Playing Afterimage reminded me of my first time playing Hollow Knight. With its glistening scenery, beautiful combat design, and clever exploration mechanics. This Metroidvania equally has captured our attention in numerous ways and nobody should bypass the opportunity to play it. While some are busy venturing through the best Castlevania games time and time again, you could broaden your horizons even further by giving this game a chance to take your heart. Afterimage has a sparkling diamond underneath its veil.
Afterimage Impresses With Gameplay and Story
Starting off the game strong, it was clear to see that I would be spending as long as possible could within the world that was provided. When a game captures your attention right from the start, you know there’s something special underneath the surface. The visuals were striking and the core of the game is set around our protagonist Renee. Blessed with the Gift of the Gods and Ifree, who acts as a character like Paimon from Genshin Impact, they both have excellent likeability attached.
Before we get any access to the gameplay, there is an introduction to the world and some of the lore surrounding it. Another element that keeps me thinking about the game is the hidden lore that hasn’t been revealed as of yet — scattered items in the world that reveal more of the story by reading them in your inventory. Exploration is a key part of the title and in true Metroidvania fashion, some areas are locked off until you have grown your abilities even further, or more namely your Afterimage.
The combat itself excels at allowing player flexibility from the get-go. You will have to get your bearings in the demo until you reached some of the other areas to gather weapons from chests hidden out of the way. You can even have two swords equipped at a time each activated by a different button/key.
However, something that might have been nice to have at the start would be a way to avoid enemy attacks without running away, staggering, or jumping over them, but the difficulty of the game is balanced and well thought out. This, in turn, gives a deeper challenge so it does make sense why there isn’t a way to do this from the start.
Furthermore, Talent points can be unlocked and these can be used to upgrade various skills and abilities to level up elements such as max health, max MP, and more. There is a large web of these talents to unlock so it gives the player a lot of choices to implement.
Stunning World Building and Boss Fights
Music plays a vital element in conveying the sensory factors of every world that we make our way through as players. Afterimage has a staggering array of stunning music that keeps us hooked to each area, whether exploring castle-like ruins and caves or running along blissful rolling hills of meadow side grass, there is always an opportunity to listen to gorgeous music. Going hand in hand with the sound design, we have the overall graphical aesthetic which succeeds in every sense of the word. It is very difficult to pick apart what could be altered about the visuals as they are truly well-fitting and greatly designed.
Whenever you are exploring certain areas, you will no doubt run into certain enemies that take you by surprise and quickly obliterate you. This is when — in Dark Souls fashion — you will be taken back to a save point area. However, you may also choose to go back and gather the experience you gained in your previous character life. This is a brilliant mechanic which fits in perfectly with the genre and the bosses that you run into ensure you are making use of that mechanic a lot.
The boss combat design feels like a dance as you memorize their patterns and movements. This leads to exciting boss fights which you will practice for and gain even more talent points to prepare for. Even the normal enemies have a great design in terms of combat and overall vibe and style.
Impactful Character and Enemy Design
The characters that we came across while playing through the demo were all interesting and unique to one another. It made me want to learn and know more about each one. From a hooded figure that appeared to us at one point or simply just the main characters. Knowledge flows from every aspect of the story and I want a deeper insight into all of that when the game is released.
Notably, the enemies that I encountered had me wanting to learn even more about each of them thanks to how they captured our attention. All the while experiencing the different areas on offer. One of the most interesting enemy types were little stone stump-like creatures that run around with a bush on top of their heads and sprint headlong into Renee. Slicing them down with a sword while holding them back was something that was quite humorous but it definitely made me realize how special the game actually is.
All in all, Afterimage is going to be an experience that you will want to keep on your radar before its release. The game is a brilliant title that has us wanting to play more of it at this very moment and find out if the entire experience matches up to the brilliant time we had with this demo. If you enjoyed titles such as Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, you will love this game too.
Afterimage is scheduled for release on April 25, 2023, for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
- This article was updated on February 10th, 2023