By Jared Cyhowski / June 16th, 2013
Contrast is a title currently in development for the PlayStation 4. Both Richard and myself wanted to try out the PS4’s new controller, and Contrast gave us that opportunity. I can’t fully speak on behalf of Richard, but I believe he and I left the demo with similar impressions.
In the demo you play as a stage artist of some sort, or at least you play as a woman dressed as one. The game is decked out with dark lighting and plays on shadows fairly often. Contrast reminded both myself and Richard of Lost in Shadow for the Wii, but in my opinion this really wasn’t a bad thing. I skipped the story cutscenes as they were quite long, and my goal in playing the demo was to really get a feel for the game’s mechanics. It turns out that Contrast is actually a platformer that has some puzzles to solve, and it features a good sense of art direction all around.
The character you play as has the ability to find a shadow on the wall and then merge into it. Then you’re able to jump from shadow to shadow to progress through the level. You can collect balls of light to power certain objects in the game, of which they may in turn create a new shadow for you to jump on and use to progress. For example, one location had me power up a merry-go-round where the horses’ shadows would be cast on a wall. I needed to jump on each shadow as they moved, but it all felt a bit clunky. At this point the demo introduced a new mechanic where I needed to jump as a shadow, turn back into a physical person, and then turn into a shadow again. It was nothing groundbreaking and it looked all right, but I couldn’t find that hook or “wow” moment to really impress me.
While playing the demo for Contrast I was able to use Sony’s new console for the first time. The graphics weren’t very different from a PlayStation 3, but then again it’s a very early title in development. The lighting showed a very nice effort, though it’s one of the key elements in the game. The controller for the PlayStation 4 is nice and has a familiar feel to the PlayStation 3’s controller, but it is indeed different. The analog sticks aren’t rounded on the top like they are on the PS3, and this time they are concave. The shoulder buttons seem to be more compact, especially when it comes to L2 and R2, but I can’t tell if this is an improvement or not as I’m not too picky when it comes to controllers. While the face buttons have been altered it seems to be for the better; they feel a bit more sturdy. The only new feature that’s certainly different is the center touch and click button. I don’t know if clicking the button with your left thumb produces the same result as clicking with your right (clicking the same button but in different places), but I’m sure some developers will use it to their advantage. My only criticism for this touch pad is it felt a bit loose. I would want my PlayStation 4 controller to feature a button that has a more solid click, but maybe I’m being a bit too picky.
Contrast will be arriving in Q4 2013 on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and PC.
contrastE3E3 2013PlayStation 4PS4