Unleashing the UNKNOWN: Inside the Eerily Stunning World of Possessor(s)

To encounter a game that’s not only thrilling but one that feels like it’s speaking to the adventurer in the player – in a gaming landscape filled with highly polished, Dolby Digital but all-too-interchangeable titles – is akin to finding a gem among the dust. Possessor(s) – the latest title from the super-experimental Lone Survivor team at Heart Machine – is such a gem, an action-packed side-scroller set in a dystopian landscape of interdimensional suspense. In Possessor(s)’s dreamy neon nightmare we enter a new frontier of gameplay, narrative and visual delirium.

Unveiling the Spectacle: A Visual ODYSSEY

Even from the first short of the reveal trailer Possessor(s) looks to be a sensory onslaught of the best kind. There’s a loving attention to detail in how demons and hyper-colourful landscapes can be combined to form the overall vibe of a universe that cares about trying to make places look strange and wonderful at the same time, with a world-building framework that privileges open, dynamic environments, but sees it through 3D backgrounds and hand-painted characters written under a blooming haze of neon revealed only in a sickly VHS glow, so that every thing you see on screen is a sculptural achievement.

Quarantine and Chaos: The Heart of the METROPOLIS

At its heart, Possessor(s) is about a vast metropolis that has been quarantined by an invasion from interdimensional forces, creating a sandbox of a set-up in which there’s an openness in both the structure and the gameplay. You’re literally dropped into the arena, with crude weapons, grappling hooks and the very real imagination of your defensive capabilities. Corridors and open spaces are filled with threats, but given the promise of unlocking and upgrading an armoury as the game progresses, there’s a strategic and even empowering aspect to the fighting that is simple but effective.

Heroes Entwined by Fate: Luca and Rehm

Luca and Rehm, the two players you take control of, represent the collaborative nature of the game world, as well as the untrusting alliances that often arise. Exploring this dangerous city is not just about surviving, but also about piecing together the events that led to the downfall of the world. Every interaction with another character adds another piece to the complicated puzzle that is the city. The game’s non-linear narrative design allows for a huge amount of freedom in how you piece together the story through exploration and interaction with a large cast.

The Dance of Destruction: Combat and Visual Harmony

Possessor(s) combines its visuals with its kinetic combat in a way that seems almost easy. The structure of the gameplay implies a series of movements that flow from one to another, from one visceral melee battle to another, from one impressive leap to another, with the fluid visuals matching the gameplay so that every combat encounter, every jump, every stroke feels weighted, eliciting a response in the body such that you feel a part of the game world.

Devolver Digital & Heart Machine: A Synergistic Symphony

Published by Devolver Digital, a publisher that has openly thrown its weight behind experimental titles, Possessor(s) is poised to be an experience to be heard. The fact that Heart Machine’s title is a game co-published by Devolver is like a seal of artistry: a conquering flag planted in the cultural landscape saying to the industry at large: we’re here, we feel powerful because our game is technically beautiful, but even more because it is mechanically and conceptually rich.

Stay OPEN: Catching All The Updates

We’ll be on the lookout for when Possessor(s) is released and hope it makes an appearance during next year’s Summer Game Fest 2024. The open worlds, open narratives, open possibilities of gameplay certainly keep us anticipating.

Exploring the OPEN: The Philosophy of Possessor(s)

This ‘open’ philosophy is also less about the game designer making a world that’s available for the player to traverse, and more about designing a space that encourages a player to feel like they are free to ‘play with’, to experiment and test out, and, therefore, ultimately experience the story in ways that can differ from playthrough to playthrough. The philosophy of open contrasts with the conventions that compose the genre of side-scrolling action games. Possessor(s) is an experience, not just a game.

Just as Possessor(s) is primed to challenge everything we’ve come to expect from the action side-scroller, it’s equally ready to usher all of us into the vanguard of that future. With its captivating striking visuals, its intricate and immersive combat, and its wide-open world that we would be happy to spend hours exploring and discovering every secret bit of it, Possessor(s) stands poised to win the acclaim of gamers and critics alike. It is ready to show us all what games can aspire to – not just as a medium to provide us with awesome entertainment, but as a medium to tell some truly great stories.

Jun 08, 2024
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