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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Ultimately, are the Rites a good thing or bad thing? The Rites themselves are meant to be a teaching to better oneself, yet countless innocents had to suffer needlessly because of them. Oralech's sabotage attempt is a presentation of this very question.
    • It is fine to let those who live under such law to continue gaming the system to their own benefit? Consider people like Volfred, Manley or even The Reader, who ultimately decides who will leave Downside or stay regardless of original intention of the Rites or the exlies' consent. Did you allow a certain exile out of Downside because of pity? Sense of justice? Just wanting the society to change for good? Or do you genuinely hate the Commonwealth and just want to screw them over one way or another?
      • Consider that the Readers are capable of telepathy and mind control...
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    • Not to mention the Scribes themselves, founding a nation on mercy and kinship, yet only allowing their chosen "worthy" exiles back one at a time. Meaning, in fact, that the ones who are most likely to be merciful, with the strongest bonds of kinship, would rather stay behind than go alone, back to the surface world.
    • Does the Rites matter at all? Even though none of the good Exiles made it out of Downside, the society ended up changing for the better regardless. Though it'll be a bloody revolution if not enough of the Nightwings ascend to help it remain bloodless, so there is that.
    • To what extent some characters are deemed absolved of crime? The Eight Scribes forgave the Rope-Caller for bringing them together despite what he'd do if he gets away with the Empire. But when it comes to The Beyonders, they are put into a prison for eternity because of an assassination attempt and their lifestyle that may or may not forced upon since childhood. Then there's Erisa.
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: A game about exiled nomads participating in religious rituals that play out like a fantasy version of NBA Jam? It's certainly an odd premise to sell which no doubt led to the game not selling particularly well despite great reviews and a lot of love from the people who did play it.
  • Awesome Music: This is, after all, Supergiant Games we are talking about.
    • "Never To Return", an epic ballad setting the player up for each Liberation Rite. In-game, it also has more variations depending on which triumvirate you face.
    • Here's a fan-made mash-up of all the variations, naturally ending with the Nightwings.
    • "Mourning Song", an alluring vocal-only duet full of sadness.
    • "Strange Voyage", a song that resembles an eerie road trip, which plays as you travel to the downside, matching perfectly with the feeling of traveling through a strange, exotic land.
    • "Will of the Scribes", the song from the launch trailer, which in the game proper captures the weight and tragedy of the Nightwings' true purpose as nemesis to the other triumvirates and of their legacy being twisted by Erisa's betrayal and Oralech's resulting bitterness.
  • Best Boss Ever: All Liberation Rites can be considered this. They are some of the most emotionally charged moments of the game, with it invariably ending in someone being freed and if you won, it will be someone of your team. Futhermore, you have the melancholic and powerful "Never to Return" being sung by Tariq and Celeste. All of the bosses you previously faced will bring their A-Game to a Liberation Rite making up for an even better fight than when they were fought previously.
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    • Special mention goes to Oralech, who is the leader of the final triumvirate you'll face, and thus is the final boss. That match is the match where the game just removes all the stops on the AI, causing them to go all out, playing ultra aggressively and using all the various tricks and fake outs the AI accumulates over the game. And then it starts raining meteors from the sky...
  • Breather Boss: The Pyrehearts are by far the easiest enemies. In the first run, they are between the Withdrawn that can be quite challenging for someone not used to Udmildhe's Spread Shot and the Hope losses prior to the fight and The Essence, which can be quite hard and have a destructive attack. The Pyrehearts, however, rarely attack, they are quick, but also extremely weak and have unconventional Auras with little defense power. In their first fight, at one point they will simply stop playing to fight against themselves and let the player score a free attack.
  • Broken Base: The Rites gameplay is either a supremely fun sports game with a surprising amount of depth, a fun, but repetitive distraction that takes away from the Visual Novel elements, or just plain bad and not fun.
    • Conversely, some people think that the Visual Novel stuff is a slog to get through, and a distraction from the extremely fun sports game.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The original trio has received a lot more attention than other Nightwings, primarily because of the fact they were the first ones revealed. Even among them Jodariel seems to be the most popular due to her personality, looks and backstory.
