Gris is an indie platform adventure game developed by a small team in Nomada Studio, in Spain. That’s the technical description of Gris, but this videogame encapsulates much more than what a technical description can say. This Devolver Digital published title is reminiscent of experiences like Journey or Abzu. Thus, the creativity and uniqueness of this title are worthy of the praise it received when it first launched in other platforms. Now, the time for PS4 has come. Although, is it a better experience on PS4? Does it fair well in contrast to its counterparts on PC and Nintendo Switch? Let’s figure this all out in our Gris review!
The monochrome of speechlessness
The narrative in Gris is not a complex one when you look at its surface. Just like in games of the category of Journey, understanding the goal is easy. It is the road taken that truly adds to the experience. The story begins with Gris, a girl who wakes up in the hand of a giant broken sculpture of a woman. There, she tries to speak just to find out she has no voice. The statue succumbs and the girl falls into a greyish world that has lost its color. The premise is simple, you need to go through several areas and recover colors to make the world vibrant again.
Even when the objective is simple, the experience is much more enlightening and heartfelt. Namely, Gris speaks volumes about hard situations in life. It talks about grief, loss, sadness, and overall melancholy. In addition, the game utilizes its color palette and style to better transmit these vibes. Mechanically, it is simple and the gameplay is easy to grasp. As you progress in the story, you gain new abilities that keep gameplay entertaining. The platform elements are very polished. Furthermore, the level design matches the quality of its art. Although, some stages can be a little confusing. Still, it is nothing that will serve as a detriment to the overall experience. Gris is a short experience. Granted that, a complete playthrough can take anywhere from three and a half to five hours.
At a technical level, Gris runs at 4K in PS4 and fairs pretty well in comparison to its PC counterpart. There are no noticeable frame rate drops. As well, the bump in resolution does make it crisper than it is on Nintendo Switch.
The very first thing that will strike you about Gris is how gorgeous it is. Specifically, its watercolor art style is an incredible feat. Not only does it perfectly create a unique and mesmerizing world, but also it manages to transmit a lot of the narrative of the game. The lead artist, Conrad Roset, did a magnificent job in creating the art that makes up the world in Gris. The idea of lose is thoroughly revisited through the art direction of the game. The feeling of melancholy is accentuated with the lack of color. As well, the chromatic transition as you progress, suits the several stages of grief very well.
Gris builds up slowly and steadily. Each of the stages adds more puzzles and depth to the narrative. There is a set road, yes, but the imagery and music across this game speak differently to each player. In other words, it intends to be a personal conversation with each player. Gris aims to evoke as many feelings as possible from those who embark on its journey. And, in this task, it succeeds completely. Playing this title often feels like an introspective review of a pivotal, life-changing moment in someone’s life. In some sense, that is what makes it so powerful and relatable. There’s no story, there’s no guidance. Yet, there is this lingering and familiar feeling that permeates throughout your whole playthrough.
Gris is a must-play experience. It is a compelling example of videogames as an art form. The whole exercise of adding color to its broken world is almost therapeutical. Although some level’s design could use some added structure, you can’t stop but wonder what awaits in the next area. This is a short experience that is best served as a one sitting adventure. The clash of an ethereal soundtrack with a stunningly visual watercolor style makes this game an unparalleled experience from beginning to end. Even when Gris is not perfect, its culmination leaves a fulfilling lasting impact, that, as of today, is one of my personal favorite gaming moments of this generation.
Release Date: November 26, 2019
No. of Players: 1 Player
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Nomada Studio
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
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