The State of Play Stream
Well here we are… It only took a little less than five years and four previous delays, but we finally have a release date and not even that far away on the 6th of April. Tough luck for all the people who hoped for their birthdays I guess, regardless the video contains more than simply the date, so let’s get into it. Like usual, I’ll go in chronological order as I’ve encounter things in the video.
Shrykull carpet on the door
Right in the beginning of the video we can see a carpet hanging from the Shaman’s hut which has a tribal representation of the Shrykull painted on it. One can easily spot the “fingers” of the Paramite at the back of its head, along with the characteristic pointy legs and giant mouth of the Scrab.
This screen is confusing for me, it looks like a dead end and yet Abe is coming from the right side. I wonder if this is just a vantage point that you can climb to see a bit more of the level or if we’re missing some context, because otherwise a one-way path like this would likely serve little purpose.
Gunned down Mudokons
I wonder how you are supposed to keep the Mudokons alive in this scene. I assume you have to utilize the steam vents, but here despite going full speed, multiple Mudokons still get killed.
You know, I have to wonder how they exactly sit in these chairs. Their anatomy doesn’t really seem to be built for them.
Baron looks quite surprised at the end of this scene, I have to wonder if this cutscene plays once Abe has infiltrated / wrecked havoc in Necrum.
So long, Comet
Seems like OWI too decided Comet was a too lame name for a location, especially when the original sounded way more creative so FeeCo got its rightful name back.
I believe this next area is likely BoneWerkz. While the floor is unmistakably of Slig Barracks, the boiler itself is very reminiscent of what one can find in AE’s BoneWerkz. This along with the general colorscheme makes me heavily lean towards that this is in fact BW.
Disabled Security Orb
Also on this screen one can notice a Security Orb that surprisingly gets deactivated when Abe gets close, the exact opposite of what one would expect. I wonder if this is the doing of an item, disrupting the workers or one of those vague “chi-charms” LL has talked about before.
You knew he will be there. I knew he will be there. Jokes aside I’m still wondering how he fits into the whole picture.
So apparently Sligs can now jump. I admit this whole scene looks off-puttingly silly. Abe tags a Slig with a grenade who jumps cartoonishly high then runs into a bunch of Mudokons and explodes, killing them too in the process. I suppose the goal of this over the top reaction is to signal the player that they still have to dodge the Slig before he suicide bombs him or his followers, but I really don’t like how jokey it looks. Isn’t this supposed to be the “darkest game yet?”
Admittedly this is nothing new, but I didn’t notice it until someone on Discord pointed it out to me. Said user expects that the reason why these Muds are wearing loincloths instead of a worker’s attire is because they’re part of the 300 Abe saved from RuptureFarms. I personally see no fault in this theory, so I wanted to include it in this post.
Slig Barracks panorama
We get a glimpse at Alf and Toby riding the train to the Barracks. Interestingly parts of the level can be seen from the train as evidenced by the vending machines. Another point of note is that they are still drinking brew like it’s nothing, so I assume the big revelation will come later.
Slig without tentacles?
Now call me blind if you will, but from what little we can see in this image, this Slig doesn’t seem to have his signature tentacles and it also seems to be a bit beefier than your average Slig. I wonder if these will be the equivalent of Big Bros in Soulstorm.
Instead of a dedicated button to send Mudokons to work, now you need to activate these weird chimes to order them. I find this strangely convoluted, asking Mudokons to work worked so elegantly in both Munch’s Oddysee (sentences I never thought I’d write down) and Abe’s Exoddus. Why put in an extra step?
Interestingly despite the worker Mudokons already being called away, the Tear-X-Tractors continue to work. Can you not save those Mudokons then? Are they simply part of the background? That’d be a bit awful.
The bad part…
I honestly-honestly-honestly don’t get it. We have these hand-crafted, cinema-quality cutscenes with so much detail and with even background things moving around and then in-game some things simply looks absolutely amateurish. Like OWI had an A team that only worked on the cutscenes and a much worse and/or underfunded B team that only worked on gameplay and that made the dichotomy very obvious.
These gibs too just look lazy. If you think back to the originals, every single character had their own gibs. It was a source of morbid humor as Abe’s decapitated head nearly hit the “camera.” Or how his arms flew away in an arc. Meanwhile here everyone has the same weird chunks.
Other than losing most of their pigment, Slogs seem to be back for Soulstorm.
Tying up sleeping Sligs
Abe can now tie up Sligs who are sleeping and thus non-lethally incapacitating them. I wonder if this is a permanent way of taking them out or they eventually break out. If it’s the latter, I also wonder when it’ll be worth to even bind them up as not disturbing their sleep requires no resources.
