The latest trick from the Abzû makers

In the gaming world, Annapurna Interactive has recently developed into the ideal starting point for insider tips: In recent years, the US publisher – whose self-proclaimed goal is to produce games that are "personal, emotional and original" – has had many brought small indie gems onto the market, including What Remains of Edith Finch, Outer Wilds or the PC version of the magical Journey.

The latest prank from West Hollywood is now called The Pathless (buy now € 48.73 ), was released on November 12th for PC, PS4 and Playstation 5 and fits seamlessly into the style of the titles mentioned above. In the second work of Giant Squid Studios, the creative minds behind the underwater adventure Abzû, there is a lot that has also distinguished Journey and Co.: a dreamy graphic style, a mystical story and an open game world into which Bring back color and life.

You slip into the role of the so-called huntress, a young woman who sets out as the last glimmer of hope of mankind to explore an ancient island on the edge of the world. In this magical place, where the realms of the living and the dead intersect, lies the source of a curse that threatens all life – and which you must of course stop. Sounds epic, but starts off quite unspectacular at first: You land on the beach in your small boat, hop onto the mainland and first familiarize yourself with the surroundings and the game mechanics.







If you hold down the R2 button, the Slayer will target nearby talismans. The longer you aim, the safer the shot will be.



If you hold down the R2 button, the Slayer will target nearby talismans. The longer you aim, the safer the shot will be.

Source: PC Games




When it comes to locomotion, The Pathless relies on a rather unusual system: With the help of her bow, your protagonist can shoot down talismans scattered around the game world. These in turn fill her ghost display with which she can sprint. Since both actions are on the shoulder buttons, they can be quickly combined with one another. In addition, you don't have to aim at each talisman individually, with one press of the R2 button you automatically take the closest target into the crosshairs and shoot it. The Slayer doesn't shy away from jumping into the dirt and sliding across the floor in the best Vanquish fashion.

This mix of jumping, sprinting and sledding quickly becomes second nature. It just feels natural to run fluidly across the forest floor at a mad pace. Your repertoire of movements will be expanded as soon as you stumble upon a small eagle that will accompany you for the rest of the adventure. With your feathered friend you can sail longer distances, catapult you into windy heights with a few powerful wing beats and thus conquer the air.






If you hang on to your eagle, you can sail through the air for a while.



If you hang on to your eagle, you can sail through the air for a while.

Source: PC Games




The eagle is not only an aid, but also a loyal companion. In a world that apart from a few bunnies, deer or other wild animals seems almost empty and lifeless, he is the emotional anchor – like the horse in Shadow of the Colossus or your partner in the multiplayer mode in Journey. In the course of the adventure, there is even an intimate bond with the bird of prey, because the developers understand how to let you grow fond of it through caresses and other interactions.







The game world of The Pathless is really beautiful to look at, optically offers a lot of variety and lots of secrets to discover.



The game world of The Pathless is really beautiful to look at, optically offers a lot of variety and lots of secrets to discover.

Source: PC Games




There are also more than enough opportunities to bond, as exploring the open world takes some time. In return, however, it has a lot to offer you: the island is picturesquely designed, awaits you with varied biomes – such as steppes, prairies and tundras – and is full of interesting details such as huge animal skeletons or crumbling remains of human culture. The only reason to complain is perhaps a little bit the size of the game world: Especially towards the end you are occupied with crossing it for several minutes alone, and The Pathless almost feels like work – also because of the cumbersome orientation. Because there is no card.

That fits in well with the overall picture, the adventure is generally very mysterious, explains little and usually remains rather vague in terms of story. However, it is sometimes a bit detrimental to the fun of the game if you get completely lost on the island. The only possibility for orientation is the ghost view, with which exciting objects, secret passages or important places are highlighted. If you follow a blue shimmer, you will come across ancient stone tablets on which you can understand the cart a little, or the mortal remains of fallen comrades, whose last thoughts and feelings you can read.






