Winter Ember Reviews
When I think of a good old fashion stealth game, I think of a hooded figure with a blade as sharp as his skill set. Throw them into a Victorian-esque world with a classic revenge tale with nothing left to lose and you will have painted the picture for Sky Machine Studios’ latest accomplishment. ‘Winter Ember’, an isometric stealth action title with a flair for vengeance, is a carefully crafted modern take on an age-old game style. Thanks to Blowfish Studios, we got to check out the Xbox series X version of Winter Ember, and for a bit of added lore, I would recommend looking into the Graphic Novel of the same name.
Winter Ember is a game I am heavily conflicted on. On one hand it’s an immersive Thief inspired game with tense stealth aspects. On the other hand it’s frustrating to play, thanks to its zoomed in camera and lack of consistency. There’s a lot of potential that was unfortunately wasted in here. If you really want to satiate your Thief hunger, it pains me to say this isn’t the solution. Just play the original and its sequel for the upteenth time…
Winter Ember is a great isometric stealth game that provides a new take on the genre. It has a unique story that gets you hooked. Action sequences are excellent but walking through darkness and evading enemies makes it shine the most. There are hiccups with its controls and interaction, yet it ticks the right boxes for hours of fun playtime.
Unfortunately, the aspects of Winter Ember surrounding its core gameplay loop are so lackluster. The game’s stealth mechanics and tight design have the potential to be a solid new entry in the genre, but the game’s less polished parts ultimately hold it back.
I liked the look of Winter Ember and its dark Victorian vibe, which meshed well with its revenge narrative and story. There’s more to a game than atmosphere, though, and that’s where Winter Ember is a mixed success. The levels are filled with confusing repetition and uncertain goals. Stealth and close-up combat aren’t equally viable, despite upgrades to both. As a result, Arthur never quite becomes the all-around badass protagonist you want him to be, and the game’s elements never fully come together. That said, stealth action fans should find something to enjoy about the game.
What works about Winter Ember is almost entirely overshadowed by the frustrating moment-to-moment experience that never settles into a true, precise stealth game.
A disappointing attempt to create an isometric version of Thief. Unfortunately, it won't be able to steal your heart.
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Although lacking refinement, Winter Ember is an adequate isometric stealth game that might spark joy for fans of the Thief franchise. With a more robust story, tidier stealth, and narrowed focus, Arthur might have given Garrett a run for his stolen loot.
Winter Ember presents players with an engaging story and plenty of interesting levels to explore. While its combat can feel repetitive and the voice acting could be polished a lot further, overall the game offers some fun stealth mechanics that will be entertaining to fans of titles like Weird West, Desperados III, and Sherlock Holmes.
It may have some technical issues that highlight the indie budget, but the good in Winter Ember outweighs the bad. It has all the stealth trappings; the frustration, the patience, as well as the stickiness of the combat, to harken back to the olden days. It may not be original, yet it doesn’t matter when it looks this nice and plays like the classics.
What on first glance I thought that Winter Ember can beat most indie stealth games out there, that thought evaporated soon because pretty quickly the game started to feel repetitive as it never introduces any new mechanics. Also while the levels themselves are cool they also have interesting design choices, where you just loop back to the same point like in metroidvania games. Normally this is okay if its an occurrence here or there, or if its essential to the mission, but after a while it feels off In other words, give it a pass.
Despite a decent story and atmosphere, Winter Ember is a flawed experience that suffers from poor combat and even poorer voice acting and writing. Super fans of stealth games may find some joy here, but for most there are better stealth games out there.
Winter Ember is an ambitious isometric stealth-action that pays strong homage to its genre roots while holding its own entertaining identity, but fails to stick the landing on telling their story.
Winter Ember is good, but could be better. The voice acting and script made me extremely disinteresting in the story, and combat is just so extremely dull. It doesn't help either when the soundtrack overheard in all areas of the game is equally as basic. These three things made the game lose a bit of its charm, but that's all mended together thankfully by the enjoyable stealth mechanics and moment-to-moment gameplay. As a pure stealth experience, this game fast became a highly enjoyable experience overall, and one that I'd recommend if you can get past its big issues.
I found Winter Ember a game that is soo close to being one that you could sink hours into. With a few tweaks to the annoying controls/movement and menus/progression this would vastly improve the gameplay. Making it more optimised for the current generation of consoles would make it shine even more.