'The Pathless' Review - Let Spirit Vision Guide You to Restore the Light

7 - PS5

Giant Squid (the team behind ABZÛ) has created a breathtakingly stunning adventure that takes a hunter and her trusty eagle on a quest through a lush, mythical forest in The Pathless. Journey through a vast land that continues to take you higher and higher as you try to rid the land of a cursed plague of darkness.

As the hunter, you are a natural born and skilled archer. You take to the surrounding lands by leaping and bounding speedily as you take aim at various talismans scattered throughout. The world within The Pathless seems so sprawling, you will think it never ends. To cover more distance, traversing with speed is key. Aiming at the talismans is natural as squeezing the R trigger. To keep you limber, Giant Squid has made it so you don't have to worry about the precise timing of lining up sights. The talisman closest to you will automatically be the focus of your aim. Keeping your Dash Meter filled is essential in helping you gain ground in exploration.

'The Pathless' PS5 Hunter Eagle
The bow and your eagle will be two tools to use to your advantage as you take flight in "The Pathless." Giant Squid Studios

Your other tool to utilize for traversal is your trusty eagle. Relying on your strong bond will take you to new heights. The eagle helps you glide as well as flap higher to reach levels and structures just out of reach. Reaching higher levels is the best way to decide where to venture next. Be sure to keep your eagle clean, and give him a good brushing from time to time, especially after you've had a run in with one of the game's large monsters. If your eagle takes too much cinder and flame damage, it'll be unable to lift you into the air. For the most part, you know when it's time to give him a bath. After doing this process more than once, you will dream of seeing a different animation sequence for this effect.

The controls of the game are pretty basic and intuitive. It's very easy to get from various points and to search around for which path to take next. Between flying and taking aim, your only other concerns are using Spirit Vision to see where there are secret entrances and treasures hiding away.

Utilize these tools appropriately, because one thing that separates The Pathless from other sprawling adventure games is that there is NO MAP. No map at all to help guide you or inform where you have been prior. You are truly on your own. That's why having your eagle take you as high as you can get while using the Spirit Vision will show you where to go. At first, the presence of no map seemed very intimidating and daunting. Someone show us where to go, please. But then you learn to rely on these tried and true methods. Basically, if you see an object glowing yellow, expect a reward after some puzzle solving. If you spot an ancient structure glowing red, you'll be sure to find a much-needed talisman used to cleanse the land. If you see a gigantic, flowing red mass, be sure to get as far away from that as possible. It's worth it to go out of your way to avoid.

The Pathless PS5 ancient structures
Investigate ancient structures to discover talismans used in defeating the darkness throughout "The Pathless." Giant Squid Studios

Many secrets lie in wait throughout the various plateaus and mountains. Collecting the yellow crystals and filling up the meter below will add an additional "flap" for your eagle to take you even higher while soaring. Simple puzzles such as shooting bells or igniting a fire will reward you with more crystals.

Larger and more complex puzzles within crumbled structures will give you the talismans that you really need to collect in order to complete the levels. The majority of these rely on having to line up a series of targets all in a row so your arrow can shoot through them in succession, thus unlocking your prize. These tend to get pretty redundant over time, but with each new land adds a layer in unlocking to keep it fresh, such as needing to send your arrow through a lit torch to hit a frozen target to melt it prior to unlocking.

The Pathless PS5 Red Storm looms
When the Red Storm looms in "The Pathless," its best to avoid at all costs and save yourself some yellow crystals. Giant Squid Studios

The giant Red Storm that moves around each level is actually a cursed spirit that you must defeat. This mass will come after you in hopes of taking your eagle away. If they succeed, then they will also deplete you of some of your precious yellow crystals, ensuring that you will not recover all of them. When being attacked, stay out of the light of the spirit's eye. Best techniques here are just to stay still until the creature passes, or be sure to have a nice tree trunk to provide a shadow to hide in. Getting close enough to save your eagle can be a little confusing at times with how far away it actually lies. If you do escape, be sure to immediately dust off your buddy.

After you collect enough talismans, each land will have three massive obelisks that you will need to cleanse from their evil. Once restored to their natural state, and all three connect their "light," the cursed spirits are now vulnerable for you to take down. It's best to avoid any fire being hurled your way and you aim and shoot to keep that dash meter filled consistently. Getting hit by fire or running through some molten lava will set you back substantially and catching up can take more time then actually defeating the creature when you get close enough. Stick to one side first taking out the targets before moving to the other side. Trying to go back and forth will set you back for sure. After taking them out on the run, prepare for a much more intense battle with each spirit offering up its own variety in attacks.

The Pathless PS5 stalking a spirit
Stay out of sight from cursed spirits if you want to rescue your eagle pal in "The Pathless." Giant Squid Studios

These boss battles are the most intense portion of the game by far. You really start to look forward to them considering the rest of the game is pretty peaceful for the most part. These scenes really stand out and let you know something bad is about to happen as the colors strikingly change to a harsh, bright red.

Once defeated, the land can return to its natural beauty, and this game is a gorgeous one. The art style is pleasing on the eyes with its contrasting color palettes that really do a great job in setting the overall tone. The lands are filled with flowing blades of grass, rushing waters, snow covered crests and so much more to discover. The characters themselves are simple enough but also convey great strength in presence. As you float through the air, the game creates a plethora of views that seem endless at times.

The Pathless provides a sprawling land with a simple enough control scheme that anybody can pick up and play right away. Lush visuals with pleasant audio that may find you quite relaxed at times. We're about half way through the game at five hours of play so to complete the entire story is assumed to be around 10 hours of play. This of course depends on how many crystals and talismans you chose to hunt down in your journey and what other treasure you decide to uncover. However, most of these puzzles become a time filler as you try to get to the highlight of the game, which is defeating the cursed spirits. Your eagle is a great friend though.

The Pathless is available digitally November 12 for Playstation 5, Playstation 4, PC and Apple Arcade. The European Playstation 5 release will be on November 19. There will also be two physical copies available including The Day One Edition which is available for pre-order at worldwide retailers, and the iam8bit Exclusive Edition.