Unfortunately, Season does little to emphasise the nature of journeys outside of animating vast beautiful landscapes that conform to meanings that impress, homogeneously, the overwritten narrative laboriously pounded into your ears. The talkiness of the story, dully delivered by some sleepy performances that suffer from totally absent direction (or convincing character motivation), completely eats up any sense of player empathy with the characters; the vistas become postcards with absent scrawl on the back, written by a backpacker convinced of the cosmic significance of staying in hostels and eating "local cuisine" served out of tourist traps.
Normally I say, "verbs, not vibes" for designing the delivery of how a game should feel in conveying its tonality, but the aggressive nature with which Season commodifies its world through the gathering purpose (poorly framed as archival bedrocking, something which totally goes against the current efforts of archival practices wresting free of the nature of highly authored "cornerstones" of import in many institutions of the past) it builds all interaction around the vague, ethereal nature of journeying - literally, leaving things behind - is wasted on the acknowledgement of the game as a product. It's not the developers fault that game clipping and sharing is now a highly commercial enterprise external to games as art, but given the antiquity of that facet of community nowadays, they should have realised the optics and feel of such a scaffolded feel when moving through their spaces.
Spaces being here a very general term. The game is sidewalks: paths are enclosured, and any trying to feel less like a zoo animal will immediately bring more to mind the feeling of playing Super Mario Bros than Sable. You can follow motion through forward or back, but regardless of what you feel is pushing you in a direction, the developers do not allow the desires of the player nor of a player narrative to create expectation, payoff, or ambiguity of the journey outside of the highly rote, terribly cliched, experience.
And as a capstone, the animatic cutscenes have some of the worst examples of stealing the component parts of comics to "cut costs" I've ever seen in a game. The lettering is atrociously mechanised, creating a horribly ugly script that has no life or wit to its line, yet it draws all attention to it by being placed in awful MS paint ovals that consider not at all the composition of the frame they are put in. The models at rest in each 'frame' are not composed on beats of the scene, but at dim relaxations of muscle, taking all life out of the image, rendering the screen a puppet show lost for a puppeteer.
Reviewed on Mar 17, 2023