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Fez Review (XBox 360)

/ May 30th, 2012 No Comments

Fez

Fez (XBox 360) Review

Fez (XBox 360) Review

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Polytron Corporation’s latest creation Fez for XBox 360. From a constant stream of time delays (started in 2007…launched in 2012. You do the math.) to controversial statements made by Polytron’s head honcho Phil Fish in regards to the state of the gaming industry in Japan, Fez has had its fair share of media attention for better or for worse. Regardless, we can tell you without a doubt that the overall quality and execution of this game is anything but controversial.

Fez takes you into the pixilated world of the charming Gomez, a lovable character who quickly learns that his 2D world is not all what it seems. After an encounter with a mysterious artifact known as the Hexahedron, Gomez is granted a fez hat that enables him to perceive his 2D world in a third dimension. Shortly thereafter, the Hexahedron is cast into a state of peril, and Gomez must use his new knowledge of the third dimension to traverse his ever-expanding galaxy in search of 64 pieces of cubes and anti-cubes in order to restore peace and tranquility to his world. What ensues is an adventure of gaming nostalgia laced with mesmerizing landscapes and mind-boggling puzzles.

GAMEPLAY

Fez XBLA

Fez XBLA

To best describe gameplay in Fez, imagine if you will, Super Mario Brothers and a Rubix Cube have a wild night in Cabo together filled with partying and cheap booze. Fez would most certainly be the magnificent end result of such an unconventional one night stand. This ingenious approach to the platform genre pushes the boundaries of perception and level design to the lengths of which I have yet to experience. (And yes…I never got around to playing Super Paper Mario. Sue me.) The player is able to rotate Gomez’s world in any direction unveiling the true depth of each map, yet the crux of the gameplay holds true to traditional 2D platform rules. This gives way to a brilliant dynamic in regards to how the player must think in 3D and manipulate each level in order to progress through what would normally be impassable obstacles. And even though this may seem like an over-complicated and ludicrous premise, the design team over at Polytron did a beautiful job in making it all almost intuitive for any avid gamer.

Please do not be dissuaded into thinking this game is not for you if you do not consider yourself amongst the hardcore gaming elite. A big aspect of the brilliance of Fez is that there is something here for everyone. Even for the most casual of gamer, Fez is a light-hearted, comfortable platform that can be enjoyed at a casual pace, and it can be completed for the most part with just collecting all of the 32 normal cube pieces. And what’s that you say over there, oh dominator of all things videogame-related? Just breezing through a casual platform game is not enough for you? OK conqueror of noobs…try your luck at the anti-cube pieces and we guarantee even that will have you questioning your skills as a masterful gamer. The mysterious puzzles and almost completely abstract riddles you must solve in order to collect every cube piece is enough to keep your mind continually boggled and its problem-solving skills will be pushed to their absolute limits.

SOUND & GRAPHICS

Fez

Fez

One of the most appealing and endearing aspects of this game is the homage it pays to the early years of gaming. Set to be reminiscent of the video games of yore, Fez’s graphics resemble those of the early pixel-laden adventures from the classic 8 to 16 bit platform genre. The art team over at Polytron made the wait for Fez worth the while as the environments and color schemes of each level are a feast for the optical senses, replete with cheery atmosphere and, true to the theme of the 80’s, a bouquet of neon-vibrant hues. Each level of Fez is paired with an equally nostalgic soundtrack that utilizes the lost art of the synthesizer. And staying true to form, the musical compositions add that extra bit of nostalgia which can whisk a gamer back to an age where you spent most of your time sitting indian-style in front of the family room television hoping your in-home console didn’t freeze up at a pinnacle moment in the action.

CONTROLS

Here is the aspect of Fez that we first ran into problems with. At the start, it almost seemed as if the controls were a little unresponsive and sluggish. Perhaps my inundation of current game titles has ramped up my sensitivity to game control, but it just seemed like your character was running on an ice block, or stuck on a level where the player must battle against the in-game physics of a constant light breeze. However, after about an hour into the game, it quickly became apparent that the pacing and responsiveness of Gomez was absolutely intentional. In relation to the level design and traversing of the environment, the controls are a perfect complement to how the whole game comes together as a complete and consistent gaming experience.

OVERALL

We really can’t say enough good things about this game. As a junkie hooked to the world of fast paced first-person shooters, Fez was a much needed massage for the proverbial “knots” acquired through the years of abrasive and sometime intrusive nature of online gaming. The relaxed and playful nature of Fez immediately stripped our programmed intuition to compete and master all aspects of a game merely to ensure utter dominance. With endless lives available to the player (seriously…you can’t die!), it gives you the breathing room to sit back, relax, and enjoy the finer aspects of an incredibly well-made videogame.

Overall Ratings – Fez (XBox 360)

Gameplay:

10/10

Graphics:

9/10

Sound:

10/10

Presentation:

10/10

OVERALL SCORE:

98%

Editor's Choice Award

Tommy Blashaw

Tommy Blashaw

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Tommy B. has over 23 years of gaming experience and has been apart of the evolution of gaming since he could pick up an Atari joystick. He has watched gaming trends come and go and has joined GI in order to accurately depict the latest happenings in the world of gaming with one goal in mind: Tell it like it is.
Tommy Blashaw

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