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Review

In The Pathless you'll be transported to a mystical island full of silent secrets hidden in ancient ruins. You play as a huntress who, armed with a bow and arrow, wants to lift the dark curse that shrouds the island in darkness. You will be assisted by an eagle. You will find the animal companion, friend, and helper shortly after the game start...

The Pathless

  • Greg Burn
  • May 31, 2021

In The Pathless you'll be transported to a mystical island full of silent secrets hidden in ancient ruins. You play as a huntress who, armed with a bow and arrow, wants to lift the dark curse that shrouds the island in darkness. You will be assisted by an eagle. You will find the animal companion, friend, and helper shortly after the game starts.

The idiosyncratic gameplay of The Pathless is quickly noticeable. The huntress can move elegantly and quickly through the open game world. There are artifacts everywhere, which play an important role in the gameplay. As you move along, you can always aim with the bow and shoot these artifacts to keep your speed up. A bar shows how much stamina is left before you are slowed down if you don't shoot artifacts. Aiming mostly works smoothly, resulting in fluid gameplay. Only rarely does it not want to work out as desired. If you do miss a target, it's not a problem, since there are numerous artifacts available that can be used again after a few seconds.

The huntress cuts a particularly good figure in the air. The eagle plays an important role in moving through the game world. You can hang onto it to glide through the air and reach higher places. The movements of the huntress look elegant and impressive. This rather unusual gameplay alone is fun.

The Pathless also differs from typical mainstream games in other ways. You'll gradually uncover the island's history by exploring it, finding remnants of the past in ancient ruins that paint a clearer picture in small scraps. To access the ruins or uncover their secrets, you'll often have to solve puzzles. These master the balancing act between simple and challenging. The eagle is often used, which can lift objects and place them on pressure platforms, for example. The puzzles are still manageable in the later gameplay and get by with few elements, and yet the solution is often not immediately apparent. At the same time, they are not too difficult or frustrating. Of course, this is also very much dependent on one's feelings.

Some sneaky interludes provide for variety. There are threatening-looking areas that you have to get to. Creatures patrol these areas and track you down with their glowing beam. So you have to move through the shadows and pause as soon as the light reaches you. If you manage to get to the eagle in this way, the area is cleared. These red storms move through the game world, so they can also surprise you if you stay in one place for a while.

A contrast to these moments is the boss fights that await you at the end of some game sections. The boss fights aren't overly complex, but they are well-staged. First, you'll have to get as close as possible to a boss in a chase to be able to hit the weak points with your bow. Once you have managed to shoot an arrow into all of them, the second part of the boss fight starts in a kind of arena. Here you have to dodge attacks and go over to the attack at the right moment.

Throw together boss fights, sneak parts, puzzles, and moving around the mysterious game world and you have an interesting mix that keeps the player well entertained. None of the mechanics are insanely complex, which is why you can enjoy the adventure, which lasts about ten hours, calmly and without any moments of frustration. You can subtract or add a few hours to the playing time, depending on your play style. Perfectionists can expect about 15 hours. If you only play the story, you can expect about seven hours.

The soundtrack by composer Austin Wintory also contributes decisively to the great atmosphere of the game. A good choice that rounds off the game experience. Depending on the situation, the soundtrack accompanies the huntress's journey with powerful or calm tones.

The game's graphics don't max out the power of the new PlayStation 5, but they have their charm. On the PlayStation 5, The Pathless runs at a smooth 60fps. The game world is well-staged and scores especially well when playing with light and shadow. Regrettably, there is no photo mode. The picturesque and at the same time gloomy game world would certainly result in great pictures in combination with the acrobatic skills of the huntress. Of course, you can take them without a photo mode, but one would be the icing on the cake and would make it easier to capture the game's more action-packed moments in shots.

To enjoy the game, you should be able to get involved with the idiosyncratic gameplay and not expect a game that constantly confronts you with tasks and collectibles. The game world is large, but not huge. Places like the numerous ruins are far enough apart to enjoy fast movement in between. There is enough to do to fill two or three evenings with it, but no flood of puzzles, objects, and such that would drag out the game to squeeze out a few more hours here and there. The Pathless tells its story and leaves you room to explore its world.

Conclusion:
With The Pathless, you can expect an idiosyncratic and entertaining adventure. The game offers a good mix of relaxed gameplay, without being undemanding. It's easily accessible and not difficult, but it's not a walking simulator either. It's ideal for diving into a mythical world after a long day, whose exploration isn't frustrating.

The Pathless creates an atmosphere that captivates. Calm puzzles alternate with fast exploration gameplay and boss fights. Musically, the adventure is accompanied by Austin Wintory. Sometimes powerful sounds grab your attention, other times calm and partly melancholic pieces.

The game refrains from taking you too firmly by the hand and offers opportunities to explore the world. Thus, the unusual gameplay comes into its own. To find joy in it, you shouldn't make a point of encountering an exclamation point at every turn. Although the game offers relatively fast gameplay, the game experience is relaxed, since the difficulty level is very moderate.

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