Some game studios just have a style. A signature feel, vibe, whatever you call it that makes their games instantly identifiable. Supergiant is one of these developers. With their prior games Bastion and Transistor, the studio’s creations have become synonymous with brilliant art direction, music and voice overs. There is a vibrant attitude to these games that make them a delight to playthrough again and again, and years later. In fact Bastion is one I’ve reinstalled myself within the past year as its appeal is undeniable. Pyre is the next game in Supergiant’s roster and is shaping up to be the next celebrated experience in their roster of whimsical action RPGs. In the game you will lead a band of exiles to freedom by engaging in ancient competitions across a vast land. We have tabbed it as one of our Top RPGs of 2017: July and have put together this preview to give you a better look.
Developed by: Supergiant
Published by: : Supergiant
Release date: July 25th, 2017
Platforms: PS4, PC
- A New World From the Creators of Bastion and Transistor: Get to know an ensemble cast of characters struggling to earn back their freedom as you make your way across the forsaken land called the Downside.
- Action-Packed Three-on-Three Battle System: Battle against a colorful cast of adversaries in pitched, high-stakes confrontations where each victory (or defeat!) brings your exiles closer to enlightenment.
- A Branching Story with No Game-Over: In Pyre, you will never be forced to lose progress. Whether you prevail or you fail, your journey continues.
- Challenge a Friend in Versus Mode: On top of the single-player campaign, Pyre features a local two-player Versus Mode, where you can play against a friend (or CPU opponent) in one of the game’s fast-paced ritual showdowns.
- Rich, Atmospheric Presentation: From the vibrant hand-painted artwork to the evocative musical score, every aspect of Pyre’s presentation draws you into its fantasy world.
Story & Setting
In Pyre, you’ll be leading an ensemble of characters as they fighting to win their freedom in the forsaken land known as the Downside. The setting of the game is high fantasy and you will take control of a party of exiles on a mission to defeat other exiles. The party will travel by day and stop at night where you will choose what kinds of activities to undertake to help the party advance. The characters in the game are from a diverse array and size of creatures and each has their own unique story and reason for wanting liberation.
If you’ve played Bastion or Transistor, you’ll know that setting is a strength of Supergiant. They have a knack for creating a vibrant world with smart humor, irreverence and coolness and early looks at Pyre are no different. The animated setting is fantastical and full of genre cliches as well as fresh spins on convention. There will be stories and a world to explore and we’ll likely have a blast discovering all that there is because of the presentation.
The core component to Pyre’s gameplay is the battle called the Rite. Each rite is a close quarters struggle where you must extinguish the flame of your foes before they put yours out. You will choose 3 exiles from your party for a rite and equip them with talismans and masteries.
Rites take place on a field with 2 pillars of fire called pyres (hence the game’s name) and the opposing teams of 3 battle it out from a top down perspective. At the center will be a glowing orb that the teams will try to launch into the pyres of the opponents, doing damage to it. Eventually, the pyre will take enough damage and be destroyed. Players can control one exile at a time and can freely swap between any of the three. Any character can grab the orb, but this makes them vulnerable to being effectively tagged out by a foe. If this happens, they are kicked from the arena temporarily and the orb drops. This is an encounter based RPG/MOBA fusion approach to gaming that is an interesting twist on both setups.
You can set your exiles up with a series of skills to help in combat, such as dashes and the ability to toss projectiles. Players can improve these skills via the game’s skill tree. Each exile has its own unique abilities such as movement speed and damage dealing and combined with the skill trees, can be customized and fine tuned for battle. This layer of strategy should give the game much more of a “sporting” feel as you’re likely be carefully fine tuning your lineup.
As you explore the overworld, you’re only able to have your party travel during the day. At night they must stop and during this time you will make choices about which actions to take to improve your party. You can scavenge for supplies, learn about the world’s lore or work to improve the different skills of your exiles. All said, the game is a larger scope than other Supergiant titles, and they’ve said to expect it to be longer than Bastion.
Pyre features a single player campaign, as well as a local 2 person Versus Mode that pits you against a friend or AI. You’ll be able to choose 3 of the 20+ characters included in the game and can customize the battle in a variety of ways. You can tweak their abilities, the stages and their own unique effects on gameplay and more all as a means to create longevity for the game beyond completion of the single player experience. Though many have asked, as of yet the game is not going to support online play, strictly being a local experience. This is a bit of letdown as this game seems like it would be ripe for some surprise online multiplayer success similar to Rocket League.
No matter what you choose, you will never lose progress. The narrative of the game is interactive and is designed in a way that will make every playthrough unique. There’s no game over, so if you succeed or fail in a mission, the game continues and just adapts the campaign as you go. This is an increasingly common convention in gaming that has mixed results, but in the capable hands of Supergiant, there is reason for optimism.
The game’s graphics and audio are being given careful attention and should have the same regard as Supergiant’s past games. The artwork is hand-painted and is designed to compliment the music, by the same composer who did the score in Bastion and Transistor. Early looks prove that the game is already delivering on these aspects and these will likely be a highlight of the game.
Pyre takes the best of Supergiant: wonderful art, invigorating music and imaginative storytelling, and gives it a twist by adding in some MOBA elements to their more typical Action RPG structure. Battle arenas are a neat take on the standard RPG encounter and giving players something to do different as they explore the overworld depending on the time of day really adds to that. This reminds me of how other games like Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III have revised their formulas by adding some combat arena elements, albeit much less grim. We can hang our hats on a solid core experience and if the game ever adds online multiplayer, it could become even more special than its predecessors in the Supergiant family.