Hands On With Pyre

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This past weekend at PAX West I had the opportunity to check out the latest game from the creators of Bastion and Transistor.

In Pyre, you control a team of three characters as they’re tasked with extinguishing the pyre of the opposing team. A seemingly simple task during the tutorial, I found that the game was trickier than it seems once I started to get into it.

In order to extinguish the enemies pyre, you need to be in possession of the lone celestial orb that appears on the play field. However, it’s not as simple as just grabbing it and running as you have to avoid the auras and spells of the other team members. You can also pass the orb among the three characters to help keep it in your possession if you’re about to be banished. In addition to simply coming into contact with an aura, you can also cast spells towards the other team members in order to banish them. Banishing an opponent will remove them for a field- but only for a limited amount of time. This allows you to clear the field, but in order to take advantage of the situation you need to act fast, before that enemy respawns.

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After successfully dodging the other team and carrying the orb to their pyre, you’ll take away some of its health- the amount of which depends on the character that you reach the pyre with. The three characters each have pros and cons. The smallest character can run faster, which makes it easier to get to the pyre, however it will only pull out 1 unit of health from it. Meanwhile, the larger enemy, moves slower, but will take 3 units of health from the enemy pyre.

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This 3 on 3 game, known as the Rites, is at the core of Pyre, however there are several other elements. The journey in Pyre has you and your three companions traveling to the different locations to participate in the Rites. As you make your way to each new location, your wagon will use up fuel. After each movement, you can make camp and choose what you would like to do. While I played, I was given three options to select from: I could forage for resources, study the book of rites to gain new knowledge, or mentor one of my companions to raise their rank in the Rites more quickly.

At one point while traveling I came to a fork. I had to select a route to take. Both would end up taking me to my destination in the end, however they both offered different possibilities. When hovering over the two options, the game gave me some information on each. In one area, a companion knew someone at the location that owed him a favor, at the other area, a different companion thought we might find something of value. I chose the second path and sure enough, we found something of value. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to experience how that item will affect my gameplay specifically, however, it sounds like you can use items and resources you find to get more fuel for the wagon.

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Another feature of Pyre I want to point out is the ability to take the cursor and hover over highlighted pieces of text when they appear in the game. Doing so will display a small window, giving a description of the area or character being mentioned. I found this to be very nice, especially towards the beginning of the game as you start to familiarize yourself with the setting of the game.

During my playthrough I was treated to the gorgeous visuals that have graced the previous titles from Supergiant Games and got to hear some of the games beautiful soundtrack. The gameplay of these titles may vary, but Pyre shows that both the art and music continue to shine.

Pyre will release in 2017 on PlayStation 4 and PC.