Pine it is a title with excellent conditions, but half-successful, as we will see in the course of review. The player plays the role of Hue, a boy who, following a traumatic event told in the introductory part of the game, will have to get away from his people to explore the island of Albamare in search of a place to refound his village. Apparently the gameplay it looks like that of a normal open world action role-playing game with strong references to the Zelda series, in particular to Breath of the Wild, but also to the latest Fables. In reality it is much more multifaceted and original than it seems, even if its peculiarities do not emerge immediately.
Albamare is a lively place, inhabited by five factions fighting each other for essential resources for survival. Soon Hue will come into contact with them and will have to start understanding the simple economic mechanisms and social networks that regulate them, choosing which side to be on (you can ally with a maximum of two of the five factions) and exploiting these alliances to substantially obtain such influence as to allow its people to move without any danger. All this translates into an apparently well-concocted mixture of third-person action, gathering resources, with related crafting, and managing relations with factions.
The problem is that some aspects of the game are too simplified, so much so that they are a bit forced in some passages. For example, factional relationships are only healed in a handful of ways: by trading, donating resources, and doing or not doing certain things (going to sacred areas, killing resource collectors, and so on).
As we mentioned, the Albamare factions, which are positioned on the map randomly at the beginning of each campaign, they behave in a dynamic way, so much so that they collide with each other and expand according to the resources they manage to find. Here the role of Hue becomes fundamental because his gifts are not simply used to increase the friendship of a faction towards him, but are actively used by the same to increase the well-being of its inhabitants and strengthen buildings and equipment. In all this, the player unfortunately spends a lot of time going around the game world to collect objects and kill some enemies, carrying out the not too interesting main missions. Every now and then you get some new crafting project, or some new piece of equipment, but that's it.
In short, to get to the best part of the game, the one in which the factions provide us with troops to leave for the extermination of rivals, you have to work hard and carry out a series of fairly repetitive actions, made such also by the narrative side, decidedly subdued and characterized by an overall mediocre writing.
The whole thing isn't quite as suffocating as it might seem, but it's more superficial than it should be. The excellent initial premises are therefore somewhat thwarted by game dynamics, which leave a strong aftertaste of incompleteness in the mouth.
Combat and graphics
If in general the mechanics of Pine are considered as successful, but very superficial, the one that doesn't work very well is the combat system. Hue can carry weak and strong attacks with his weapon, he can push opponents away, he can dodge their blows and he can execute combo lethal. If you want, it also has ranged weapons, very useful on some occasions, which add a bit more variety to the clashes. Too bad for the delays in the execution of the orders that are given and for the slipperiness of the shots, which frequently do no damage even if they have clearly hit the mark. It must also be said that the clashes are all very similar from the beginning to the end of the game, probably due to the need of the developers not to complicate their lives too much with the animations of the different clans (always a title made by seven people we are talking about ).
The result, however, does not change: fighting is often a nuisance, so much so that you avoid doing it whenever you can. Puzzles also have a similar problem: on paper they serve to make the gameplay more varied, but in most cases they are trivial and definitely far from the glories of the aforementioned Zelda series. There are gears to activate, platforms to reach, switches to press with the throwing weapon, and so on. Something is missing that may not be, but at least it seems memorable.
From technical point of view, on the other hand, Pine is well done, especially on a graphic level where, however, the inspiration for the series ... let's see ... the one with the character often dressed in green, ah yes, Zelda (we had never mentioned her, right?) , it is clear. There is some uncertainty in the general fluidity, which for a title certainly not very heavy can be a problem, but Albamare, its biomes and the creatures that populate it are overall well made, although not really inspired. The characters are less impactful, all clumsy in design and with few variations.
In short, to want to be bad too stylistically Pine has the same flaw as the other game elements: it is a well-done homework, but with nothing that goes beyond what it should. We are therefore faced with a relaxing experience with some original elements, but which cannot remain in the memory for long and which offers more dead moments than necessary. It's not bad, but there is much better around.
CommentDigital Delivery Steam, Nintendo eShop Price 20,99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Throughout its duration, just over 20 hours, Pine always seems ready to take flight, but never succeeding. It's not a hideous title, but it's one full of good ideas half-concreted. The exploration part works, but it never gets terribly interesting, the puzzles never get really interesting, and the relationships with the factions are all too schematic. The essence is that everything works as it should, but without ever being able to amaze. It's not bad, but it's a negligible experience.
- The diplomatic system is interesting
- You fight, you gather resources, you create objects, everything works as it should
- The final part is the best
- The combat system is inaccurate
- It all works, yes, but in a very superficial way
- From a narrative point of view, it leaves something to be desired