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Review: The Pathless – An archer and an eagle’s mythical adventure

Review: The pathless - The Hunter's adventure is an emotional and beautiful story that is sure to keep you fascinated with its smooth movement.
4.5/5 - (51 votes)

Review: The Pathless – Developer Giant Squid Studios made a name for itself in 2016 with the stunning ABZÛ. In this indie game you could explore the endless depths of the ocean. After ABZÛ, the team has not released any new games, but behind the scenes they worked hard on The Pathless. Not oceans with its beautiful creatures and secrets this time, but a mysterious island where an evil force manages to corrupt all that is good. This island is inhabited by all kinds of divine creatures, all of which are under the influence of the mysterious Godslayer. It’s up to you to save the island, but is the island worth saving?

With bow and arrow alone on the mysterious island

As already mentioned, the island you are visiting is ravaged by the evil plans of the Godslayer. You arrive on the island by boat and throughout the game you play as The Hunter. Dressed in all red, this warrior is a master with a bow and arrow and always knows where to find her targets. Shortly after you arrive, you’ll soon come face to face with a giant eagle, which appears to be injured. This eagle is actually the creator of the island and needs the help of our Hunter. Her divine beings have become corrupted by the Godslayer and his influence must be broken. You could say a typical epic, in which the hero has to solve everything. And we can already tell you this is done in a spectacular way.

The Pathless

Despite the fact that The Pathless contains little dialogue, the story is certainly easy to follow and it knows how to keep you fascinated. Your job is to free these creatures in order to restore the influence of this giant eagle. The Godslayer regularly puts a stop to this, but our red-clad and armored heroine does not shy away from it. Numerous heroes have preceded her and you can see that from the many corpses you encounter here and there. More hints and information about the story can be found in the area and you can also interact with the skeletons of the former residents. These then provide the necessary background information. We will not reveal much more about the story of The Pathless, but we can say that it is emotional and beautiful.

Incredibly smooth movements and complete freedom

What is immediately noticeable in The Pathless is that you actually get enormous freedom in your actions from the start. After the introduction, you can immediately fully explore the entire first area at your own pace. As mentioned before, you have to free the various divine beings from corruption and you do this by restoring specific towers per plateau or area. You can do this by finding artifacts and placing them in the towers. In addition to your bow and arrow, you will also find a mysterious mask quite early, with which you can see another dimension and in which many secrets are hidden, which provides some variety. This makes the goal of the game quite simple: you have to restore all towers and search for secrets. You can determine the order yourself,

The Pathless

The Pathless looks incredibly smooth and plays very well thanks to a unique system. While running around the areas you will see floating talismans everywhere. When you hit it with your bow and arrow, you will temporarily receive a short Hunter boost that will allow you to start a sprint. You can keep doing this, so you are continuously very fast. It is important to keep hitting all kinds of talismans in succession, which requires some timing. Also from a jump you can hit the talismans with your bow and arrow to get a boost with which you can reach higher places. Quite early in the game you will also find a loyal companion who will assist you throughout the adventure. Your companion is a young eagle who can lift you and with which you can float temporarily. This floating is short lived, but can be extended by unlocking more eagle’s wing beats. All of this makes sure that The Pathless plays really well and that really improves the overall experience.

In search of many puzzles and artifacts

To restore the aforementioned towers and thus limit the influence of the Godslayer, you must find well-hidden artifacts. You can find these by exploring the whole island and you will have to use the mask regularly to find them. After you have found these artifacts, you often have to solve a puzzle to get them. There are quite a few different puzzles, but most of them are not very difficult to solve. The Pathless lacks some challenge in that respect and that is a shame. However, the puzzles remain creative and you will not get bored while solving them.

During the adventure you also have to deal with another challenge and that is that you are sometimes hindered by a mysterious firestorm that suddenly arises. In this storm your eagle will be thrown away corrupt and helpless. The goal is to find your eagle unnoticed in the storm and to stay out of the enemy’s searchlight. When this bright light hits you, you have to stand silently so as not to be noticed. If this does happen, you will be kicked out by this corrupt creature and you have to take care of your eagle. This by petting your winged friend and undoing all corruption. In such a storm the gameplay changes to stealth, but that is a bit slow, which breaks the extremely fast pace of the game. Moving faster in the stealth segments is unfortunately not possible, which could have been worked out better. It is only a small flaw that fortunately is more than made up for by the combat.

Despite the fact that you constantly shoot with your bow and arrow at talismans to move faster, fighting against enemies is almost non-existent. However, the fights against the small amount of enemies that occur are more than worth it. After you have repaired the towers per area, you will fight the corrupt divine creatures. First of all, you have to keep up with them and that’s quite intense thanks to The Hunter’s fast movements. When you are close to the beast you need, hit it in the weak spots. So the fight mainly consists of chase, precision and fast reflexes to avoid everything along the way, which makes for a fun experience.

A colorful look with Breath of the Wild-esque style

The island of The Pathless is a natural area with all kinds of different environments. We see vast grasslands, high snow-capped peaks, dense forests and much more. The game is therefore very colorful and each area feels different. You could compare the game in terms of style with Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but in its way the studio has created a great world. The environments are designed in detail and you can see remnants of ancient civilizations or immense monuments almost everywhere.

Graphically, we have little to criticize the game, except that the Resolution mode is the lesser option. The resolution will increase, but this will have a negative impact on the game’s frame rate. The Resolution mode reduces the frame rate from 60 to 30 frames per second, which is not a nice setting because of the fast movements and the high tempo in the game. The Performance mode offers a smooth 60 fps and that does the gameplay with The Hunter much more credit. Our advice is to choose the Performance mode if you want to get the best experience from The Pathless.

Finally, we would like to touch on the soundtrack of the game, because it is really fantastic. While discovering the island you usually hear quiet music that is excellent for solving the many puzzles. However, if you enter fights or tense moments, this is emphasized by the very strong music that makes it all just a bit more intense. During the chases it is not only a pleasure for your eyes because of the smooth action, but also a pleasure for your ears because of the excellent musical support.

The Pathless  – Conclusion

Giant Squid Studios puts down another excellent game with The Pathless. The Hunter’s adventure is an emotional and beautiful story that is sure to keep you fascinated. The advantage of The Pathless is the incredibly smooth way of moving, which makes it play great. The Hunter’s acrobatic moves when she hits the talismans never get boring. The many puzzles in the game are unfortunately not that challenging, but fortunately they are creatively designed to keep you entertained. The fights that are present in a limited amount match the fast pace of the game and with that the overall gameplay forms a beautiful whole. Visually, the game is very colorful, with the environments being different every time so you will never get bored. All this accompanied by an extremely good soundtrack, what a pleasure for your eardrums. For anyone who is in for a relatively short adventure of 7 to 8 hours in a beautiful open world: do not pass up The Pathless, because the studio behind the beautiful ABZÛ is once again setting up a hell of a game.

Positives of The Pathless

  • Emotional and good story
  • Very smooth movements and a lot of freedom
  • Performance mode
  • Fights are extremely entertaining
  • Colorful style with a nod to Breath of the Wild
  • Very strong soundtrack

Negatives of The Pathless

  • Puzzles lack some challenge
  • Resolution mode drastically reduces frame rate
  • Stealth segments disrupt the pace

The Pathless Bio

Release date 11/19/2020
Genre Adventure
Developers Giant Squid
Platforms PlayStation 4, iOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, tvOS, Macintosh operating systems

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