I was very pleased to start the year with new releases from two of my favorite creators. But with all the excitement of diving into a novel experience, there is a tiny bit of fear hiding in the shadows. The anxiety of whether or not I will enjoy the latest work from a beloved artist. Let’s see how things shake out!
I have been a fan of Deschutes Brewery’s beers for some time. Their Fresh Squeezed IPA is one of my favorite hoppy concoctions currently on store shelves. So when Sagefight was announced, I was eager to taste what this triumvirate of brewing ingredients would yield.
As the copy from Sagefight’s label would attest, this is a complex brew of four hop varietals, sage, and juniper berries. The resulting beer has a rich nose of citrus hops, nestled alongside a backbone of fresh baked focaccia bread. Sagefight leads with a slightly tart start of blood orange pith that expands into a malty body of toast with herbed butter. The finish is juicy and subtly sweet, with notes of resin hops and dark berries.
While the ingredients of Sagefight could certainly compete for palate dominance, this brew is well-balanced and definitely one of the better IPAs I have enjoyed in quite some time.
If I had to pick, I’d say Supergiant Games is my favorite developer of the last decade. They have been two-for-two with their previous releases Bastion and Transistor, each of which featured excellent narrative coupled with engaging gameplay.
Due to major life changes, I held off on playing their latest creation for quite some time after its initial release. Now that things have begun to stabilize at Digital Draughts HQ, it was high time that I dove into Pyre.
Pyre is set in an immensely engaging world filled with a variety of personalities who must band together to seek their freedom from a purgatory imposed by a tyrannical ruling class. Across the cast of characters, players are sure to find a favorite, thanks to the unique style and enthralling backstory of each exile. In addition to these colorful personalities, the world of Pyre is gorgeous and filled with mystery, featuring what I consider to be the best art from Supergiant Games yet.Despite the amazing art, characters, and music, I feel that Pyre suffers due to its gameplay. Instead of the streamlined action-RPG of Bastion or the successfully experimental strategy elements of Transistor, Pyre focuses on rituals that are reminiscent of hockey or capture the flag. While these mechanics can make for worthwhile multiplayer games, I quickly fell into a rut when playing through the single-player campaign.
You see, the story in Pyre focuses on the ideas of failure and sacrifice. This means that not only will you be playing against the same sets of opponents in multiple matches, you will do so with fewer of your preferred characters over time. Even worse, much of the history and lore of Pyre is shared through unspoken text, over fifty pages worth to be exact. This is a harsh departure from the diagetic narration within Bastion and Transistor, which allowed the player to engage with the story without breaking the flow of the game.I really wanted to enjoy Pyre, truly I did. But in spite of the fantastic aesthetic and engaging characters, I simply could not get into the major gameplay loop of Supergiant’s latest release. At least I was able to find multiple new beloved characters from this latest release, including a delightfully aggressive bat creature who merely wants to destroy all aquatic life.
Now that the new year is in full swing, what stands out from your beer and video game experiences thus far? Let us know in the comments!