In Greak, you have to take on the role of not one, not two, but three characters at once. You will have to coordinate your actions on your own, without cooperation with live players. This is our review of Greak: Memories of Azure on PC.
In the adventure genre, controlling multiple characters at the same time isn’t exactly a unique idea, but it’s pretty rare. We are talking, of course, about games designed for one person. One of the most memorable projects of this kind in recent years is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, in which the minimalism of the game mechanics made it possible to harmoniously implement such a “single co-op”. Greak: Memories of Azur tries to make you play a full-fledged platformer with several different characters at the same time.
Once the land of Azura was inhabited by the peaceful people of “kurins”. But one day the kingdom was attacked by warlike “urlags”, and peace came to an end. Kourins are brave and strong-willed guys, although you can’t tell by their appearance right away. They valiantly defended their lands, but the enemy’s forces were too great. Our story begins towards the end of the war. The Urlags are about to win, and the kurins’ last hope is to take the sacred “kraib” stones and go to distant lands to build a new home.
We begin the game of Greak. There is no higher mission on his shoulder, he just wants to find his sister and brother and go away from the war. The first hour we have to spend in splendid isolation. The brave kourin brandishes a sword, without any techniques or combos, rolls away from enemy attacks, and occasionally jumps and pulls levers. In the foreground, not the gameplay, but a fabulous atmosphere and wonderful art.
The characters are deliberately simplified, with a characteristic bold outline, the environment, on the other hand, is multi-layered and rich in detail. Greak has a little more fabulousness and good old animation.
Although the game has additional tasks and locations, locked, for the time being, the passage has a strict sequence, and there is no point in returning to the places you have already completed. Unless the plot will lead there again…
The gameplay becomes intriguing as soon as Grick finds his sister Adara. From this moment, the main feature of Memories of Azur appears – the need to coordinate the work of several characters at the same time. Each of them has unique features. The Greak is fast and agile, and his modest size allows him to squeeze through narrow burrows. Adara, in turn, shoots magic projectiles, knows how to levitate, and keeps well underwater. In the last third of the passage, Raidel’s older brother, a tough warrior equipped with a shield and a harpoon pistol, joins the adventure.
Greak is obviously inspired by the ancient The Lost Vikings. To overcome any obstacle, the entire group must do their bit. The authors approached the design of the puzzles with imagination. Each location has not only stylistic themes but also gameplay. Somewhere you will have to actively swim and alternately pull the levers in different places of the level, in others to melt ice barriers with fire, and so on.
While you control one hero, others remain where you left them. Moreover, in principle, it can even be at different levels. The authors tried to add convenience to the process, but this is not that it succeeded.
Solving riddles by “joint” efforts is interesting, and minor inconveniences do not interfere at all. The puzzles for the second half of the game get tricky and take at least a couple of minutes to think. Opportunities are simply not enough, so you do not fight with opponents, but with controls, even in synchronized action mode.
The easiest way is to first clear the area alone, and then call the others to you. The tactics are great for most of the playthrough, except for a few moments and one boss. In these episodes, you’ll be shown the wonders of playing the piano, with lightning-fast switching back and forth. There are no variations in the battles themselves. Each character has only a couple of moves, and no joint attacks are provided.
This is where the good news ends and the many problems begin. Let’s start with management. The simplest part that couldn’t be spoiled: switching between characters using the D-pad. In addition to it, there are two more buttons to control the characters. If the section with platforms begins, then it is better to overtake the heroes one at a time. Brothers, senior and junior, know how to do a double jump, but the sister soars instead. And because of such a difference, overcoming the abyss often ends in a mess: who reaches the desired platform, and who dives into the lake below.
The second problem is inventory. The fact is that each of the trinity has its own small bag for supplies, and if you need to transfer a potion, you will have to come and throw an object under the feet of the desired character. There is little room in the pockets, and the game makes no distinction between plot items and side items. If you have come a long way for the gear, and there is nowhere to put it, these are your problems. Selling valuable junk in the store is also poorly done. Choose: either speak with the seller for each character or unload all the loot for one hero.
Third problem! Saves in the game
This is how the system is familiar: we record our progress with special stones. But the ambush is that there are no control points in the game. Generally. You saved on the previous location, made your way to the new one, but unsuccessfully flew into the swarm with bees? Then we repeat all the way again from the stone. The same applies to all dialogue clips. If not preserved after them, then look and read again.
Just in case, I’ll clarify: Game Over occurs when any of the characters die.
Moving on to the next problem: bosses. Meanwhile, battles with ordinary opponents are not particularly difficult. Unlike many 2D games, here, for the collision of opponents, damage is not inflicted, so we pile up in a crowd and stumble, not allowing the enemy to recover. This will not work with bosses. The battles with them are performed as if they were made for one hero, and not for three. Running in crowds in battles is awkward, especially when it comes to jumping. You can fly in with one character and hide all the others in the corner, but there is no guarantee that they will not be hit by a projectile. Let me remind you: none of the characters can be lost.
When solving problems, you can stand up and let go, but battles require you to wake up your inner Starcraft grandmaster.
And what do we have in the end?
I don’t want to call the game bad, solving puzzles with the help of three characters is interesting. But here you can find a bunch of strange decisions: bad inventory, save system, lack of a map, boss battles as if they were taken from another game. And the plot, for that matter, turned out to be absolutely faded. But when you manage to forget about the shortcomings, you get an entertaining platformer with a variety of tasks, and even with a pleasant visual style.
Our review of Greak on PC was completed thanks to a code provided by PR.