Contrast Review(Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, PC)

Posted: December 31, 2014 in Reviews
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Contrast puts you in the role of Dawn, an imaginary friend to a little girl named Didi Malenkaya, as Dawn you’ll have the ability to use the shadows to your advantage. Contrast is a puzzle adventure game that has you going in and out of shadows in order to solve the level. The story begins in Didi’s room, and it’s not long before Dawn and Didi are on the way out through the window into the 1920s Noir world of Contrast. You’ll use the shadows to find your way down off the roof and you’ll help Didi get down as well, this is a sign of things to come as the game does not have much to it.
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The linear gameplay becomes apparent from the very beginning, the game holds your hand and drags you straight to your objective quite often. When the game does open up a bit you’ll only have a small bit of room to explore, but the collectibles are mostly easy to find. The story of Contrast starts off decent, Didi’s mom Kat has child services threatening to take Didi away due to Kat being gone during the night and her father no longer around. Didi acts out by sneaking out and exploring the city with her imaginary friend, she wants to find her father so she can get him and her mom back together. It’s not long before the story and the dialogue becomes repetitive, you’ll hear Didi bring up the same events and you’ll hear a lot of the same dialogue being repeated by Didi’s mother and father.

Aside from the linear environments most of the world of Contrast is well done, the levels look great and the backgrounds look great. You’ll find luminaries that you’ll use to light specific sections, the light created will allow you to use your shadows to solve the level puzzles. Shadows are mostly simple to use, you’ll walk up to the wall, press a button and you’re now a shadow, unfortunately they can be glitchy, at times it’ll take a few tries to get it on the wall or to clear a gap. As you progress you’ll unlock more shadow abilities, you’ll be able to thrust across gaps by going from a 2D shadow to 3D and back again, thrusting forward from shadow to shadow. However, this is the most frustrating feature as it does not always work due to the controls seemingly becoming unresponsive at times, it’s a good thing the game loads quick when Dawn falls into the endless pits.

There are memories that you’ll find as you explore the linear environments, they are not hard to find and walking up to them will unlock a memory shadow. You’ll use the shadows of the memory to collect luminaries and collectibles. As mentioned before the collectibles are not hard to find at all, most take a small bit of exploring to find your way up or down to them, but the collectibles serve as part of the back story. Each collectible is a drawing, picture or an article from a newspaper, to me these were more interesting than the story itself. Because the collectibles are so easy to find it leaves very little replay value, one time through will either collect everything or be very close, you’ll be able to select sections of each chapter to collect any that you miss.
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The ending is very unsatisfactory, it feels rushed and doesn’t leave any excitement to what was already a mostly bland game. Contrast is very short, most likely you’ll be able to complete the game in about 5 hours, without any real reason to go back through. Contrast feels like it could have been so much more, larger environments, a much better story and additional content would have made this a great game, unfortunately it falls short in so many areas. One of the better features of Contrast is the voice acting, though Dawn does not talk, the rest of the characters are voiced well. The story leads on that there could be a possibility of a sequel, however they will need to do a lot to improve upon the game.

Contrast does not have enough content to justify paying full price, the game is far to linear and short, and the story is unsatisfying and ends abruptly. Contrast needs over twice the content to make it great, if you still plan on playing it, wait until it’s on sale, or free. Contrast could have been so much more, the concept of the game is great, but it just feels rushed and unfinished. If you want a puzzle adventure game you won’t be hard pressed finding a better one, Contrast is too flat and bland, in the end it’s just an overpriced arcade game.

6.5/10

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