    • Among the non-Nightwings, Sandra has become very popular due to her snarky attitude and - primarily - ship-tease fueled conversations with her 'Lovely Reader'.
    • The Stowaway is probably the second most popular Nightwing, following Jodariel.
    • Manley, the Sap leader of the Chastity, has a contingent of fans due to his appearance, despite being a Hate Sink in the game proper.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • As far as Reader ships go, Reader/Sandra is the most popular. Considering the rampant Ship Tease between her and the Reader as well as one of the endings you two will stay together in the Downside for who knows how long.
    • Volfred and Oralech are very popularly paired together, due to some Foe Yay between them as well as the fact that, despite the animosity, they still seem to think highly of each other. Similar to the above, there's an ending where they rebuild their friendship and are mentioned to rarely be seen separated afterwards.
  • Game-Breaker: Much like in Supergiant's earlier games, certain combos of bonus items can be incredibly imbalanced, though unlike previous games, you can access these items much earlier in comparison.
    • Hedwyn's legendary talisman Gol's Bracer, once you get the hang of power-casting. One of his late-game mastery nets him temporary infinite stamina if he banishes a foe with power-cast. Combine that with the talisman's aura-casting width bonus and it'll be less about plunging the Orb into the Pyre and more about making sure your opponents never stay on the field more than 1 second...
    • Pretty much everything about Big Bertrude. While she's normally very slow, she has a wide range attack that her legendary talisman can upgrade to allow it to go through solid objects, her sprint ability is crazy fast and can be upgraded to reduce stamina consumption, and she can gain an ability to restore her stamina entirely by jumping towards enemies. Her jump itself is a fairly long-distance, very rapid fire, and fast enough to be hard to intercept. She becomes a hard-hitting Lightning Bruiser with the right combination of perks and her legendary talisman.
    • Volfred with his legendary talisman maxed out doubles his Blink distance, making him capable of locking down the Celestial Orb, blinking up to grab it, making himself and his allies immune for a strikingly long time, and then flash-teleporting across the map in as few as two blinks.
    • The Stowaway, since she has quite a few conditions that give her infinite stamina, an ability that increases her already considerable jump distance, and one that can make her reset to her location if she's banished upon landing.
    • Don't forget Ti'zo with a fully-upgraded Ha'ub's Wings: -100% cost to sprinting and flying!
  • Iron Woobie: The Stowaway's past was awful. She rarely ate because she didn't wanted to hurt animals and even then, ate as little as possible; she was all alone and her crime was simply being different, because the elite considered her a bother. She actually enjoys her time in the Downside more than at Commonwealth. Even Jodariel hugs her upon learning of her past and states she is stronger than some of the people she served with, specially since she keeps an always happy and cheerful outlook on life.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Several of the exiles. Ultimately, they were sent to an awful place for small offenses and are now striving to survive due to Commonwealth's tyrannical laws.
    • Lendel is a dirty cop who spends every Rite threatening you and just being a jerk, but if he is left in the Downside, he will spend his days in a futile attempt to find a way out.
    • Despite being the leader of a Religion of Evil, seeing Udmildhe's faith completely broken and she desperately asking Yslach for help can be heart-breaking. The dialogue prompt afterwards seems to also agree.
    > May The Scribes Have Mercy
    • Sandra, from the moment you meet her, is sarcastic, insulting, and condescending towards you and the rest of the Nightwings. However, it quickly becomes clear that her bitterness is simply born from the loneliness of being sealed in the Beyonder Crystal for centuries and being repeatedly abandoned by former Nightwings once they were finished using it. She also laments that, despite (or perhaps due to) being imprisoned together for so long, she and her triumvirate have grown more distant rather than close, so even among her fellow Beyonders she's still alone. Fortunately, she defrosts significantly if you spend time with her.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Sandra with a female reader, particularly her Defrosting Ice Queen moments with her and her habit of calling the Reader "lovely Reader" when talking.
      • Becomes extremely blatant at the end if you take her crystal with you, and choose to "humor her" during the Epilogue. The narration describes your true relationship as "licentious".