Possession saw some changes since we last saw it, including the removal of the timer. However, I still sorely miss the old design of simple, swirling, blue orbs. They were really elegant in their simplicity, while this new design keeps being compared to “Who wants to be a millionaire?” and let’s be honest, with good reason too.
Anyway, we are also presented with the fact that after the first Slig dies, you’re able to maneuver the orb into the second one taking him over too. I’m currently inclined to think, what I though were bells are in-fact “switches” you can possess to open doors, based on this quote:
Playstation.blog: Abe’s most iconic ability, his mystic power of possession will allow you to take control of your foes and use their strength and weapons against them. Possession can be used to activate locks and switches to gain entrance to restricted or hidden areas in the game.
Next we once again see everyone’s favorite shadow-fuzzles, who scamper away from the light. I’m not really interested in them right now, rather I’m wondering what the green dot on the image is. Is it perhaps a simple lever? A secret? Something very different? Can’t really tell from the dark.
We can see some Slig spawners that have infinity symbols on them. I believe this means they won’t ever deplete and you have to resort to a bloody fight or more likely simply stealth through these sections. However, what’s more interesting is that this implies to me that the Quarma won’t affect Sligs after all. Because if there are an infinite number of them, you can easily (if tediously) cheat the game and just rack up as much Postiive/Negative Quarma as you wish.
Personally I’m okay with this. I get the thematic idea of saving everyone, but it’s a bit too idealistic and it hurts gameplay.
Abe running away from a Slig
This screen has quite a few points of note so let’s go over them from left to right:
- Chill Pill poster from Munch’s Oddysee on the top left
- Vykker poster just next to it
- A TV screen showing a broadcast of something called “Slave Aid,” the rest can’t be read. The scene in the background seems to be the old B&W teaser we saw at the end of the ARG.
- A TV screen broadcasting “SNN” with OWI’s logo below it. I assume it stands for “SoulStorm News Network,” but you guess is as good as mine.
- A TV screen showing a newspaper titled “The Mudos Misinformer,” the rest of the text is too blurry to read.
- Finally on the far right, a hardly visible poster of Gum Rot from Munch’s Oddysee.
In the next shot we see a place we have already seen before, the monitor still showing a Magog on the March broadcast from Abe’s Exoddus, before the feed is quickly cut as the TV gets shot. We also get another glimpse at the mysterious orb, which is still as mysterious as it was.
Next we’re shown Soulstorm’s version of Aslik, who also seems to be receiving bad news. On the table next to him there is a can of Fizzy PoP. You gotta wonder how he drank it. The chair he’s sitting in is also a bit weird as it seems to have built in headphones. I’m surprised how dopey this character looks after the render OWI posted back in 2017, perhaps the point here is that they have two sides and one is very vulnerable.
The new Brewmaster is also shown, he too appears to be quite pissed off due to something. Note how he also has a bust of himself. I guess they’re all really vain. Another thing that got my attention was the foreboding machine in the background that seems to have a face. I wonder if that’s like the main brew producing machine or something similarly important.
Old habits die way too damn hard.
Finally we see Abe who takes a sigh of relief with a brand new chest tattoo on him. Yellow lightnings strike out of him, so I assume he is once again capable of using the Shrykull, which raises the question, what happens to the healing power Abe originally got after completing the trials? Perhaps both manifest as yellow lightnings? It’d make little sense otherwise because Abe can already do the Shrykull. I guess time will tell.
I have been asked by a few people before what I’m thinking of the game… I hoped seeing new footage would decisively shift me in one way or another, but I have to sadly say it didn’t. I like how the cutscenes look (can’t speak of the content until we actually see them in full), they seem well made, kudos there. There seem to be a lot of story threads, so I’m curious to see how they will be handled.
The gameplay though still feels like an erratic mess that’s missing the pacing and quiet of the original. It’s like Exoduss’ weird cousin who has ADHD. From what we’ve seen the game wants to be so many things in once that I fear that it won’t be any of them fully. I’m also sad to see the puzzler nature of the game more or less gone, sure you still have to make a strategy I assume, but there doesn’t seem to be as much outsmarting as outfighting or “outstealthing” them.
My biggest problem is probably the regressions the game suffered compared to AE, when this is supposed to be the “original vision” that’s exactly how it was imagined. Were the creative gibs something GT forced? Or characters not moving like they’re part of a cartoon? Or animations not clipping with attacks? Each of these is a minor thing, but they add up, especially when they are probably not terribly hard to fix.
I don’t want to see too gloomy about the whole thing, but I respect my readers enough not to lie in their face and these are my honest thoughts.