infamous, and of course The Final of Us have all focused on character very first and foremost. And rather than sacrificing gameplay to concentrate on story, the gameplay is generally in service to the improvement of every single game’s respective hero.

Concrete Genie PS4 Pro screenshots

Concrete Genie shares this ambition. Ash’s emotional journey is basic, woven all through his use of his artwork and genies and his partnership to the bullies. How these components transform and create all through the adventure are tied straight into the painting gameplay and its evolution. Pixelopus’ most recent wouldn’t operate as effectively if 1 aspect of its improvement hadn’t informed the other.

But, fortunately, Concrete Genie proves, with a couple of flicks of a paintbrush, how a lot heart smaller sized games can have, and how their significant ambitions can shine via even when faced with restraints. It is fantastic that Sony would create and publish in-home a game of this size, and I hope it is a sign that the big very first-celebration publisher will continue to balance God of Wars and Concrete Genies in its portfolio in the PS5 generation to come.

Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of IGN’s weekly PlayStation show Podcast Beyond!, and IGN’s PlayStation editorial lead. Speak to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.



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