Pyre is a good game but one of its core mechanics is a bit of a flop – Review

Pyre was Supergiant Game’s third release and after playing and loving Bastion and Transistor, I had really high hopes for this game; too high, perhaps.

In the game, you’re helping characters who’ve been exiled return home through a competition known as Rites. This is basically a sport in which two teams attempt to extinguish the other’s pyre.

The game blends action RPG and sports elements with a deep narrative and while I believe that Supergiant Games got a lot of things right, there was just one big aspect of the game that didn’t do it for me.

Pros

  • Beautiful artwork
  • Excellent soundtrack
  • Intriguing plot and characters

Cons

  • “Battles” don’t fit with the rest of the game
  • Dull “combat”

The high-fantasy setting is closer to Bastion but the art style and character design definitely follows on from Transistor. The visual presentation in this game is almost flawless and the settings and characters are works of art, making this a game you won’t ever tire of looking at.

Darren Korb returns with another stellar soundtrack. Again, it would be hard to follow up the great work from the two previous games but Korb somehow manages it. Due to the larger cast of characters in this game, the soundtrack probably isn’t as singular in its scope but I believe the eclectic mix of styles makes for a more interesting listen.

Speaking of the cast, this is the first of Supergiant’s games that really includes a larger cast. While Bastion focused on The Kid and Transistor on Red, Pyre includes quite a few different characters and I really enjoyed learning more about them and their motivations.

Unfortunately, the sports part of the game really didn’t do anything for me. Despite loving the visuals, music, and story, the game’s main mechanic didn’t fit with the rest of the game and as a result, it made enjoying all the good stuff much more difficult.

In my opinion, the main problem is that the game’s core “combat” is dull, which is a massive shame. I was happy enough with the rest of the game but every time I had to participate in Rites, it was the final whistle for my enjoyment.

Rites is a significant part of the game, too. This isn’t some minigame that only takes up a bit of your time, it’s the part that supposedly provides the high-stakes drama. However, I found it made the game less enjoyable abd playing.

The Verdict

Pyre is a beautifully-presented game that transports you to a fascinating world filled with captivating characters. However, every so often, you’re dragged kicking and screaming out of the immersion to play a poorly-placed sports game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sports game but I don’t feel this is the time or place for one. Some players may really enjoy the gameplay during Rites, but it just wasn’t for me.

Pyre was developed and published by Supergiant Games and is available on PC and PS4.

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