Season: A Letter To The Future Review - The Meditation Game
Some games demand a specific kind of real-life setting to really be absorbed. Horror games beg for the lights off and headphones on, while co-op games are often more enjoyable when played together on a couch rather than online. Season: A letter to the future requires its own special circumstances--a calm, peaceful environment--and if you can provide that, you'll find in it a special stillness, a pensive story, and a memoir from a fantasy land worth experiencing.
Sometimes the language of open-world games is obvious, especially if you've played a few of them. Excitingly, Season doesn't feel like such a game, as its approach to gameplay and story are fresh and largely disinterested in giving you boxes to check. You play as Estelle, a young woman who sets off to observe and record a part of her world on the precipice of a new season. In this unnamed world, which is like ours but also definitely is not ours, a new season doesn't mean just a change in temperature; it means a total rebirth of the state of things. The game is deliberately unclear regarding exactly why, when, or how seasons emerge, and it seems at least sometimes they are influenced by people rather than natural things that happen to those people. Seasons seem to be more defined by the particular circumstances of a society--the breakout of war or widespread sleep, for example--more than they are snow days or fallen foliage.
For Estelle, it's important to document the outgoing season as all will be lost when the new season begins, even as no one seems sure what that season will usher in itself. For the people of Tieng Valley, a lush farming village that's largely been evacuated due to an imminent dam collapse, the beginning of the season may even be a matter of life and death. Equipped with a camera, audio recorder, scrapbook, and bicycle, Estelle treks into the valley to interview the last remaining locals, capture the state of the vista in its final days, and reflect on things like memory, community, and grief. These, and other themes, are delivered through thoughtful monologues and conversations that allow for players to insert themselves in the story.Continue Reading at GameSpot