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Kena: Bridge Of Spirits review – independent spirit

metro.co.uk
5 min read
fairly easy
The latest PlayStation exclusive is one of the best looking games on the PS5, even though it's an indie title by an inexperienced new team.
Kena: Bridge Of Spirits – the Rot are just a bit too cute (pic: Ember Labs)



The term indie game is rapidly becoming meaningless. At a basic level it just means a developer that isn't owned by another company but to the average gamer it suggests somethin made by very small teams and which probably looks like an old retro game. That hasn't been uniformly the case for a long while though, with bigger indie projects taking over the mid-budget 'AA' space that used to exist in generations past. But Kena: Bridge Of Spirits is a full-on AAA indie game, at least from a technical standpoint.

Although it's cross-gen, Kena is one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 5, with a gorgeous line in verdant landscapes and Pixar style character designs. It's absolutely not what you'd expect from an indie title and while some environments are not quite as detailed as they first seem the overall effect is highly impressive. If this becomes commonplace in the new generation then it really will be a brave new world for both games and developers.

However, as 50 years of video game history has shown, good graphics do not make a good game. Which is not to say that Kena is bad, but it is a considerably less interesting game to play than it is to look at.

This is the first game from developer Ember Lab but they do already have considerable experience with computer-generated graphics, including having made the unofficial Zelda's Mask tribute Terrible Fate some five years ago now. Graduating to making actual video games is reminiscent of the path many demo teams used to take in the 16-bit Amiga era, where they'd start off making non-interactive demos for fun and evolving that skill into making traditional games.

Many developers still going today started that way, including DICE, Housemarque, and Remedy, so Ember Lab are continuing a proud tradition. Which is the most positive way to look at Kena, a game that embraces all that the new generation of consoles can offer in terms of…
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