"More games about water? Surely you must be bored of this by now?" Au contraire my friend - I'm just getting started.
ABZÚ is a game about exploration, and it's no surprise given some of the talent at the studio that people are excited about the prospect. With thatgamecompany alumni in tow Giant Squid are setting out to make a bigger, more dynamic experience than we might have seen from Journey or Flower.
ABZÚ doesn't take place Journey's beautiful deserts, nor in Flower's breezy fields, instead it takes place in the depths of the ocean. "ABZÚ is the ocean of wisdom" after all (given the combination of the two parts of its name. But away from the mythological ABZÚ is a game where players take control of a female diver exploring these beautiful oceans in search of her past and clues to her story.
There's a beautiful sense of movement in ABZÚ which finally looks to have conquered gaming's poor execution of swimming controls. In addition to that success the game has also done away with the stress of time constraints underwater and also there is no game over screen. While those two changes might make those of you desperate for "gamey" elements to pervade your experiences the developers are trying to create an unbroken timeline for players.
The game looks incredible but the subtlety is what stands out here. The game wants players to respect the ocean; offering them ways to interact with the world and fish in ways that are natural and not typical videogame murdering nonsense. Even the Great White Sharks are shown more true to form here, away from their one dimensional portrayal in normal media.
With a dynamic score from Austin Wintory to seal the deal ABZÚ has quickly rocketed to the top of my most anticipated games. Well, second to the Final Fantasy 7 remake.