I realize Wednesdays are usually news days around here, but I’ve got something a little more important to talk about this week. There’s no crisis that needs discussing or anything, just an excellent game that feel deserves all the attention it can get. As you might have guessed from the title, that game is GRIS.
I’ve played great games before; I’ve played games that absolutely outstanding before; I’ve played games that absolutely make the case for games as a legitimate medium for high-art before. However, never have I ever had a game affect me like a true work of traditional art. That is, it never happened before I played GRIS.
The game follows a young girl named Gris who’s become lost in her own world after suffering some sort of painful experience. Her journey is one that begins in sorrow and hopefully ends in healing. None of this is explicitly stated in the game though; GRIS’ story is told entirely through the game’s artwork, music and gameplay. And it’s absolutely breathtaking.
This game had me choked-up right from the very beginning. It’s not that there was anything overtly sad happening on the screen. No, I think it’s more like the music and the artwork synced up in a way that had me empathizing with this nameless young woman without knowing anything about what happened. I could see the pain in her expressions and movements, and the visual/animation style accentuated it. This can basically said for every quite moment the game has to offer. You don’t fully understand the significance of what’s happening on screen, but you can feel it. It’s the best kind of surreal.
Once again, the artwork does everything it can to accentuate this. The style they chose, the way almost everything moves and/or interacts with GRIS, makes this all feel like something out of a dream, yet a bit more significant than a dream. Everything happening has a sense of importance to it, as if it’s affecting Gris in someway. I said this before too, but the music is absolutely spot on. It’s quiet when it needs to be; flourishes when it should, and every time the world changes, the music makes the player feel as though the color bursting forth is somehow washing over them too.
I’m pretty sure I’ve called the visual presentation of some games “beautiful” in the past, but that doesn’t quite cut it with GRIS. The entirety of GRIS, the game itself is beautiful! And that makes a huge difference. This is a game isn’t like a work of art; it is a work of art! It has all of the emotional power of traditional art, perhaps even a degree more. Of course, not everyone is looking for a game that will make them feel something, but if you’d like to play something truly special, then give GRIS a try. You owe it yourself.
GRIS is available right now on PC and Nintendo Switch.