A Fisherman’s Tale (here the review of A Fisherman’s Tale) has won the favor of critics and audiences with its original gameplay gimmicks, the pirate atmosphere and an engaging writing, to the point of having earned the recognition of GOTY 2019 of the world vr. However, the short duration of the adventure had prevented the production from expressing its full potential: it is with the intention of filling this gap that InnerspaceVR worked on Another Fisherman’s Tale.
This direct sequel aims to offer a more ambitious experience on all fronts, starting with longevity and narrative depth, up to the adoption of completely redesigned mechanics. Let’s see how the new puzzle adventure in seafood sauce available from May 11 on PlayStation VR 2 (we tested this version) PC VR and Meta Quest 2 behaves.
Take apart and reinvent the gameplay
On the exquisitely playful side, Another Fisherman’s Tale could limit itself to inheriting the Chinese box system of the first chapter. It is with a certain courage, however, that the guys from InnerspaceVR have decided to shape the gameplay around a new concept: making the various parts of Bob removable and interchangeable, the intrepid protagonist fisherman-guardian in the shape of a puppet, so to be called players to solve the proposed puzzles by exploiting these characteristics of the character.
Now you can move freely in the levels with the two analogs, while the use of the motion controls is used for the movement of the arms. The triggers are used to eject the hands towards any point in the scenario. When these touch the ground, it is possible to make them walk on the fingers in search of objects to grab or operate, and then recall them to the wrists once the appropriate objectives have been achieved. The mechanism works and is exploited well enough to propose interesting puzzles, but suffers from a bit of imprecision and awkwardness in the controls, especially when managing both hands at the same time and having to assume contortionist postures in the more advanced challenges.
The head can also be thrown by aiming at the landing area with your eyes and holding down the two face buttons. This will allow us to observe the scene from another perspective to find clues and spot useful gadgets to mount instead of hands, such as hooks for climbing or crab claws to be unsheathed to cut cables and ropes.
In the meantime the rest of the body will continue to live its own life, and can be manipulated as if playing from a third person shot. The puzzles are never really difficult or, conversely, trivial, and require a fair amount of observation and lateral thinking. It’s hard to get stuck on a single puzzle for long (should that happen, Bob will be quick to whisper a clue to himself), and in general we liked the balance between challenge and progression, for what presents itself as an adventure from the soft and at the same time stimulating development. The puzzles were well orchestrated, but didn’t surprise us too much. If Bob’s first trip based the most brilliant playful solutions on the deception of perceptions, Another Fisherman’s Tale focuses on the physical participation of the player, fully exploiting the characteristics of virtual reality. Net of their linearity, the levels are larger and invite you to explore every nook and cranny with body movements, for example leaning over to peek around the corners in search of some lever or button to activate. Then there is a further leap forward in the variety of environments and situations, with the presence of exploratory phases that will also lead us to visit the seabed.
The introduction of free movement will then please lovers of total immersion. This could scare those suffering from motion sickness, but fortunately the developers have included all the necessary comfort options such as teleportation and vignetting, essential to reduce any discomfort caused by sudden camera movements. Although you can play seated, it is advisable to remain standing (or at least sit on a stool) in order to have greater freedom to use your arms and torso, which are essential in solving the more complex puzzles.
Looking for Libertalia
In our run it took us about five hours to complete the main story, a duration more in line with the standards of the genre and which marks a significant leap forward compared to its predecessor. The gait is characterized by a good rhythm and is accompanied by a narrative sector that knows how to capture the player’s attention until the end. In this regard, we were happy to see the introduction of Italian subtitles, great news for users less accustomed to English who will now be able to enjoy the story without missing any detail.
The story travels on two tracks: on the one hand we will return to take on the role of Bob, this time engaged in tracking down Libertalia (we also talked about it in the special on Uncharted the Legacy of Thieves), a legendary island coveted by every thirsty sailor of adventures, while on the other we will explore the childhood memories of his daughter Nina, intent on playing in the cellar of the house with the models that reproduce her father’s exploits. The French developers reconfirm themselves as skilled in mixing intimate and light-hearted tones, in treating delicate themes lightly but without renouncing a certain poeticity (it will soon be clear that behind the search for Libertalia there is a metaphor of Bob’s family life).
Nothing so original, but that in Another Fisherman’s Tale achieves very worthy results thanks to the excellent work done on the artistic side. The voice acting and the sound accompaniment, in particular, manage to emphasize the crucial moments of the experience, giving some scenes that seem to come from a musical. Ultimately, the game takes all the time necessary to adequately develop its contents, arriving at enhancing its potential with more conviction.
We arrive at the end credits overall satisfied and with a smile on our lips. Beyond a few edges of the control system, InnserspaceVR reconfirms itself as a valid craftsman of virtual reality, who knows how to warm the heart, a quality that this dimension of gaming should take into great consideration.