Arise: A Simple Story is as its name states, simple, but one that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster without so much as uttering a single line of understandable dialogue outside of the word arise. You’ll assume the role of an Old Man whose life has just ended, but before he can truly pass on, you’ll experience the most important moments of his life in short but incredibly memorable experiences.
To be brief, Arise is brilliant. Each stage has their own gameplay mechanic that centers on being able to manipulate time. Utilizing this ability will allow the player to navigate the different challenges littered throughout that level. As you continue your journey into the Old Man’s life, new puzzles are introduced specific to that stage of his life. While none of these puzzles are overly challenging they are fun to overcome.
Arise begins with the first few levels being playful, bright experiences that perfectly capture childhood innocence and love. But then, reality sets in and the tone shifts as the man ages into his teens and eventually into adulthood. The games tone will shift based off the experience and this is where the story really shines. You’ll soon discover that the Old Man has lived quite the life and that Arise isn’t as simple as its title suggests.
There are some truly heartbreaking moments to experience and the developers deserve credit for knowing when to pull the floor from underneath the players. You’ll quickly go from feeling elated like the Old Man to gutted because of the various hardships he has had to endure. By the end of the game, you’ll be determined to see if he can find peace in the afterlife.
It is rare for a title with little to no dialogue to have such a strong emotional narrative, but the striking visuals and brilliant music do an excellent job of immersing the player. Seriously though, David Garcia, the audio lead for the title deserves a ton of praise for the musical score. This is a game that will tug at your heartstrings in a way that few titles can. The stunning part is that it does all of this in a very short time as Arise should only take four hours to complete so it never feels to long or drawn out.
This a title that came out of nowhere and was honestly nowhere on my radar, but I’ll confess that I’m glad to have found and experienced it. Arise: A Simple Story will let you relive a person’s life and teach you a powerful lesson in empathy and understanding. Arise is an intimate, emotional journey, but one I believe, that everyone should experience for themselves.