Below

PC Xbox One
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Below was developed by Capybara games. They are known for the phenomenal Super Time Force and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery. Their latest release evokes feelings of Zelda and Dark Souls. Originally announced in 2013 and planned for a 2015 release, players will finally be able to get their hands on this moody title this summer for Xbox One and Windows PC.

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As of this writing, the game’s larger story is unclear. Our hero arrives by way of ship, to uncover the secrets of a remote island. What is clear, however, is that this will be a grueling journey. There is a clear sense of struggle, as we see our character slowly trek up a steep set of stairs towards a giant open door, revealing only darkness. Early trailers show our hero, a hooded figure not-unlike-Link, sitting at a fire smoking a pipe. Peaceful, somber music plays in the background (composed by artist Jim Guthrie) as night slowly falls and our character begins to rest. Later trailers show our character descending impossibly steep stairs, torch in hand, and defending himself against large groups of enemies. One trailer in particular shows our hero stripped of his equipment by the dark powers at large, suggesting the game may have some Metroid-style progression system.

All of this is drive by the music of Jim Guthrie, which provides a mysterious and menacing vibe to the game.

Enemies are fierce and will require a methodical approach. The fighting system is immediately reminiscent of Dark Souls in the way it seems to stress caution and defensive tactics, as does the inclusion of bonfires to heal and craft items. The game promises to be a brutal experience incorporating procedurally generated rooms and permadeath. with ample blood to go along with it’s beautifully retro aesthetic. Passageways and rooms are steeped in darkness with only the light of torches piercing through. The tilt shift photography style the game uses, stresses the size of the room compared to the character and gives the game a very daunting aesthetic. All of this is drive by the music of Jim Guthrie, which provides a mysterious and menacing vibe to the game.

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Although close to release, there is not much known about Below’s story other than what is already described. This is deliberate. Capybara hopes the game will get people talking. As originally reported by Engadget: “The way players respond to Below will be a huge component of the game. Capy wants to cultivate a large community of players who discuss and dissect their unique discoveries and theories about the game. It doesn’t have a cut-and-dry story — Capy will provide the world and a few breadcrumbs, but players will be able to take what they want out of it”.

This approach to story feels similar to Dark Souls, in the way players can learn the deep lore by digging beyond the surface of the game. The developers describe reward through survival. “If you manage to survive, that’s where the discovery component comes in,” he says. “That’s when you start unlocking the potential of the game, the story, the lore and also what you can within the game itself.” says Nathan Vella, president of Capybara Games, in an interview with Polygon.com.

There is mention of multiplayer, but no concrete details. Boss fights? Not sure, besides some hints in the trailers. So, your guess is as good as mine. The good news is we will not have to wait long to find out what lies Below.

Jordan is an actor, singer, educator and writer who has a deep love for Shakespeare, classic rock, coffee, old dogs, batman, fantasy novels and video games. He is a Performing Arts major from the University of Connecticut and has lived all over the place—most recently, Beijing. In his free time, he can be found in pretentious coffee shops, reading a giant fantasy book, in nature, on stage, traveling, gaming, singing with his friends band or using his dogs as a pillow.

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