Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Review: Tori-Emaki

Tori-Emaki (2008)
Developer: SCE London Studio & Playlogic
Platform: PlayStation 3
Purchase Date: 01/22/2008

Today, I downloaded another piece of "Interactive Art" from the PlayStation 3 store. Wait a minute; I thought that all video games are a form of interactive art? I have downloaded three of these PlayStation-Eye inspired concoction already, with the other two being Aquatopia and Mesmerize. Tori-Emaki was just released last week and ever since its conception, I was looking forward to the experience.

The real allure here for me is the Japanese painting. It is not as alive as those found in the great Okami for the PlayStation 2 (coming soon to the Wii) but it's no less beautiful. You control a flock of birds as they fly through multi-layered yet sparsely detailed paintings by the movements of your body in front of the camera as a traditional Japanese soundtrack filled the room around you.

The area of movement is represented by what looks like an egg flying through the air... I thought this was strange. Maybe I am missing its reference to Japanese mythology but I thought that it would have been cooler if your point of movement is represented by another flying bird.

When you stop moving, the birds would land on the ground and the painting would stop scrolling. It's a shame that you can see some pixilation at close up on some of the details, a sign of the developer's laziness to truly perfect the software. What's worse is throughout the flight, filters are used to represent different elements of nature like fire and water. This just looks weird more than anything because they could have used actual painting instead of the cheap filter effects on random parts of the flight.

It is what it is: a quick distraction for casual viewings every so often. At $1.99, of course one should never expect much from the software though some basic elements are missing from the package: Why can you not set this as a wallpaper for the XMB screen? Why can't you play your own music while this is running? I really hope that Sony will get the message soon and allow these functionalities for all of the aforementioned "Interactive Arts".

RATING: 3 out of 5

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