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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Nero (Microsoft Xbox One)


Nero is a beautiful telling of a story about love, loss, grief and wonder. Seeing the world through the eyes of another, the story unfolds through heartfelt narration and beautiful calligraphy that combines to provide an experience that weaves a compelling, memorable story.

Nero is more than just a title, but the name of the husband in this little tale. But he's not the protagonist; his wife is. What Nero actually is is the story of a woman who never truly new happiness until the day that she and the one she loved had a son, David. For the first time in a long time she could say that she was blessed and that she was happy. Sadly it was not meant to be as her son gets sick and there was nothing that anyone could do to save him. This is her story.

The art style of Nero is simply gorgeous with vibrant and sparkling lights that shine through the darkness in order to help light the path that the player needs to follow. The darkness that is travelled is not one done in any malevolent manner, but instead is a more comfortable dark in which helps convey emotions like a person working through their inner thoughts. Moving slowly along each path or looking for a new one while reading and listening to the story, the feelings of the words are only ever amplified as they shine against or echo through the dark. While the movement through the game is in and of itself slow, it is purposefully so. While there is an option to “run,” that is really a more brisk walk. This is a game to be experienced. Not rushed through.


Simple puzzles are used to provoke the narrator's speech that pushes the tale of what happened further. Not every puzzle is necessary to move further, but every puzzle is designed to grant the player a greater depth of narrative There is nothing really complex about these, requiring the player complete simple tasks, but they do help concentrate the player on what is going on instead of simply holding onto a passive listening role.

While this is one of those beautiful, artful indie titles visually, it wouldn’t carry the same impact without the musical score that accompanies it. From soft melodies over to haunting scores that honestly made me want to look over my shoulder in real life, both the music and the sound effects complete the environments and the emotional impact of the narrative itself.

Nero is a beautiful contrast between light and dark, love and pain. It's not a fast-paced game, but rather a reflective, insightful, and emotional experience that is a very different kind of game that what we're used to. What starts as nothing more than a simple story of a woman and the man she loves, it quickly transforms itself into a heartfelt and wrenching story of a mother and her husband who go through one of the most wrenching, desperate series of emotions that a human being could experience.


- Pierre-Yves L. 
Contributor


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Review: Nero (Microsoft Xbox One)
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