Home > Chronological Challenge > Chronological Challenge – Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

Chronological Challenge – Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

November 25, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

And now here is the second review of the day, where I look at a game I have a lot more history with…

…although I talked about a lot of that in another post, so I can’t do it here. Oh well.

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

Publisher: GT Interactive | Developer: Oddworld Inhabitants | Released: September 1997
Original System: PlayStation
Played on: PS3 (original PS1 disc)

Goal: Attempt to get as far as possible in a single sitting without dying

Actual Outcome: Made it through the Paramonian Temple before needing to turn the game off

I touched on my opinion of this game when I reviewed New ‘n’ Tasty a while back. I discovered Oddworld through the packaged demo disc that came with my original PlayStation, and found it fascinating as a kid, and knew I wanted to play the full game. And it swiftly became one of my favourite PS1 games of all time.

Having recently played the HD remake of this, it was interesting to return to the original Abe’s Oddysee and see how it compares. And while the HD remake has smoother presentation and a more forgiving save system, the original is still a fantastic game in its own right.

Gameplay-wise, this is a tricky puzzle platformer that relies heavily on trial-and-error gameplay. Puzzles usually end up taking multiple attempts to fully proceed past, but rarely does the game make you feel completely stuck. The trial-and-error element is less a case of the game throwing unexpected things at you and more a case of the game encouraging you to play around to see what works in a given situation, and I approve.

For the most part, it all flows nicely, but once you have to move at any kind of speed, things get a little more frustrating. The game is very precise about jumps and where you need to stand for certain things to activate, and sometimes being chased by a ferocious beast leads to unnecessary deaths because you weren’t quite as precise as the game would have liked. The fact that the game’s screens are often very small doesn’t help much either.

Funnily enough, the remake fixed this problem with an analog control scheme, but then made puzzles that require slow precision more frustrating, so the original and remake are polar opposites on the frustrating bits.

There are two things where Abe’s Oddysee really falls down, however. The game’s checkpoint system is awkward and often sees you being forced to repeat large chunks of gameplay if you die, which was fixed in the sequel and remake with a Quicksave feature. Also fixed in later instalments was the ability to talk to multiple Mudokons at once, which is notably absent here, and often results in you tediously backtracking through a single area several times to save all your friends.

Presentation is still very nice. Abe and his friends are still as likeable as ever, while the music offers excellent ambient noise (although sometimes cues up weirdly). The graphics are where the game shows its age though. The pre-rendered backdrops that were so impressive in 1997 now look grainy and character models are noticeably more jagged when played on a HD TV. But the effects are still nice and the blend between in-engine and pre-rendered bits is quite nice.

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee remains a good game, albeit one that is showing its age a little today, and that can be potentially off-putting to gamers used to much faster experiences.

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