Atmospheric adventure games are some of the best ways to relax and destress at the end of a long day. Spirit of the North: Enhanced Edition for PlayStation 5 offers players the opportunity to sink into a comfortable chair and let the wonder of Iceland sweep them away.
Spirit of the North Enhanced Edition Review – May the Spirits Guide You
Spirit of the North: Enhanced Edition is a third “person” adventure set in Iceland. Players assume the form of a fox chasing the answer as to what lies at the end of the crimson trail in the sky above. The fox is accompanied by an ancestral spirit. Fox moves quite fluidly. Whether you’re sliding down an icy slope legs spread or shaking off water after a swim, our furry avatar is lifelike. Leaping off ledges looks so majestic it’s no wonder I can’t help but jump from every one I see.
I’m no stranger to narration-less games. In fact, sometimes I absolutely love not having a voice chattering on and telling me what to do. A large part of Spirit of the North‘s strength is in that very fact. Neither my fox nor the guide prattle on with needless words; when necessary, all I need to do is bark. Want to collect essence from some blooming flowers? Bark. Need to solve an obelisk puzzle by rotating panels? Bark. When I’m happy and I know it, bark.
Puzzle solving in this game can be a little hit or miss. Many of the puzzles are easily solved by paying attention to the environment or following the spirit guide. New elements are introduced over time, such as collecting essence to light stones. Special spirit abilities have been a little touchy for me. The Spirit Bark asks the player to hold down Circle until the energy releases to clear certain obstructions. My issue here is that there is no real indicator as to how long to hold Circle. After a few times of not holding it long enough, I now keep it pressed for at least thirty seconds (yes, I count them in my head). Where this really became an issue was a puzzle in which I had to dash in spirit form to a target and then hold Circle to clear the object. I’d always seem to reach the goal with only a couple of seconds and never get the Bark release to succeed. When I finally did, I let the fox curl up into a ball while I paused the game and walked away for a good ten minutes.
Spirit of the North Enhanced Edition Review – Of Westfjords and Northern Lights
Every game needs side quests. Spirit of the North asks you to retrieve staves strewn about each chapter and return them to the fallen shamans who once used them. This literal fetch quest not only provides some adorable fox carrying big stick pictures but is a great way to appreciate all the nooks and crannies. An added bonus here are the skin rewards. Completionists may enjoy some replay value because of this. No complaints here.
For this Enhanced Edition, everything has been remastered so that PS5 gamers can take advantage of the newer hardware and high definition displays. And it looks amazing! No lie, I have spent more time exploring and searching out primo photo locations to take snapshots than actually playing the game. For a five-ish six hour game if you’re targeting a perfect trophy haul, I spent that much time in my first session being an amateur wildlife photographer. That said, the game still looks amazing on a regular old TV. Don’t skip on the game just because you don’t have a 4K display yet.
Exploring Iceland as a furry fox friend has been a real treat. It’s delicious eye candy with a satisfyingly chewy center. Yes, there were times when I hoped for a little more direction in solving puzzles. Those brand new help cards on the PlayStation 5 dashboard sure would have been nice (fingers crossed we see those when the game officially releases). That said, Spirit of the North is too beautiful and captivating to be disappointed for long. If you love games like Lost Ember, I can’t recommend adding Spirit of the North to your collection enough.
Spirit of the North Enhanced Edition review code provided by publisher. Version 1.000 reviewed on PlayStation 5. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.