This is a transcript excerpt covering the score awarded to Stray on the So Videogames podcast, episode 293: The Radcliffe Train.


REVIEW TRANSCRIPT

1:12:03

BRAD: So, Stray. we saw videos of this and you were hooked from the jump. You were like, I gotta play that. This is where all I know is you’re a cat. And that’s all I know about it. And you’re in the city and look pretty cool. So you’ve got a code from the developer. Thank you very much to the developer. Thank you. You’re a cat. And that’s all I know. So please, fill us in on everything. Although don’t spoil any spoilers because we are still under embargo for story spoilers. But tell us about the game itself. Stray. What’s up with being a cat?

1:12:33

CARLOS: Oh, wait, how much story? Can I explain?

1:12:37

BRAD: I can’t say it out loud. Don’t say anything about your companion. Don’t talk about that. And don’t talk about anything past the first couple levels. We’re probably fine.

1:12:48

CARLOS: Oh, wait a minute. So I… Okay. This is like, in real time on the podcast, readjusting my idea for review. I can do it. Because that’s what we do.

BRAD: You can do it I believe in you.

CARLOS: I finished the game by the way. I finally did it.

BRAD: How long was it?

CARLOS: I don’t know. I didn’t really care. I like put it down for a while because I didn’t want it to be over. And I felt myself doing you know, a lot of stuff. And I think I did it with like, five or six sittings — six evenings, probably or something. Okay, so maybe like 10 hours, maybe something like that. There’s more to do than I did. You know, that kind of thing where there’s all these little mini side missions? There’s not a ton of side missions, or just smaller things you could go looking for. And I didn’t, because I really wanted to know the story. And but anyways, I finished the game. Was it last night, I think? And I go, that was a perfect game. Oh, shit. That’s it. It’s 10 out of 10. It’s a perfect game.

There’s like, literally a couple cons I’ll say at the end that are not spoilery. And it’s a perfect game. Now the first thing and why I was always interested in this game, is there’s so many games I played, we both played, as cats. I’m a big fan of cats. And I’m a big fan of playing cat RPGs and any kind of game you can — cat simulator. I played all of them, probably. But this one is the most realistic depiction of a cat period. Now that might just sound like ah, that’s interesting. But no, it’s really difficult to do even to the fact that like, if the cat just standing there, you can see it like breathing little, you know, little cat breaths. Or if it decides to curl up next to something it does it in a very cat way everything is cat. It’s like a perfect cat simulator. When it comes to the body of the cat. Also, it feels so intuitive to walk around and move as a cat. It’s crazy. The game starts, which I can talk about, and you’re with a bunch of other cats and before you get separated from them and the actual story starts. But it starts in the most perfect way. Like, you’re under like this bridge area and it’s like raining out and it’s very relaxing because you’re instantly just relaxed. I feel like and you’re moving a cat around and you’re like you can hit triangle the play with the other cats. And you just like go up to them and do different things. And you can take a nap and you just like, take a nap by the rain. And I was like, if it was just this, it’d be fine. You know, you’re

1:15:10

still in.

1:15:10

I’m still in. But of course, what happens is you get separated from your cat friends. And it shows you kind of like mini tutorial, how to jump around to things and stuff like that and the environment. And then you enter the city, which is the main game, which I don’t even have to talk about much because it’s cyberpunk style, futuristic city.

BRAD: Yeah, we saw that in the trailer

CARLOS: And there’s, you know, mainly like a lot of robots there, which is also in the trailers. …There are a lot of great ideas here, and what you go through in the adventure is just awesome. But without spoiling, Stray is really just about just the beautiful, intuitive experience of being a cat. And even down to the fact that like, anywhere you aim, you’re like, you know, your vision, you’ll see like a little x if you can jump to it. And it’s weird, because you know, cats can jump up unnaturally high or something, they can go really far, further than you would think further when you think you’re like — I can’t get up to there. But I can’t can you know, and so the cat will like, look up and then you’ll be able to get to these crazy places. So a lot of verticality, right, going up buildings and stuff like that. But even things like you know, of course, the first thing you do is you run up to a table and you hit something off of it as a cat, because it’s funny.

1:16:25

BRAD: Okay, I’m out. I’m out.

1:16:27

CARLOS: I shouldn’t have told you that one. You’re all… because you’re mad at the cats.

BRAD: Yeah, yes.

1:16:32

I have just a side note. I’ve we’ve had cats before. And I gotta say it is. It is so enraging to me when a cat like, knocks something off or like, you know, knock something off the shelf or shoves something over, I just I can’t deal with it. And we don’t have cats anymore. So right this is my outpoint.

