I just completed Pyre and want to talk at length why this just might be my favorite game of 2017. There are minimal story spoilers coming, and there is a ton of things to experience about this game.
|Some of your competition aren't bad guys.|
Here's where the game really starts to shine: the story progresses whether you win or lose any of the Rites, and the amount of story options and paths opens greatly. In my experience, every other non-linear game I've played has Game Over screens, or progress is otherwise halted if you can't get past a certain point. While I only continued through defeat a few times, I'm pretty sure you can complete the story without winning anything. There's also an incentive to lose every chance to escape because your group makes meaningful connections to one another, and sending them over means you break up friendships.
|Always count on ol Bertrude for sentimentality.|
|Even the Slugmarket is delightfully weird.|
This becomes especially apparent at the end of the game, where you read a bio about everyone you've encountered. You're accompanied by a bard, who has a unique role of keeping morale, knowing the rules of Rites, and has a special relationship with the Gatekeeper that hosts the Liberation Rites. These two end up singing a duo at the key battles of Pyre, and impressively sing about each character's epilogue in the game's final song. Based on my choices, I think the lyrics can change, having at least 2 possibilities, and that is something I've never seen before. I'll confirm this on my next playthrough, but details like this kept me covered in goosebumps during many parts of the story.
Ultimately, Pyre is unlike anything I've ever played, though it keeps Supergiant's signature features of games: great color palette, interesting characters, an eccentric narrator, an emotional soundtrack worthy of listening to separately, and well-tested, bug-free gameplay. Play it now!
|And this game has passed my test, as being awesome.|