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Downward: Enhanced Edition Review

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The parkour scene was massive in the early 2000s. You couldn’t turn a corner in London at that time without someone jumping over a wall and somersaulting over a bin. It also had its hooks in films with James Bond flying about the rooftops in Casino Royale and in games, we had the highly entertaining Mirror’s Edge. It has however lost some of its trend in the last few years which is a bit of a shame because it works very well in games. 

It’s exciting then to welcome Downward: Enhanced Edition, leaping onto console as a remake of the 2017 PC game. Let’s get ready for parkour once more.  

Downward Enhanced Edition review 1
Leap into action with Downward: Enhanced Edition

In this first-person action-adventure game, the world as we know it has ended in disaster. Little is known about how the apocalypse came about, but you find yourself playing as one of the last survivors of humankind. What lies around you are buildings and civilisations in ruins, all for you to explore and navigate around. A voiceover commands you to head on out, hunting down the relics that hold the secrets to the past. And hopefully the answers…

The narrative and story of Downward are interesting, but it’s quite bare bones while the gameplay makes up the main focus of the actual game. Seeing the world in disarray allows for some environmental storytelling and the mysterious voice delivers bits and bobs of narrative context as well. 

Gameplay-wise, Downward: Enhanced Edition has you working the first person, running along the world, jumping and hanging onto ledges as you go. You can cover long distances and wall run, as well as slide under things in style. 

Downward Enhanced Edition review 2
Can you traverse?

And as you progress you gather new skills, like double jumping, grappling, and utilising glyphs to access new areas you couldn’t get to before. There’s a great skill you learn that I’ve never seen before in a game called a warp point; placing this allows you to warp back to it. This means that if you are trying to navigate a particularly tricky part of parkour, and don’t want to start from the beginning again, you can place this midway and make life a bit easier. 

There are some strange combat sections included too, in which you are not fighting but jumping around some clockwork enemies, waiting for a point where the machine shows its weak spots, as you go in to grab, ending the fight. These weren’t my particular favourite points of Downward, and in fact I would have tried to avoid them if I had the choice. There are also some areas where you have challenges, left to try and beat times. And further to that is the inclusion of merchant shops, as you upgrade your skills and look to get some health back.

Visually, Downward does a good job of creating this world. It reminds of the Prince of Persia games with all its sand and ancient ruins. I like the whole tone and style of the game and it feels very fast and fluid. There are some interesting areas to take in too, with challenging verticality to conquer. In terms of audio, the soundtrack is good, accompanied by well-judged voice work. 

Downward Enhanced Edition review 3
Give this guy a wide berth

For the price, Downward: Enhanced Edition is a bit of a bargain. The parkour elements are fun, as it allows the player to zip and jump around, whilst the exploration of a ruined world brings secrets to the fore. The strange combat-y sections could do with a miss, but for the most part it’s good to be parkouring around once more.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Some parkour fun
  • Exploration
  • Nice visuals
  • Price
Cons:
  • Combat sections
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Plug In Digital
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 4 June 2024 | £8.39
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Some parkour fun</li> <li>Exploration</li> <li>Nice visuals</li> <li>Price</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Combat sections</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Plug In Digital</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 4 June 2024 | £8.39</li> </ul>Downward: Enhanced Edition Review
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