ABZÛ doesn’t tell its story in a traditional sense. There’s no voice work, there’s barely any sound effects and there certainly isn’t any text to tell you what’s going down in the waters of ABZÛ. Everything is inferred and while at first glance the story of ABZÛ might be simplistic it’s the way it unfolds and tells its story that makes the whole experience really special. Taking some very, very light inspiration from Babylonian mythology and building upon that, ABZÛ is an experience that almost every player should seek out.
The less you know, the better when it comes to a game like ABZÛ, so we’ll keep the synopsis rather short. In ABZÛ, you play as The Diver. She’s a mysterious being, someone who has the power to awaken certain objects and someone who can calmly interact with all kinds of sea life without much worry. There’s much more to the story, however, and as players begin to spend more time with The Diver they’ll discover a great threat to the ocean and discover just what is going on and where The Diver fits into all of it.ABZÛ is easily one of the strongest emotional experiences I’ve had with a video game for quite some time. The story isn’t necessarily groundbreaking but it’s the moments that build the story – the major set pieces where the diver interacts with nature – that really hammer home how great developer Giant Squid are at creating believable and vivid worlds. While none of the characters speak, you’ll bond with them and feel the ups and downs as they do throughout the story. The game’s plot is one that you unravel yourself, and while there are some obvious cues in plain sight there’s more to this rich mythos that meets the eye – rewarding players who swim off the beaten path.
At risk of sullying my reputation I’ll mention here that I didn’t care much for Journey, which is a game that players will inevitably compare ABZÛ to. But ABZÛ is different – it’s a story that you share with The Diver and the ocean and nobody else. A completely solitary experience and a much more straightforward story with greater (if not more relatable) conclusions.To match a beautiful story ABZÛ similarly employs a beautiful artistic direction. From the moment you boot the game it’s clear that it’s been built to be a visual feast for the eyes. Taking on a more stylised look for its environments, ABZÛ features an almost cel-shaded style which make all the colours bold, bright and beautiful. Similarly, it’s quite awe inspiring to see the various fish and sea creatures dance and flutter through the ocean, each behaving differently depending on the species it’s based on.