[NYCC 2012] Preview: The Unfinished Swan is a work of art...literally
This may make me a bad video game journalist, but I'm going to admit that until today I had not heard of nor seen any footage of The Unfinished Swan, an upcoming game exclusively for the PlayStation 3.
Set to release as a PlayStation Network title, The Unfinished Swan is a game about discovery. In this fairy-tale like adventure, you play as a boy named Monroe. Unfortunately, it was a little hard to hear at the preview event, but from what I could gather Monroe is an orphan who lost his mother, but not before she left him an unfinished painting of a swan. One night, the swan gets out of the painting and Monroe, in an attempt to hold on to the last thing he has of his mother, follows it into a fantastic world ripe for exploration. Through your journey you will not only learn about the world you are wandering through, but hopefully something about Monroe.
There is very little direction in terms of gameplay. In the beginning I was thrust into an unfinished world. I actually had no idea the game had even begun until the developer had told me; I thought it froze. From there, it was up to me to explore.
Gameplay is extremely straightforward; In first-person view, you basically uncover parts of the painting by throwing paint around the scene. Upon doing so you will reveal a beautiful, lush environment. In the beginning it starts off as a simple black and white painting, but despite its simplicity, it's truly a work of art. Uncovering part of the painting had me wondering what other details I could reveal with the paint. I soon found myself deviating from the course of finding this swan and instead exploring this lavish world.
Throughout the world, you can find hidden balloons which you can use to unlock various tools that will help you on your adventure. Although the beginning of the game required little more than just paint splattering, I was told that the game progresses in difficulty and does throw a few surprise challenges to keep things fresh.
The game varies in length, I was told, based on how you choose to play. Are you one of those who choose to rush through to the objective? Or would you rather take your time and slowly uncover what I assume becomes a marvelous painting of an intriguing world? The choice is yours in The Unfinished Swan and it's that freedom of exploration that makes it a fun play - at least in my brief demo of the game.
I went into The Unfinished Swan knowing absolutely nothing about the game and came out of the demo incredibly impressed. Outside of my hands-on time with it, I still know very little. To be honest, that's how I prefer it. To me, this is the type of game you want to discover as you play. It's reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland"; you are thrust into a new world, filled with beauty, and it's up to you to discover the many layers. Why spoil it for yourself beforehand?
For those looking for something that's beautiful and intriguing - and a break from the upcoming barrage of AAA titles - definitely check out The Unfinished Swan. It is set to release on October 23, 2012 for $14.99. For PlayStation Plus subscribers, you'll be able to get it on October 16, 2012.