    • A reader of any gender can, at one point, declare their attraction to Jodariel. She'll turn you down, mostly because of the situation, but still.
    • Volfred and Oralech behave like two exes who broke up often. So much that their interactions in the ending where both are in the Downside and rebuild their relationship might seem like a New Old Flame. In that ending, they will be described as having been "seldom seen traveling separate" and often been seen together. It will also be pointed out that the details of the conversation they had to rebuild their relationship was private and never revealed to others, leaving space for romantic interpretations.
  • Love to Hate: The Voice. The fact that your victories tick him off makes them that much sweeter.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: "Noxsalas!" The triple cheer of your team when you win a rite, especially since it signifies their ability to work as one.
    • The sound cue when your exile gains a mastery rank.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Withdrawn's first fight can be this. First, you will invariably have to walk through Flagging Hands, meaning you get to the rite with a loss of Hope, and then, you have Udmildhe's violent Spread Shot. They become far easier after several other bosses start using Spread Shot and especially easy if you take Bertrude's side-quest to break her, which results in a permanent loss of 5 Hope.
    • The Tempers are probably the most dangerous opponents in the Ritual, and will fight against you with a dangerous teamcomp that can really mess you up if you aren't careful. If Ignarius douses your pyre, he takes off a whopping 40 health, and he's the only other demon you'll definitely face in the competition aside from Oralech.
    • The Essence can be incredibly frustrating in a liberation rite: their all-Harp team punishes defensive play and when they Turn Red, they begin starting play from midfield, exacerbating their incredible offense.
  • That One Sidequest: Ti'zo's trial is particularly difficult due to his nature as a Support Party Member with 15 damage a pop who is sent up against three opponents. His legendary amulet is worth the toil, but it is a pain to earn, especially compared to the other trials.
  • The Scrappy: Falcon Ron. He is annoying to most players, attempt to guilt trip the player into buying his stuff and has an unnervingly annoying voice. At one point, trying to give him a ride through Flagging Hands , he will piss everyone off so much they will get to the rite with -5 Glory.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Unlike previous games, the Titan Stars are borderline useless for actual rewards, as the only reward is extra experience, and leveling up isn't a great challenge ( especially since the Nightwings are a Dwindling Party), so they exist purely for extra challenge. Downplayed in the True Nightwings difficulty as from the very first rite you are required to turn on a certain amount of Titan Stars with the required number increasing as the story progresses.
    • Likewise, much of the Talismans available are obsoleted by the character specific Talismans unlocked through Sandra's trials; some items are better, but the character specific Talismans offer bonuses that are exceptionally hard to pass up. This can render the entire process of inventory management and Talisman hunting just a way to farm more Stardust to upgrade Talismans instead of using the dozens of other options.
  • The Woobie: A lot of the exiles were sentenced for crimes that, ultimately, were the right thing to do.
    • Pamitha was sentenced for trying to stop her Blood Knight sister peacefully by cooperating with the Commonwealth, but was thrown in with her after trying to argue for her safety. This act has destroyed the relationship she had with her sister, and has turned the latter into a vengeful warrior hellbent on returning to the Commonwealth. If you face The Essence during an Ascension Rite, she even mentally begs for her sister to win as the guilt has become nigh-unbearable.
    • Jodariel was convicted for freeing Harp children from execution.
    • Then there's you. You were banished simply because you knew how to read.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Oralech, one of the original Nightwings who was nearly killed after his former friend tried to steal his place at the Liberation Rite. Aside from the fact that it didn't work and the chance was wasted, his only remaining friends Ti'Zo and Volfred are unaware he was still alive and looking for vengeance until MANY years later. He still wants to defeat you and take his vengeance, but you can't really hate him much after hearing his life story.
    • Erisa. Her past doesn't justify her actions, but did she suffer. At one point, all the hatred Volfred felt for her turned into pity after re-evaluating what she was put through. Her brother was forced into the military, where he died and she was forced to become her father's apprentice, whose grief over the death of his son made him lash out at her by forcing her to work to impossible degrees. He kept abusing her for unknown amount of time before she finally lashed out and killed him, which got her exiled and forced to fight for survival.
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