Lake Review (PS5) – Time Marches On To A New Console
Lake comes to PS5 – We have waited long enough to kick back and see the sights. The Finger Guns Review.
Take Me To The Lake
In my opinion, it’s likely a huge compliment that someone forgot that they reviewed a game. I know that might sound odd, but I think that’s true even if the game was given a high score. It means that it’s unlikely the reviewer had their time disrespected by poor controls, a lack of story or experienced just an overall mediocre game to the add to the already long list in the gaming stratosphere. Those experiences tend to stick in the memory.
Well this is exactly what happened at Finger Guns HQ. Rossko had played Lake on its initial release on the Xbox last year, from which he decided to write a review (you can read that review here). Fast forward to the release on PlayStation and I’m stoked that I finally can get my hands on a game I have anticipated since its release on alternate consoles. After a short conversation, I am all set to review Lake, but I remind Rossko that he has already reviewed this. Rossko, quiet a bit confused, checks the website and as sure as sure can be, the review was there. It had slipped his mind that he had written about this wonderful game.
We spoke about this a few weeks ago on the pod, the idea of if a game becomes less fun because you are reviewing it. I think in Lake’s case, that answer is a resounding no. I won’t go through the ins and outs of Lake as I would be doing a dis-service on the wonderful words of Rossko, so please do make sure you check that out. This review will mostly be highlighting its experience on the PlayStation 5.
I will however give some footnotes for context; You are placed within the roots (or routes if you will pardon the pun) of Meredith. Meredith is a city gal, with a lot of head smarts and a busy schedule to fill her day. However Meredith needs to return to her small, cosy hometown for two weeks whilst her parents take a trip, and whilst on her excursion back home, assume the job of her father as a postal service officer.
It’s clear from the get-go that it has been a while since Meredith had returned home. Although her friendly townsfolk recognise her, time had marched on. Buildings and locations have changed and improved, familiar neighbours have moved and the chapters of childhood friends have been written without her.
You get to explore all of these dynamics whilst undertaking her temporary job as a postie delivering letters and parcels around her neighbourhood and beyond. This is largely the game. Exploring, doing your job and re-introducing Meredith to her old life. There’s no fancy bells or whistles and the game isn’t trying to be anything that it is not. Lake immediately exudes calmness and reminds me of games like that of Life Is Strange but perhaps on a much smaller, indie scale.
The game is visually lovely and everything feels so simple and unproblematic when playing it. It’s strange because I say this because Lake also has this fantastic ability to encapsulate and evoke emotion almost immediately. Nothing massively profound happens, but it’s easy to feel that Meredith is relatable in some way to most who may have a ‘life left behind’. Without spoiling anything, there was a particular moment really not that far in that pulled on a heartstring of mine. I remember thinking… “hang on? I’m only 10 minutes in, why did my feelings just get hurt a bit?” Whether this was down to the writing, the dialogue choices I made myself or maybe a little of both, it was done so subtly yet quite impactfully.
A Speedy Delivery
Expanding on Ross’s experience, he highlights a few things that he experienced such as game controls not loading, or the songs being utterly repetitive in a short amount of time. It does look like these have been fixed since, and I certainly found no bother with the technical aspects that Ross mentioned. A shame really, as I was looking forward to hearing that Witchcraft song over and over.
The playlist is part of a home radio one of the villages has set up, and it is joked about during the dialogue of the game that he needs to add more songs. These are now nicely shuffled and although you may hear the same song occasionally. This in my experience, wasn’t on the same day multiple times.
The visuals do sometimes have an odd flickering to them. I was trying to work out if it was attempting to look as if it was moving as this mostly happened on grass or crops. Movement wise I had no issues manuovering the postal van or walking around as Meredith. This is done smoothly and adds to the immersion of relaxing into your seat and driving off where the wind takes you. Luckily the controls are not complicated, and it really is as simple as directing your joystick and using R2.
In fact the only issue I came across was the odd visual glitch. At certain angles Meredith would slot the letter into thin air as opposed to the garden post box. Not really immersion or game breaking to say the least but worth mentioning. The dev team have obviously taken on the feedback to make sure that newer releases have the best experience possible for the player.
I am so pleased that I was able to give an update on Lake for the PlayStation. It really is such a wonderful game. The game is short and sweet and has multiple endings that you can choose for Meredith. Luckily if you feel like you want to see them all, you have the opportunity to do so without playing a massive chunk of the game all over again. So take a chunk out of your busy lifestyle to engage with Meredith in the serene town of Providence Oaks. You likely won’t regret it.
Lake is a casual, explorative and chilled narrative driven game where you get to immerse yourself in the quaint charms of Providence Oaks. The game features simple controls, wonderful performances and likely the most relaxing game play you’ll experience all year.
Lake is out now on, PlayStation 4 and 5 (Reviewed on PS5) Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, and Steam.
Publisher: Whitethorn Digital
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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