mariussmit's The Path (PC) review

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Art, trapped inside a game

I picked up The Path after being intrigued by its description on Steam. My impressions were that the game would play out like an interactive version of the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. Such a description is true in some senses but The Path diverges from gaming conventions in a manner that makes it different from any other game I've played before.
The Path is so different from other games because it tries hard NOT to be a game. Standard gaming conventions such as story progression, puzzles, enemies, obstacles, or a risk-reward system are either not present or inverted. If you set out to play The Path like other games you will be told that you've failed and rightfully so. The Path is a game meant to be experienced rather than played.
Technically the game is not especially proficient with adequate graphics and limited sound. The artistic component of the presentation is excellent however. The use of graphical artifacts and color create the impression that the player is experiencing a dark dream. This is further complimented by the music and (limited) sound to create a genuine sense of dread and  psychological fear.
There is something mind-bending about The Path that gives me the idea that many of its concepts will form part of the future of games. Once graphics are photo realistic, motion controls are perfected, and virtual reality has come and gone I believe the mainstream will delve into concepts already present in The Path. Those concepts being that it is more a case of the game playing with your mind, than your mind playing the game.
From a more cynical point of view however the game can and should be criticized for its lack of interactivity. Whilst the representation is very innovative, the game does not fully take advantage of the interactive nature of games, although doing so in such a warped take on gaming conventions would be difficult to do. One cannot help but wonder though whether The Path would've done better as an art exhibition than a game.
To conclude I recommend The Path to those interested in the nature and future of games or just art in general. Those who prefer to click something until it dies should stay well clear of this one however.

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