Hob PS4 Review

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Runic Games  Developer: Runic Games  Genre: Action Adventure  

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A

Hob can only be described as a technical marvel, especially some of the elements of how its world is created. A game with no dialogue, story is told through actions as you follow a little red ridinghood-esque character through what is clearly an environmental message story.

Even though you are on your own for most of the game, at times a robot companion will come by to give you some direction.

The world the main character lives in is all mechanical; cogs, nuts and bolts all make up the world, whirring away underground and which can be manipulated by your main character. Primarily a puzzle game, Hob sees you pushing a number of buttons and levers in order to power up certain sections of the world, the result of which will raise or lower platforms or even entire sections of the world – the sheer scale is brought to life with mesmerising imagery as you see sections falling into place. The scale of this world is on par with the likes of The Last Guardian, everything feeling vast and high, except you can see the world changing around you knowing it was you who had that effect; it’s pretty spectacular to watch.

Your main character is given a new robotic arm, courtesy of their robot companion, and this is what allows them to interact with the environment. This arm has multiple uses when interacting with the world; your character can punch buttons, press buttons, push and pull boxes, hold onto contraptions and rotate them.

You also carry a sword, and can battle enemies that will drop pickups that will enable you to upgrade your fighting abilities. Your character can punch, use a shield, roll out of the way of an enemy’s attack. Mostly you’ll be bashing the X button and slashing your sword; this works well for smaller enemies, though bigger enemies need a bit more tact to defeat. I found that despite my character being upgraded, it seems they are still very weak against the bigger enemies, and they could be killed in two hits. Your little character can also grapple, and can use this to break shackles or armour on enemies who cannot be defeated otherwise.

There are places where you can sit and chill out, and admire your surroundings.

However, whilst combat is there, you can decide whether or not you want to fight – sometimes you will need to defeat an enemy to open up an area, but mostly you can get quite far into the game with very little confrontation.

You can also find fragments of artefacts that, when combined, will increase your health bar and your sword. Your character also has a power bar that can also be increased. This power allows your character to charge up their robotic arm ready to land a heavy punch, and they can even warp through the sky in a stream of electricity.

As vast as the world is, it can be very confusing finding your way around; looking at the map, it can be very difficult to work out where you need to be – the world is 3D, yet the map is only 2D, and considering the world consists of many levels, it can be difficult to find out how to reach your next goal.

Sometimes you’ll also find yourself wandering around for a time, wondering what you should be doing next. The game isn’t exactly self-explanatory; you understand that you should be pushing switches or levers, though sometimes you’ll complete something and then wonder where you should head to next, as it is not always obvious what you should be doing.

Environments also look very similar – the colours will change, and perhaps there’ll be some difference in enemies in that location, though mostly the world looks exactly the same, and this can also make you feel disoriented as you try to work out where you are.

You can upgrade your abilities by visiting a special cavern, and you can add special abilities to your robotic arm by finding these machines.

The game also suffers terribly from lag, and your character isn’t always smooth to control. The lag is only noticeable in areas that are full of activity, and the way in which your character controls doesn’t distract too much, but a bit more polish could have been done with in these areas.

Sound is done very well though, with very little music and much emphasis placed on sound effects, such as the distant calls of wildlife, or your own characters echoing feet as they run. Sounds are amplified and, without the music, there is a quiet mystique to Hob that pulls you in.

Hob is a very enjoyable game and feels very unique; the scale of the world is something to be seen – at certain points your character can find areas in which they will stand (or sit) and admire the view, a soothing melody playing in the background as they take stock of their surroundings.

Despite some gripes here and there, Hob is definitely recommended for a play through. It takes some time to get your head around the world and what you are supposed to be doing, but once you get the gist, you’ll find you are constantly moving and there is always a puzzle for you to be working out; unlike most open world games, in which puzzles are completed one at a time, the puzzles here move seamlessly from one to the next, giving the game a nice flow of consistent gameplay.