Find out why Sable is more than just a good looker…
Check out our review of Sable, a brand new open world adventure and one of the most hotly anticipated games of recent years.
But with a captivating art style and a lot of hype behind it, does it live up to expectations? Watch on to find out.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS and welcome to our review of Sable, a brand new open world adventure from developers Shedworks. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before you play, and don’t forget to subscribe for more on all things gaming every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it…
There aren’t many games releasing this year that have enjoyed as much hype and expectation as Sable. After initially being announced at the PC Gaming Show in 2018, fans have been eagerly awaiting what looked to be decidedly unique.
You play as the titular Sable, a young girl living in a strange world, who must leave her nomadic clan for a coming of age ceremony known as the Gliding. This involves searching for a mask that will represent and define your place in society, and will see you hit a sea of dunes on a mighty cool hover bike.
But with an unusual premise and a drop dead gorgeous art style, does it play well and is it worth the wait? Watch on to find out…
One of the most interesting and in my opinion best parts of Sable is its original take on narrative. Even the most open ended game tends to have a broad story arch, but not so much here. Instead, your experience will consist of several smaller missions that you can choose to do in any order, and that’ll eventually blend together into the path you forge yourself.
But if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself wanting to spend as much time as possible in this magical world. The desert planet of Midden may appear barren and dead at first, but scratch the surface and you’ll find it teeming with life, as well as characters to interact with who will offer you information, tasks and quests. It’s through this contextual exposition that the world and story blossoms, and by taking in everything at a pace that suits you it’s impossible not to get absorbed.
I mentioned that you get a pretty cool hover bike to help you navigate the dunes, but perhaps that’s underselling it, as it becomes one of the most important characters in the game. Named Simone, it’s full of personality that can develop alongside yours, as you upgrade it both technically and cosmetically to fit your style. A lot of comparison is being made between Sable and Breath of the Wild, and it’s easy to see the similarities between Simone and Epona.
Navigating on foot is also a lot of fun, as just like Link you can pretty much explore any area, no matter how high or low. Sable has a stamina meter that can be upgraded over time, allowing you to scale most vertical obstacles. It all augments the feeling of exploration that’s at the core of the overall experience, and it helps that the controls are as tight as we could hope too.p
So that’s a very light touch on the world and story, but what about gameplay? You might be surprised to hear that Sable is devoid of combat, with the challenge instead coming from an assortment of engaging puzzles you have to tackle. This isn’t a title for someone looking for an ‘all guns blazing’ romp, and by removing combat entirely it really helps to bring the puzzles and atmosphere to the forefront.
And fortunately for a nitwit like me, none of the puzzles are particularly challenging, providing a good sweet spot between difficulty and accessibility. Like I said, nothing in Sable is strictly mandatory, but completing puzzles will help you to earn rewards and evolve Sable into the person you want her to be, so there’s definite value in seeking them out.
Then we get to the art style. It’s no exaggeration when I say Sable is one of the most visually stunning games I’ve ever played. Inspired by the likes of Studio Ghibli and Moebius, each moment of the game could be captured, thrust upon the wall of an art gallery and no one would bat an eyelid. It’s a real work of art and a true feat for the eyes, all complimented by a mesmerising score from Japanese Breakfast. I’ve been watching back gameplay as I type this just to enjoy it all over again.
As we get into the last parts of 2021, people will start to consider their ‘best of the year’ lists, and everytime I think I’ve got the video game category nailed down, a game like Sable comes along and throws everything up in the air. It won’t be for everyone; it’s a slower, more serene experience than what you might be expecting, but for those who can appreciate that style of game, I can’t think of a better, more gorgeous title. I’m certain Sable will be considered a cult classic for many years to come.
But what did you think of Sable? Please let me know in the comments below, I love reading your thoughts. And while you’re there, please consider subscribing for more video game content every week, or visit upsidedownshark.com to find out more about everything we’ve got going on.
But until then my name is Tom, this has been UDS and we’ll see you next time.