Among the rich videogame offer of 2021, the arrival of Kena: Bridge of Spirits it was certainly one of the most anticipated. This mysterious video game was shown for the first time in the summer of 2020 and with a short but exhaustive trailer, it managed in a very short time to conquer the curiosity of fans, including ours. After the announcement of the postponement of the release date, all in all bearable, the magic of Kena and her world is finally available. But the terrifying double blade of the Hype hung on Kena from the start and gamers’ expectations could be higher than the chances of Ember Lab, the animation and digital content studio making its debut in the gaming world. Let’s find out how our experience with Kena went in this review.
Our review of Kena: Bridge of Spirits
In this action / adventure video game, we will take on the role of Kena, a young girl Spiritual guide. Spirit Guides are tasked with helping the souls of the dead make the journey to the afterlife. When a spirit remains anchored in the world of the living, its nature is altered corrupting yourself and bringing suffering around him. Kena’s journey to discover the responsibilities of the Spirit Guides will take her to a ghostly village, inhabited only by a few characters and by great suffering. Here, Kena will meet two nice children, also spirits, and another Spiritual Guide who will reveal to him that the corruption that afflicts that area was born from one wandering spirit and it is up to her to help him.
From here begins a series of adventures for Kena (and for us) through an enchanting world, made up of green areas, fascinating woods but also areas corrupted by evil, dangerous places and enemies to defeat. In this chaos, Kena will discover deeper and deeper what it means to be a Spiritual Guide and that dealing with spirits is anything but simple. However, she will be able to recognize her power and that of the world around her, a world more alive than ever.
A story made of magic, sweetness and discovery but also a lot of melancholy, for the life that no longer exists and for what it could have been.
What do you do in Kena?
One of the questions i gameplay initials failed to satisfy (rightly), it is “what is to be done in this game? ”. As anticipated, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a video game by adventure e action and the gameplay is split in two distinct modalities. We have one exploration phase during which we will move Kena within the world divided into large areas. Despite the size, we are not talking about an Open World. The areas are very guided and the chances of deviating from the predetermined path are minimal. We will often have the feeling of walking into a corridor to get to the next area and the next goal. Despite this, the feeling of suffocation is almost canceled out due to the great mobility of the protagonist.
Kena can run, jump, roll, cling to ledges, glide at great speed, swim, and more. Elements of this type make exploration sessions more than interesting and will become more and more interesting with Kena’s new powers and abilities. The latter will also serve you during combat phases. This is typically limited sessions in a certain area in which to eliminate the enemies and then continue. These are also accompanied by a series of Bosses and mini-bosses that make the game anything but simple. To defend herself, Kena has at her disposal a powerful stick that has remained in her family for generations and with which she can attack with light or heavy blows. The set of moves will be enriched more and more thanks to a very simple and reduced Skill Tree, but with interesting moves and skills. Kena also possesses an exhaustible energy shield that can protect her from attacks, reveal hidden areas or activate particular contraptions.
To support the exploration and the fighting there are also the sweet ones Rot, nice mystical creatures attracted by the energy of Kena. It will in fact be able to give orders to the Rot in the style of Pikmin to make him move objects, neutralize corrupted areas, increase his power or block enemies for a set period. The help of the Rots will be essential and we will learn to master them and their energy in no time.
Kena has everything we need
Staying on the “Gameplay” theme, Kena is a very simple, clear and straightforward game. It does not want to introduce particular mechanics or revolutionary techniques, but uses those key elements of adventure and video games with great originality more classic platformers. In Kena we find a little bit of Jack & Daxter, some ideas taken from Legend of Zelda and a touch of Ratchet & Clank here and there creating an infallible mix. In fact, also in Kena we find sequences with puzzles to solve or mechanisms to activate, everything always very intuitive and relatively simple to carry out but that still manages to give the player a certain satisfaction.
We also find some small elements of the RPGs such as the aforementioned skill tree that we can enhance thanks to a particular currency that we will find around the map and above all, thanks to the Rot. The amount of cute little black fluff will in fact determine which skills to unlock and we will have to explore the map well to find as many as possible. They will always appear at Kena’s feet or in the setting and we will always have the pleasure of having them with us.
To these mechanics are added others, always very classic, but no less ininteresting. We will have the opportunity to archery or use powerful ones energy bombs, we will find scattered around the map chests with precious resources, areas in which to meditate and increase our maximum energy, Enchanted flowers in which to use a grappling hook and so on. All elements already seen but which Kena presents to us with a style of her own and particularly pleasing to the eye.
Kena’s magic lies in her style
The unique and particular style di Kena really makes it a special video game. Ember Lab, the software house behind its development has always been characterized by a design and style of its own animations particularly original and of excellent quality. In Kena these characteristics are brought to exasperation by revealing themselves a real pleasure for occhi. An explosion of colors, animations, light and shadow effects and so on and so forth, characterize Kena: Bridge of Spirits from start to finish. Several times we felt we were inside a Disney animated film of excellent quality but with all the soul and spirit (pass us the term) of Ember Lab. In line with the graphic quality, we also find an always excellent sound and a cinematic dubbing that manages to give body and soul to the various characters .
In terms of performance, Kena: Bridge of Spirits features two game modes your PlayStation 5: Performance, with 60fps and 4K upscalates, e Fidelity which blocks the frame rate a 30fps in cambio di 4K nativi. We tested both modes but the graphics and fluidity were excellent in both versions. Of course, we strongly recommend using a 4K TV to get the most out of the fantastic colors.
In the approximately 10-12 hours it took to complete the game (not 100%, sorry!), We never encountered any serious bugs.
The review of Kena: Bridge of Spirits in a nutshell
At this point in the Kena review, one must ask: Did Kena meet our expectations?
No doubt some players will be disappointed by the lack of innovations in the game, but an original storyline, unparalleled fluidity and a never-before-seen and intriguing world will balance the discontent. And it is precisely these characteristics that are able to make us forget the small graphic glitches, the lack of movement of the grass and the repetitiveness of certain actions and fights. Who would ever mind these details when your heart is pampered by the incredible world of Kena: Bridge of Spirits?