The Pathless is all about speed and movement

There’s no map in The Pathless, no waypoint or fast-travel systems that might make navigating its daringly large fantasy forests and steppes a little easier. I didn’t miss that stuff. Not even for a second. These things were taken out, apparently, to ground the player in the world, to make them see these rain-darkened trees and murmuring grasslands as places to be understood and learned on foot rather than just empty stuff employed to space out the set-pieces. I can see that for sure. Beneath louring skies and surrounded by the halted spires of old temples, I did start to get my own bearings. But there’s something else, too. The Pathless is an absolute hymn to the pleasures of movement and speed. Forget the plot, the task at hand, the ancient legends and the destruction of the world that looms red and malignant on the horizon. These mythical landscapes are always in danger aren’t they? But few are as thrilling to get around in as this one.

More than any game I have played in a while, this one is all about the triggers. You are an archer, a tiny red and black and white figure in a world of greens and greys. The landscape is littered with hanging diamond shapes, luminous little targets that you can lock onto with the right trigger. Hold it down long enough and your arrow will sail straight into it when you release. Thwock! A burst of light rushes into your energy meter which you can then use to dash using the left trigger.

And then you do it again, chaining shot after shot as you pick up speed, moving from walking to running to sliding over the perfectly rolling grasslands. Hold the trigger down for the time it takes the reticule to turn fully red and you hit the target. Hold it down for half the time and you still hit the target – skill shot! Anything less is an entertaining miss, a stumble that you almost feel through the pad when the energy you’re expecting does not appear.

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