The Unfinished Swan Review

Mike Kayatta

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Aug 2, 2011
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The Unfinished Swan Review

A short but brilliant exercise in broadening perception, and utilizing simplicity.

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Penguinplayer

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Mar 31, 2009
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Why does every artistic game must be short?

It was like that with Flower, Journey, Datura and now The Unfinished Swan. I wonder if it's like that with Papo & Yo too, but I haven't played it yet.
 

Avaholic03

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Penguinplayer said:
Why does every artistic game must be short?

It was like that with Flower, Journey, Datura and now The Unfinished Swan. I wonder if it's like that with Papo & Yo too, but I haven't played it yet.
Probably has to do with time and budget constraints. Some random indie developer might not want to spend years and potentially millions of dollars on what is basically a proof of concept for some new gameplay mechanic or concept. Get the idea out the door first, and if it's a hit them maybe you expand on it in a sequel or DLC or something.
 

WanderingFool

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No the problem with this game, to me, is that there is only one playthrough possible. After that, it looses the charm from the sound of it. Its why I like games with multiplayer or the ability to playthrough multiple times. This is something I could not see myself playing money for.
 

Erttheking

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Ah, good to hear that there are plenty of good artistic games out there, I can't want to

"PS3 Exclusive"

...ah poop. First Infamous, then Journey and now this? Why do so many good games have to be on a console I don't own?
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Penguinplayer said:
Why does every artistic game must be short?

It was like that with Flower, Journey, Datura and now The Unfinished Swan. I wonder if it's like that with Papo & Yo too, but I haven't played it yet.
Many AAA games would be considered artistic - or at least more powerful - if they didn't pad their gameplay to reach arbitrary time goals to make the experience "worth" buying. Shorter is often better when you're trying to deliver a very specific emotional resonance with a game, or craft a very particular experience.

It's also true that most so-called "artistic" games are made by smaller devs that just plain don't have the resources for a 20 hour game.
 

Metalrocks

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and again a game not available for the pc or even other platforms. journey is also a game i would have loved to play but cant.
 

Scars Unseen

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May 7, 2009
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And here I thought this was a review about a game called "Swan" that was so bad you couldn't finish it.
 

Fiz_The_Toaster

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Sweet!

I was really hoping this game would be good since I was a little worried about how it would actually play because of how minimalistic it looks.

I'm perfectly okay playing a short game like this. There's no need for a game to overstay it's welcome if it's trying to do something different, and it's probably why I love Journey so much.
 

BehattedWanderer

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Jun 24, 2009
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Hey, does anyone have a price point on this? $9.99? $14.99? I'm away from my PS3 for a bit, and I want to know how far off it'll be before I can play this.
 

Mike Kayatta

Minister of Secrets
Aug 2, 2011
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erttheking said:
Ah, good to hear that there are plenty of good artistic games out there, I can't want to

"PS3 Exclusive"

...ah poop. First Infamous, then Journey and now this? Why do so many good games have to be on a console I don't own?
Yeah, its almost like you made the wrong decision.

Susan Arendt said:
Penguinplayer said:
Why does every artistic game must be short?

It was like that with Flower, Journey, Datura and now The Unfinished Swan. I wonder if it's like that with Papo & Yo too, but I haven't played it yet.
Many AAA games would be considered artistic - or at least more powerful - if they didn't pad their gameplay to reach arbitrary time goals to make the experience "worth" buying. Shorter is often better when you're trying to deliver a very specific emotional resonance with a game, or craft a very particular experience.

It's also true that most so-called "artistic" games are made by smaller devs that just plain don't have the resources for a 20 hour game.
Plus, there's the simple fact that you cannot spend that lengthy a period of time in one sustained mood. The sense of wonder and amazement at the world around you works for a couple of hours, but after a while a person craves emotional variety in their experience - a joke, a scare, rage, sorrow, or a anything other than wonder.

Team Ico are basically the only people I can think of who can sustain that sense of awe and wonder for slightly longer, and even then their games are on the short side - Ico was famously about 4 hours long.
 

Erttheking

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Foolproof said:
erttheking said:
Ah, good to hear that there are plenty of good artistic games out there, I can't want to

"PS3 Exclusive"

...ah poop. First Infamous, then Journey and now this? Why do so many good games have to be on a console I don't own?
Yeah, its almost like you made the wrong decision.
Dude, don't open that can of worms. Seriously, it won't end well.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Foolproof said:
Susan Arendt said:
Penguinplayer said:
Why does every artistic game must be short?

It was like that with Flower, Journey, Datura and now The Unfinished Swan. I wonder if it's like that with Papo & Yo too, but I haven't played it yet.
Many AAA games would be considered artistic - or at least more powerful - if they didn't pad their gameplay to reach arbitrary time goals to make the experience "worth" buying. Shorter is often better when you're trying to deliver a very specific emotional resonance with a game, or craft a very particular experience.

It's also true that most so-called "artistic" games are made by smaller devs that just plain don't have the resources for a 20 hour game.
Plus, there's the simple fact that you cannot spend that lengthy a period of time in one sustained mood. The sense of wonder and amazement at the world around you works for a couple of hours, but after a while a person craves emotional variety in their experience - a joke, a scare, rage, sorrow, or a anything other than wonder.

Team Ico are basically the only people I can think of who can sustain that sense of awe and wonder for slightly longer, and even then their games are on the short side - Ico was famously about 4 hours long.
Very well said. That's a great way to explain it - games like Flower, Journey, and Unfinished Swan are all incredible experiences, but they're really just one mood, and various inflections of that mood. That's what makes them so powerful, but also necessarily short.
 

DrunkOnEstus

In the name of Harman...
May 11, 2012
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Oh man am I INCREDIBLY excited about this. Looks to continue the tradition of Sony downloadable games based solely on mood and atmosphere. Doesn't bother me that it's short, I've only played Journey once as I feel its a game that requires a specific mindset and I don't regret the 15 bucks one bit. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes the indie explosion so important to me, complete experimentation with what this medium can offer us. I can't wait.
 

Alexnader

$20 For Steve
May 18, 2009
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Got to play this early at the EB expo, if I had a PS3 I'd totally buy this...

I'm starting to say that more and more now, hmm.
 

Skeleon

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Nov 2, 2007
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Looks very interesting but... honestly... also rather tedious.
Then again, Mike Kayatta said there was enough variation. I suppose if they mix it up enough...
Also, PS3 exclusive means I'm disqualified anyway.
 

sunami88

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Jun 23, 2008
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Can't wait for the Steam release (assuming there will be one). I've been waiting for this game to come out, and was pretty disappointed when it was a PS3 exclusive...

Guess I'll just have to wait.