I was torn on whether or not to renew my PlayStation Plus subscription because it has been a while since I’d picked up my good ole dualshock 4 controller. Well, May 31st came around and it was my last chance to get Abzu for free so I decided to pull the trigger and renew. Was it worth it? Read below to find out! (Spoilers ahead)
Abzu has been called “underwater Journey” because of the simplistic graphics and speechless storytelling that is based heavily on inference. You start as a diver that is just exploring the ocean. You can find nests, little robots to help you get through doors, and a couple other things. As you get deeper you run into some very basic puzzle solving but the part where this game REALLY shines is the beauty of the ocean, the scale of the sea, and the ocean life models. You travel through a bunch of different environments and see all kinds of life. You can interact with a few by riding them but you get most of your interaction through “meditating”. The diver sits on a giant statue of a manfish or fishman and is able to see what each creature is called by cycling through them.
The game isn’t long so it doesn’t take too much time for things to really begin picking up. You start to find portals that allow you to release animals into the sea and move on to the next area. After finding a few of those and going on an amazing ride with whales, you reach the depths of the ocean where you find dinosaur like fish and ancient technology shaped like triangles. Along the way, you are following a great white shark and I was pretty unsure of whether or not it was going to kill me. You end up saving it after it gets too close to a piece of the ancient technology and gets exploded on. You then attempt to avoid a sea of triangles and find out inside of a giant triangle that you are a robot with some kind of power inside of you. After finding the final portal, you use that power to unleash the spirit of the shark which helps you to destroy the ancient technology and restore the coral stalks and ocean to their former glory.
Sound confusing? It really is. Honestly, you should just go along for the ride and like I said before, appreciate the beauty of a game they have created. It’s a short game and I didn’t really care about the story necessarily but they built enough intrigue and interesting concepts to keep me going. It was fun to see all the different fish they have modeled and although compared to Journey, I think that it has less going on. It has an ending that gives you a similar “epic” feeling though and it was worth playing through for sure. Overall, I give Abzu a 4 of out 5 sea cows.