Waking tries to take the best of many different genres but creates a horrible mess of clashing, ugly parts.
Waking is a fascinating experiment that tries, but ultimately fails, to combine two radically different ideas together. Less would certainly have been more here, as the clunky and overly confusing action parts get in the way of the interesting narrative and psychological aspects. While I was drawn in by the central conceit and the use of meditation, the end result is more likely to leave you in a coma than drag you into the light.
I recommend Waking to any player, of any skill-level, looking for a unique, emotional, and personal experience.
Perhaps with a couple of in-depth quality-of-life updates, Waking can be something special. For now, the reality is its unique narrative is held back by some fundamental design oversights.
Waking tries to be a very unique experience, but all it manages to do is be way too long, frustrating, and unintentionally hilarious
Waking is a game that attempts to be two very different things, and for the most part, it succeeds quite well. If you're willing to devote a little bit of time to learning its quirky systems, you're in for a potentially rewarding experience. An experience which encourages you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go back into your memories.
They say never judge a book by the cover, as whats inside almost always is better than whats outside. In Waking's case however, the only pretty thing is the cover. Shallow and broken gameplay? Check. Bad controls? Check. Poor visuals? Check. Innovations?. Nowhere to be found. Worth a shot? Probably not.
Review in Persian | Read full review
Overall Waking tries, but it's not enough. It tries with the excellent meditative phases, it tries by building an action RPG apparatus based on personal emotions and our intimate knowledge of ourselves, which will lead us to transubstantiate our fears and our hopes on the screen. It tries with a more than enough artistic sector, albeit not exciting. Not new, but well done and accompanied by a good soundtrack. It tries but falls into transposing the idea into practice. Its gameplay is why Waking fails. Coarse, simplistic and limiting, as it should never be something that aims to illustrate the human soul. The two-meter-by-two-meter anthropomorphic deer can continue to tap me on the shoulder on my deathbed, but I don't know if I want too much to follow him.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Ultimately, Waking is its own worst enemy, since it seems confused as to what kind of game/experience it wants itself to be. The memory sections are interesting to say the least, but Waking has burdened itself with some really average action sequences.
Waking will have you eager to wake up within the first few hours. Its compelling self-reflective narrative is overshadowed by some of the worse adventure mechanics and systems that I have played in quite some time. Perhaps the game should go through some self-reflecting of its own and figure out exactly what it wants to be because this is a complete mess.
...one of the slowest and painful games to play this year.
Waking is a trip to the depths of your mind, if you choose to play along, you might learn a thing or two about yourself. Too bad it lacks in presentation and gameplay, and a lot of the sub systems are needlessly complex.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
The concept is outstanding and I wanted to love it, I really did. Aside from the numerous issues I’ve already mentioned, the biggest downfall is that it just didn’t know what kind of game it wanted to be.
This is painful. Waking was made by one person and is a game of true passion. It contains a concept I would like to recommend to anyone who is comfortable enough to delve within themselves for the sake of an intimate video game experience. What Jason Oda set out to do is truly touching. Yet the vessel in which the experience is presented is badly blemished.
Waking is a gamified SELF-REFLECTION EXERCISE, that has 2 big parts: gameplay and meditation. Being the main character of the story, you will fight your way out of a coma by killing mobs and rebuilding memories. You will run, pick-up objects, aim, shoot, and continuously select different spells to fight. As objectives are completed, a voice asks you to CLOSE YOUR EYES and invites you to travel deeply into YOUR PERSONAL MEMORIES. Waking is not a traditional action-adventure gaming experience. To experience the game as it is meant to be you need to be opened to a self-reflection experience.
The concept of Waking is an admirable one. To place the player at the centre of the narrative and mechanics of a game, tailoring it to their choices, is a lofty goal and one that it falls well short of. Rough visuals, clunky and repetitive combat and a narrative that spectacularly misses the emotional connections it attempts to evoke, Waking makes you want to do anything but.
I wanted to love Waking. It's approach and the first minute are as special as they are unique. Which game makes your first pet to your companion and a bit of soil from your hometown to your special weapon, after all? However, I wasn't able to find the genius in the chaos. In the beginning, I thought I could find it, but in the end, I had to take Waking for what it is: A mess. It has that unique approach that could it make so special but the game around it is just not very good.
Review in German | Read full review
As long as you are entirely truthful and lay bare your soul to the title, Waking is by far the most deeply personal, deeply moving experience in video game history.
At the beginning, Waking presents itself as a game with grand ideas about self-discovery and how this is going to be a very personal experience but the execution of these ideas leaves a lot to be desired. The combat system is quite clunky and boring and the narrative side of things lacks the content and depth it promised at the start of the adventure. The developers swung as hard as possible and missed a hard too.
Review in Persian | Read full review