South of the Circle Review – PlayStation 5

I love a good narrative adventure game and the latest one to cross my path was South of the Circle from developer State of Play and publisher 11 Bit Studios. I heard about this game a couple years back when it released on Apple Arcade but as someone who doesn’t play mobile games, I didn’t have a chance to play it until the console release just came about recently. Here are my thoughts after playing the PlayStation 5 version.

South of the Circle takes place during the year 1964 and is set in the Antarctica where our lead character Peter finds himself. At the start of the game, Peter’s plane crash lands there and he has to try and make it to a base camp in order to survive. Along the way the game explores Peter’s life and what has happened up to now that has landed him in the current situation that he’s in. He graduated from Cambridge and has been studying cloud formations which is what brought him on this trip. We also learn that he is romantically involved with another Cambridge academic named Clara. The flashbacks during the game help to shed light on his relationship with her, his childhood, conversations with people at the college, and more. While the game involves a lot of walking as you are helping Peter, I loved how things happening in the current time would get interrupted by a flashback that somehow tied into what was happening in the present while helping to peel back layers of Peter’s character and helping me care more about him and Clara.

While you will mostly just be roaming through the world by walking or by vehicle you do get to interact with objects and pick different dialog choices when talking to people. The type of response you give is decided by different color-coded icons with a red one meaning your response will be one of concern or confusion while a blue one will be a more caring or honest response. I didn’t find that the type of responses I chose to make had a huge impact on the overall story but I still felt myself trying to pick the most appropriate one for each situation.

What is also impressive about South of the Circle is that while it goes for a more minimalistic art style, things like the motion capture of the characters still looks excellent and helps the characters feel more believable. The game has full voice acting too with some excellent performances delivered by actors like Gwilym Lee, Richard Goulding, Anton Lesser, Michael Fox, and others. Voice acting and story beats can’t truly deliver on emotional moments though unless that score is just right and the soundtrack here is phenomenal. Whether it was intense moments or more emotional ones the music was always on point to help me feel more in the moment. If you’re a trophy hunter the game sadly doesn’t have a Platinum but it does have a dozen or so that are pretty easy to get. You’ll likely miss some doing a blind playthrough but the game is only a few hours long so you can easily go back and clean up whatever you missed.

South of the Circle tells an emotional and thought-provoking tale that isn’t to be missed by those who enjoy narrative adventure games. I found myself caring more and more about Peter and Clara as I got to learn more about them and it isn’t often that you get an emotional video game tale that focuses so much on love while also talking about things like war and social issues. The game won’t take more than a few hours of your time but you’ll likely remember it for far longer than that.

*South of the Circle is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.

South of the Circle

$12.99
9

Fantastic

9.0/10

Pros

  • Well written and emotional narrative
  • Transitions between the past and present are superb
  • Minimalistic art style looks great
  • Voice performances and music help the story hit harder

Cons

  • Dialog choices don't have much of an overall impact on the story
  • Won't be for those who don't enjoy lots of walking and talking
Written by
Editor/Writer/Reviewer here on ThisGenGaming.com. I've been playing games for almost 30 years now and play everything from AAA blockbusters to Indie games.

Have your say!

0 0

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.