Back when i originally played Journey, I was a bit unkind. I didn’t really get it and felt there was no actual game. Later, I came to realise that wasn’t really the point.
So now I’ve played Abzû, I’m wary of doing the same thing. There’s no game, sure, and again, that’s missing the point. But the point is even less of a point than it was with Journey. Like that game, you travel a world with a lore uncovered through statues and cave paintings. Instead of a scarf, you swim with fish. Instead of puzzles you have… er… nothing. And instead of the second player who shares your journey but you can’t communicate with, you have a shark that appears sometimes.
The fish are pretty, and you can touch them all, but it’s no Endless Ocean. The history you uncover is interesting but it’s no Journey. The acrobatics as you swim are great but pointless, and it’s no Ecco the Dolphin.
I completed it, having explored everywhere and done everything I could think of doing (which, frankly, was very little) and came away thinking… is that it? It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, just I was expecting more. More exposition, more puzzles, more varied events rather than just find a seadoo to open a door and avoid the mines (which explode but you can’t actually die so don’t bother avoiding them?). Just something more. But no.