Stray’s robots slums and Midtown are the best parts of the game

stray It made headlines for a lot of good reasons over the past week،or bots, nOr the platform, but how I loved each one of his little worlds.

Image of the article titled Stray & # 39;  s Little Worlds is the best part of the game

As disturbing as this sounds, the main reason I always play video games is my fantasy escape. I’m rarely bothered by rapid movement or devastating combinations of the thumbs; If given the opportunity, I would always choose to sit in my chair, relax with a cup of tea, I slowly made my way through a world born entirely of someone else’s vision.

So I worked my way through strayBarely scored platform puzzles, completed fetch missions without thinking, And reluctantly made my way through his weakest element, which was every moment The boat was on the screen.

Instead, what I loved most about the game, and what I believe to be its greatest achievement, was each of the captivating little worlds it created for us. Not entire The world – as a game divided into levels stray He does not enjoy constant greatness, for example, Breath of the wild A seemingly limitless landscape – but the walled settlements spend time at certain points throughout the game.

(Note that I will speak Here about the design of the game itself, Not any real-world inspiration I got from him).

A Cotswold Village by British artist David Winter. A Cotswold village in one of the villages of British artist David Winter

A Cotswold Village by British artist David Winter.
picture: David Winter

when I was a kid, My grandparents owned a jewelry store in a small country town. I used to hang out there a lot when I was younger, sometimes helping them, most of the time getting in their way. My grandfather was a master watch repairman, and I could spend hours meticulously watching him adjust gears and pins that were so small I couldn’t believe anyone was able to make them. MNana had a reverence for work – they sold some very expensive things! – Which might convince you that she was selling religious artifacts.

But my favorite thing about going there is checking out their stock of these small size Miniature English villages they sell. They were like small worlds in their own right, determined not only by their limitations, but by how They all felt it inside of them. I can hold them in my hand, turn them around and see them from every angle, and see how small and limited they are, but also To know every inch of them more closely than I would have liked to know an actual space.

Looking at the games I’ve played more than ever, which left the biggest impact on my tastes, it turns out I appreciate those little villages It was shown on television and screens as well. I was raised by Sierra and Lucas Arts adventure games, and you could spend hours playing it, And don’t bother solving puzzles, just roam the streets monkey island or Searching for glory Meeting people, admiring the design work, and enjoying the way each of the worlds of this game felt complete, despite the technological limitations of the time, I realized to the fullest.

These limitations may have encouraged better world design, though, because as technology has advanced, I feel the art of crafting these perfect little worlds has slowly been lost. Whether it is open worlds tearing apart walls, Or fast-moving menus that simplify player actions, the feeling of recognizing every single brick on a small street has been hurting me less and less as the years went by.

Wind Walker Island Wind Falls

Wind Walker Island Wind Falls
screenshot: nintendo

This does not mean that there were no exceptions! Wind Wicker Windfall Island, a rocky outcrop amidst a vast open sea, feels more like one of my very own little English villages than anywhere else in video games, with a handful of buildings and streets repeating within its boundaries like urban planning Ouroboros. Deus Ex’s Prague It’s a place where you really feel like living. Witcher 3 It may be vast, but its towns still seem small enough. I think people’s beautiful memories of the elderly GT games like GTA III And the Underworld It has a lot to do with its smaller range, allowing the player to get to know every back street and alley, like the soundtrack or the setting.

The slums of Stray's Slums, where the game begins

The slums of Stray’s Slums, where the game begins
screenshot: stray / kotaku

Which brings me back to stray. As you visit a number of places during the game, from sewers to prisons, you end up spending most of your time in three different robotic settlements, each part of the same larger dome city, But they were encountered as premium sites. The first, where your adventure really begins, is called the slum, and, as befits the name, it’s a small collection of apartments and improvised storefronts.

Antvillage, where if you are in a hurry you don't need to visit at all.  But who is in a hurry?

Antvillage, where if you are in a hurry you don’t need to visit at all. But who is in a hurry?
screenshot: stray / kotaku

The second, Antvillage, comes as a respite from your perilous journeys through a monster-infested sewage system, and is as much a tree house as it is a settlement. I don’t need to spend a lot of time there, but I ended up doing it anyway just so I could chat with everyone and see the sights. The third, Midtown, comes at the end of the game, which is a much larger and more developed location that looks and feels like a real, functional city.

Brilliant lighting for a downtown square

Brilliant lighting for a downtown square
screenshot: stray / kotaku

Yes, I know that each of the three functions in different ways here as an interlocutor, the way The Village has been in an RPG for decades. a A place to rest, shop, wander and meet the characters. Functionally, there is nothing revolutionary in it stray settlements at all.

The joy here comes in their craft, in their determination. While all three are part of one world – a world confined to itself, which we glimpse in the game’s finale is fascinating, The “I can see my house from here” moment – is presented to us in a way that makes her feel complete with herself. As if we were walking around a bunch of snowballs. by running stray You’ll usually circle the streets back to where you started, making you forget all about the walls that keep you trapped in this area until you’re done, convincing us that this is a real, livable space because we’ve only ever shown it what or what he is In this world, nothing saves us.

It helps that these worlds are so beautiful and so compelling that you’ll do it Want to spend time there? in the first place. Slums are a great introduction to stray The universe, including its improvisation and flexibility. Antvillage is an unexpected diversion, a hippie haven whose architecture tells as much of the story as its residents. And Midtown is now one of the best times I’ve had the favorite Video game venues.

The lighting throughout the game, but at these settings in particular, is so good that it’s almost tangible. thatDr stray While there isn’t much to say about the robotic residents, they’re still a great list of characters to look up and meet, so you can see how much character the developers have been able to pack into each of their lines, designs, and outfits.

I loved stray. I loved the cat, I loved the B-12 flight, I loved its architecture, I loved her character design. But what I remember most about the game is its perfect fulfillment of three very small worlds, which pulled me inside and made me wander its little streets for hours longer than I thought I was meant to be, enjoying every minute I spent working he-she.


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