In the puzzles you usually have to use a bow and arrow. Sometimes you shoot torches, sometimes you shoot metal rings.



In the puzzles you usually have to use a bow and arrow. Sometimes you shoot torches, sometimes you shoot metal rings.

Source: PC Games




With a bow and arrow on a puzzle tour

In addition, little dexterity tasks and puzzles await you everywhere, for example racing against a flock of butterflies or puzzles in which you have to arrange symbols correctly. But most of the challenges have something to do with your bow: Either you light up torches with fire arrows or you direct your projectiles through rings. This simple concept is later extended by elements such as switches, mirrors or rails, on which you can move objects back and forth. The head nuts are never overly complicated. They can be resolved within a few minutes at the latest with hints hidden in the area. This prevents unnecessary frustration. Only the rewards for exploring don't feel so satisfying at some point. Most of the time you will find crystals to fill a progress bar. This unlocks additional wing beats. This helps when overcoming high obstacles, but whether you can shoot your eagle six or ten times into the air at the end of the day doesn't make much difference.

The light stones are more exciting. With these you can "heal" towers and thus drive the darkness away from the island. If you do this three times per area, you will unlock a fight against a cursed boss opponent in which you have to access everything that you have learned so far. In multi-phase battles you evade attacks, fire at enemy weak spots at the right moment and sometimes even have to master small hopping and sneaking passages to bring the colossi to their knees.






The boss fights in The Pathless are really impressive.



The boss fights in The Pathless are really impressive.

Source: PC Games




An experience for eyes and ears

Of course, that stinks against the complexity of a Demon's Souls remake, especially since there is no classic game over either. Anyone who is hit only loses part of the crystals they have collected. That is very gracious. After all, the staging of the battles is really successful: When you knock down a seven-headed hydra in a coliseum that is on fire, that's an impressive picture – also thanks to the atmospheric soundtrack. Composer Austin Wintory interweaves African, European and Asian sounds into a harmonious carpet of music, which is pointedly underlined by Mongolian undertone singing in the style of The Hu. Goosebumps guaranteed!

Speaking of audio: while the chic cutscenes are set to music in a fantasy language, the German subtitles unfortunately don't always cut a good figure. Here and there you will find typos or bizarre blunders in the translation. The command to let go, in English "release", was translated in The Pathless as something like release. Otherwise, the adventure runs technically flawlessly, both on PC and consoles. On the PS5, you can choose between 4K and 30 frames or 1080p and 60 frames. Unfortunately, the chance to use the adaptive triggers of the Dualsense in archery was missed. The PS4 version also loads some objects and textures in the background that are clearly visible. That shouldn't detract from the coherent overall impression.

Great staging
Successful world and character design
Atmospheric soundtrack
Smooth, fun locomotion
Spectacular boss fights
Tricky puzzles
Open game world with a lot to discover
Mystical story
Lower level of difficulty
Incorrect subtitles
Partly difficult orientation

If Journey, Abzû, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus had a child, it would be The Pathless.

The Pathless in the test. (Source: Giant Squid)

Also popular with PC games readers & lt; strong & gt; Games Aktuell podcast: & lt; / strong & gt; PS5 launch, Demon's Souls and The Pathless "src =" https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/237x133/2020/04/PODCAST_GAMESAKTUELL_neutral_01-pc-games-buffed_b2teaser_169.png

Games Current Podcast 640: Demon's Souls, The Pathless

In episode 640, Maci talks to his guests about the big PS5 launch, the successful remake of Demon's Souls and the insider tip The Pathless. Have fun! Keyart by The Pathless "src =" https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/237x133/2020/03/thepathless_keyart_Preview-buffed_b2teaser_169.jpgPcPS5PS4

The Pathless: Preview of the new game by the Abzu makers

In our preview you can read what there was to see about the action adventure Pathless at PAX East.

(*) We have marked affiliate links with an asterisk. We receive a small commission for a purchase via our link and can thus partially finance the free website with this income. There are no costs for the user.