Child of Light is a fairly small game shadowed over giants over at Ubisoft. It competes against Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, The Division, and so much more. Here is the catch though. This one little game made by a small team over at Ubisoft Montreal is leagues ahead of those giants. I am not knocking those games or the people who make them but what Child of Light brings to the table is something that needs to be noticed. Too long has this award winning game been cast to the shadows.
An Artstyle that will never fade
Child of Light offers one of the most beautiful looking games I have ever played. Whenever one is flying around as protagonist, Princess Aurora a 19th century Austrian girl it feels like playing through a painting. The watercolor environments pop and blend together so well. Adding in the characters with the overworld, it makes the game feel alive. Speaking of the characters they get the same love as the overworld does. Each character that gets recruited on Aurora’s journey stands out from the rest. There is never a dull design when it comes to Child of Light.
The painted world of Lemuria is but a dream that Aurora wakes up in. It is an expansive world that she must overcome and grow in. As her journey progresses she will wander into various caves, towns, climb over living giants, submerge herself into underwater cities, and tackle gothic castles. All of these are breathtaking to explore and look at. Each one filled with secrets, enemies and detail for the eye to see.
Characters and the usage of Dialogue
Child of Lights dialogue is like no other game I have played. It strictly focuses on rhyming stanzas. In this case like ABCB. Creative Director, Patrick Plourde and Writer, Jeffrey Yohalem were inspired by such fantasy books such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Oz books etc. From the story and dialogue one can see the inspiration unfold beneath their eyes. One can see the inspiration in the dialogue itself but it makes it its own.
The usage of dialogue helps this game have so much more charm than just the artstyle alone. Each character uses the rhyming stanzas to their fullest while some characters such as the jester, Rubella can’t seem to get the hang of it. Aurora or her side kick firefly, Igniculus will often correct her when needed. The game has 6 party members that each make the journey Aurora takes more impactful and meaningful. The narrative of the party members boils down to how Aurora adjusts to growing up in the modern world by sacrificing time to help others out. By doing this she also grows and learns how to be an adult. She makes tough choices but in the end she knows they are the right ones.
What brings Child of Light together is its Music
If there is one thing I will never forget about this game is that the music is sublime. It is quite possibly my favorite video game soundtrack. There are no bad tracks whatsoever. Most importantly each track tells a story of its own. From the bombastic boss music Metal Gleamed in Twilight to the soft main theme of Princess Aurora. Those pieces are just a mere taste of the soundtrack. There are so many more like Patches of Sky, the normal battle theme, Dark Creatures, and Path of the Eclipse. I would implore anyone with a taste to go listen to the whole soundtrack. The work that Cœur de pirate put into this game is out of this world. She also worked with the Montreal-based Bratislava Symphony Orchestra to help record a few songs. All parties involved made something truly remarkable.
Each song captures each scene perfectly and sucks me in each time I play Child of Light. There are many times where I sat there floating in the air listening to these tracks play or let battles extend. No game comes close to having a perfect soundtrack like this one. The love put into the music shows.
The hidden JRPG
Child of Light is also a JRPG surprisingly and a good one at that. It has everything a classic JRPG would have such as a take turn system, different party members, status effects, items and magic. The games battle system also works on a Timer. The faster the character/enemy is, the faster they will be able to attack. You can see whoever is next on a bar at the bottom of the screen. This bar will also indicate the waiting period and the casting period.
Child of Light also lets players control two characters at once. If a player wants to have an easier time in battles they can use the firefly, Igniculus to blind the enemy. Blinding an enemy will slow their movement speed and will let the heroes catch up and get their move off first. It gives players the chance to plan their next moves accordingly. The before mentioned, Magic, can also alter your speed to be faster and can also make the enemies even slower. Players can also use Fire, Lightning, Water and Light magic in battle. As the game goes on the option to level up Magic will be unlocked. This goes for Strength, Speed and other attributes in battle as well.
Our tale comes to an end
Child of Light in my eyes is a near perfect game. So much love was put into it and it shows. Ubisoft Montreal really made a masterpiece. They may have went fantasy but they didn’t follow all the cliches that come with it. Aurora stands out as a strong female hero that doesn’t need anyone to come save her. In the beginning she cared only about getting back to her father no matter what. Her journey is tough but overtime she realizes that in her pursuit of trying to get back, others are in need and she is their only hope. Aurora became an icon that would later go out of her way to help others because she learned that was the right thing to do. Not only did she grow but all her party members did as well. Learning from her to be strong and brave when needed.
Where does our tale go from here?
While Child of Light has reached its end, where does the series go from here? There were teases from Creative Director, Patrick Plourde back in 2018 when the game was coming to the Nintendo Switch. There were documents that had the title Child of Light II behind a Switch. At the time Plourde said it would be a Prequel rather than a Sequel. In 2019 he would go on to say that he doubts anything will come out of the talked about Prequel or anything of the sort with Child of Light. Plourde would also mention that most of the team behind the first game had already left the company. Even Writer, Jeffrey Yohalem expressed interest on coming back to write for the Pre/Sequel.
Knowing the future of Child of Light is probably going nowhere hurts. I truly believe Ubisoft doesn’t understand the masterpiece they have made here. If any of their games deserve another chance it is Child of Light. For anyone who hasn’t played it yet I strongly recommend it. There is so much love and care put into it that I don’t want anyone to overlook it any longer. It is available on every platform that is out right now so there is no excuse to try it and explore the world of Lemuria.
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