After Us Preview – The Beauty of Hope
Much of humanity often takes the wonder of nature for granted as we continue to deteriorate the quality of the planet’s climate and ecosystem. With the toxic relationship we have with Mother Earth, there’s no doubt we’ll likely see the degradation of many environments and species. But what if there’s a chance to restore and save life on Earth? In After Us, we get the opportunity to salvage the planet in a remarkable fashion.
You play as Gaia, the Spirit of Life, and you’re tasked with restoring the spirit of the world back to a semblance of its former self. To do this, you must traverse the beautifully abstract environments and reclaim the missing souls of extinct wildlife. These landscapes are full of symbolic imagery to indicate the deterioration of natural life, such as floating discolored vehicles or desolate architecture. While platforming through these areas, you come upon various hazards, obstacles, and even enemies to stop you on your path to global recovery.
The controls felt smooth and engaging, allowing me to glide and sprint with ease. I had plenty of fun exploring these environments and gazing at the world. After you collect a certain amount of souls, you can revive certain creatures and slowly work your way to completion. Despite the awe I experienced as I stared at the gorgeous backdrops, the breathtaking visuals don’t stop there. Certain game mechanics brought me utter joy, such as a burst of energy that temporarily surrounds you with grass, removing any of the harmful oil spills. I loved this power as there are areas where these bursts revitalize the surrounding wildlife and sprout trees and fauna.
The soundtrack complements the comforting gameplay, aptly switching between soothing, mellow tones to grand, emotional crescendos. There were moments of utter peace and admiration as I let the music wash over my mind, easing me into the atmosphere. There’s a theme to be grasped, and the overarching tools used to invoke such an emotional impact are there with some zest.
After Us seems to embrace the coziness with its lovely atmosphere while also maintaining a sense of consequentialism with an adventure, a good contrast is built between the dark and gloomy potential of the world versus the hope that you can build into it. With the addition of gorgeous graphics and stellar animation, After Us skillfully crafts and spreads the message of achievable hope and optimism for the state of the world.
After Us is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam on May 23, 2023.
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