Republished on Wednesday, thirteenth July, 2022: We’re bringing this assessment again from the archives following the announcement of July’s PS Plus Further, Premium lineup. The unique textual content follows.
It’s been a 12 months since Spirit of the North first took us on an journey on PlayStation 4, however with the PlayStation 5’s latest launch, Infuse Studio has introduced it again for a second spherical. Set inside Iceland, we discover ourselves enjoying an strange Fox, guided by the Guardian of the Northern Lights after the land and skies develop into stained by pink corruption. Drawing closely from Nordic folklore, it brings us a creative expertise that provides a complete visible improve however stays held again by cumbersome controls.
From snowy tundras to mountainside greenery, Spirit of the North pulls you into this intriguing story via environmental storytelling, no narrators or dialogue included. It’s an enormous world to discover, full of murals that depict previous occasions and there’s no mini map to information you. All we get are occasional location prompts from our guardian buddy, who leads us on this journey as we battle again in opposition to the mysterious plague. We are saying battle, however there isn’t any fight right here; this expertise is accomplished through fixing environmental puzzles. Some are simply handled, like matching symbols between a set of statues, nevertheless it will get extra sophisticated as you advance.
Beginning off with a primary moveset of working, leaping, and choosing up objects, the Fox regularly unlocks new religious powers, which require spirit vitality to activate. That’s obtained from blue flowers and you’ll switch this vitality to energy up stone tethers. When powered up, the Fox can launch bursts of vitality to destroy any rooted corruption, channel your religious physique to a different location for a brief period of time, and spirit sprint to land these extra-long jumps. Staffs are additionally mendacity about, alongside the skeletal stays of some long-deceased shaman spirits. Reuniting them with staffs opens new pathways to start with, although it turns into extra of an non-obligatory additional in a while.
The story is break up into chapters however all you want is a day to finish it, taking a number of hours with out getting misplaced. For essentially the most half, Spirit of the North comes collectively properly, presenting us a refined creative expertise that’ll have you ever hooked, successfully utilizing environmental storytelling to attract you into this world. Gameplay might be sluggish paced at instances, which will probably be admittedly off-putting for some, and there are occasions the place it isn’t clear what’s wanted to advance, however the sport rewards these with endurance. All of that is backed up by a completely orchestrated soundtrack which really brings this world to life, although music modifications aren’t particularly delicate.
That stated, it holds a number of flaws that are laborious to disregard and quite a lot of this regards the controls. This isn’t such an issue throughout primary exploration, letting you run throughout massive open fields, however it may possibly really feel a bit stiff in the case of leaping. Contemplating some platforming segments require higher precision, it turns into simple to make errors and people might be time consuming. Disappointingly, this was additionally a difficulty throughout the PS4 version, so it’s a disgrace that Infuse Studios didn’t spend extra time fixing this.
That stated, the place Spirit of the North actually advantages from the Enhanced Version’s next-gen improve lies throughout the visuals, that includes remastered textures/objects and improved lighting for an already lovely sport. Boosting decision to 4K, it actually brings out the finer particulars of those Icelandic landscapes, working easily at a stable 60 frames-per-second. Higher but, it additionally features a photograph mode to take full benefit of this and there’s additionally unlockable fox skins to swap between, together with two new ones for this remaster.
Infuse Studio has carried out a unbelievable job in remastering Spirit of the North’s visuals for PS5, however whereas it appears attractive, this version neglects the weather that wanted an replace most. Although the controls stay stiff and your targets aren’t all the time clear, anybody keen to look previous this may discover a fantastic expertise on the core. For those who’ve been trying to find a brand new journey sport, Spirit of the North is brief however candy and regardless of these flaws, comes advisable.