Disclaimer: This is a spoiler free review.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits Review Summary
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a very charming game. It is one of the most beautiful games I've ever played and not once have I ever used a photo mode so much; taking over 400 screen captures. Not only that, the music and ambience is some of the most beautiful in a game I have ever seen. I only wish the combat had been less clunky and difficult to play. That being said, it was greatly my fault for having played on the highest difficulty, something I don't personally recommend to anyone playing the game for the first time.
Gameplay (Combat, & Exploration): 8.5/10
Kena: Bridge of Spirits' gameplay is mostly surrounding the two elements of combat and exploration. The final score reflects the median of both scores.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits has four difficulty modes, in which one of them is locked until finishing your first playthrough. I played my first playthrough in the highest difficulty, and I must say that I regret that decision. I believe anyone playing Kena: Bridge of Spirits should do so in medium or easy difficulties, because the game truly excels when played more as a relaxing game. Furthermore, the mechanics of the game don't give enough depth to play it at the higher difficulties comfortably.
That being said, the rating I give combat reflects ignoring the mishap, due to the fact that it was my own mistake.
Aside from the difficulty, the game's combat can be a bit clunky at times. However, there is a nice variety of enemies that have different ways to beat and very unique mechanics like "Rot courage" make this game unlike others in its combat.
After having defeated the enemies and cleared away some or most of the corruption, you can enter this form of free exploration in which it feels there are collectibles to be found at every corner. This isn't in a bad way, either; it makes exploration feel rewarding instead of convoluted. None of the collectibles (Which, if you want to 100% the game, are a total of 4 different categories) felt ridiculously difficult to find and were mostly just keeping a keen eye as to where you've been and what you've found where.
These collectibles range from useful to just purely cosmetic, which I personally adored. Nothing in the game felt punishing, and it was very much a nice experience. This game can get compared to the Zelda franchise but I'd say that's a mistake. I'd associate it more to exploration games with a side of combat. And I say that with excitement. Kena: Bridge of Spirits excels in this.
If it wasn't to look where to turn a rock to find a Rot, or to find a little cosmetic hat for my furry buddies, then it was me looking around flabbergasted at the absolute beauty of the game.
Under no circumstance would I say that Kena: Bridge of Spirits' story is lacking. It is a sweet story about passing, following Kena, a character that doesn't really say much but I fell absolutely in love with because of the expressions. What she doesn't say, you can hear loud and clear in the way she was animated. And that reflects greatly on what Ember Lab did with Kena: Bridge of Spirits. It feels like a cinematic experience through and through. The story is absolutely perfect for the type of game Kena: Bridge of Spirits is, it compliments nicely with the aesthetics, environment and gameplay and I wouldn't expect more of it.
Ambience (Graphics, Audio & Music): 10/10
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is astonishingly beautiful. The music, a beautiful theme plays in the back of areas with a nice flute and a beautiful language that I believe to be made up, very akin to NieR: Automata, but more light hearted.
The way the god rays were used makes an absolutely beautiful graphical game. Although it is not the most realistic graphically, its cartoony aesthetics are easily, without contest, my favorite game visually.
And not to forget the absolutely beautiful cinematics. If you want to get a glimpse of what the cinematics look like in Kena: Bridge of Spirits, look no further than the cinematic created by them named "Majora's Mask - Terrible Fate". You can clearly see the attention to detail placed on every single cinematic, and Kena: Bridge of Spirits' cinematics look very akin to the original one I saw almost upon release. It was an amazing experience.
Note: The verdict score is taken from the median of all the scores given.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a cinematic experience. Beautiful graphics made me get lost and immersed in a world inspired by seemingly Celtic-Japanese lore.
You can see a lot of the inspiration drawn from Majora's Mask, with masks being a common theme throughout the game. And, if you count the theory of the stages of grief on Majora's Mask as lore, there is similarity there too.
But do not be confused by the inspiration drawn from Zelda, this is not a Zelda game, and is more akin to a beautiful exploration/collectathon game with some combat aspects. There are no dungeons and barely any puzzles, and comparing one to the other is comparing apples and oranges.
That being said, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a wonderful game, and one I personally adored. I was enamored with the graphics, the characters. Even the weaker parts of the game, such as the combat can be great, you just have to cut some slack to the uncomfortable controls at times. I would definitely recommend Kena: Bridge of Spirits as one of the most beautiful games that I have ever had the pleasure of getting lost in.
My completion time: 26 hours
Keep in mind: This is an honorary category that I add because I love achievement hunting but does not impact the overall score of the game.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits' achievement hunting is a simple and straight-forward task.
Most of the achievements on the Epic Games store are completion oriented. Kena: Bridge of Spirits has a very collect-a-thon feel to it with all of the things hidden at every corner and the achievements reflect this; it truly made hunting these achievements rather easy, because it was an absolute joy running around looking for every collectible, and very few felt extremely difficult to look for. Just a tip, look up a lot!