1:16:50

CARLOS: I get it. But it’s not about that this — the game is not about that. But it is also again, this really just cool. Like, there’s a lot of little physics in the world. So you can like move around objects and hit things and things will fall off. I have a little series of video collection I will be showing once this podcast is up on Twitter. And I just captured all these moments that felt really good. But yeah, it’s hard to explain without saying more story stuff, why I like it. But I will say that the story is super engaging. It all just feels like just I don’t know, like perfect, and it doesn’t overstay. It’s welcome, right? That’s the biggest thing right? When it wrapped, I was like, yep, that’s the story. I totally get it now. It felt good and felt fun the whole time.

The only mini con is that there is no map. And it almost goes together with like the fiction of the world. Because you’re a cat. Like it would be weird. I guess if you’re looking checking a map all the time. A cat can’t map. And so I got lost a couple of times, but the environments that you’re in, there’s many different ones. They’re not too huge. So you know, you can just backtrack. And then there’s also like, points where they don’t tell you specifically what to do. So you have to figure things out sometimes. But other than that, there’s a couple of points that stuck out.

But graphically, it is stunning. Like, yeah, just on par with anything else I think is like an impressive PS5 showcase. Because the coloring, so different, you know, the varied levels. You’re in some dank sewer, it’s dark, and it’s beautiful and dark at the same time grotesque. And the fidelity is there. Everything is just awesome. Bright colors, and then oranges. And yeah, everything just feels great. The cities feel alive. And now I’m like, again, stuck, because I can’t talk more about the story.

1:18:44

BRAD: Well, let me let me ask you a question. Because I know we’ve kind of hamstrung you. I know that, you know, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. We’re still under embargo. That was part of the… you know, we have to agree to certain things before we can get code. And that was one of them, is we can’t talk about very specific things in the story. And I know that probably makes it very difficult to talk about what makes this game good. But as someone who doesn’t know a lot about this game, let me just ask you a couple questions. And so without spoiling anything, it seems to me like if I understand you correctly, so you’re just playing a cat, and you’re just like wandering around the city doing stuff. I mean, is there can you describe it without spoilers, like any kind of like mission structure? I mean, what are you doing besides walking around as a cat? I mean, jumping on stuff. What else are you doing?

1:19:24

CARLOS: Yeah, that’s important. I can talk about some of the mechanics I’m sure. That’s fine. Yeah, it’s okay. So at some point, you know, and this isn’t the trailer to… it’s what was interesting to me is that you gain abilities. So, you know, you’re basically in… what’s the word, I can think of interacting with the environment in different ways. So it’s not just you just jumping on things and hitting things. Although that’s always funny to me. There’s one story part which I’m not telling the story, but you have to like knock out this panel and get at these wires. It’s a very cat thing to do. You know, again, annoying cat thing, but I’m the cat this time so it was not annoying because you thought “Yeah, so I’m like biting up all these wires because I have to”, you know, and there’s actually like a thing to scratch. And by the way, you can do that almost anywhere, like on couches and stuff. And I like totally did it. And I was like, this is what I thought — my cat was an asshole for. But now I’m doing it. It’s funny. Yeah, there’s a lot of cat things you could do it the environment.

1:20:20

I was just thinking, like, I wonder if your cat thinks it’s funny, like, you know, like, they must think it’s funny because they do it all the time. They think they put you inside the cat’s brain like, oh, this is hilarious. I’m gonna knock this guy’s drink.

1:20:29

They’re really doing this to… fuck, I don’t know, there’s a lot of that in this game. You know, even like some cathartic stuff. Like, there’s just like a rug, there’s like different rugs. And they can just like, you scratch it just because you want to or like there’s a tree and you can scratch the tree. And there’s, you know, haptic feedback. So it feels good to do it. But to the point, it is really kind of story driven, there are more things you can do interact with the environment, that really are about like gameplay stuff. So it’s not just running around as a cat, like you have, like, things you do in the environment.

1:20:59

BRAD: Can you give us like a basic like overview, like I’m still kind of struggling to feel like… to kind of place this on my brain? Like, give us like a rundown of like, one of the early missions, like what is what is a typical mission?

1:21:08

CARLOS: I can if I can’t talk about the companion… Okay, well, I will say this, you can like, there are like enemies kind of. There’s like monsters that live in this world. Not big monsters or anything, but they’re just kind of annoying things like rodents. Okay, and so they are around, definitely the very beginning of the game. And, you know, essentially, you’re just running from them, you know, those kinds of running missions for a while, in the happens in games where you can’t fight yet, but later on, you can fight a bit. So let’s just say the cat can fight back. And so that’s a really cool mechanic, which I can’t talk about, but it’s…

1:21:42

BRAD: Iis there like actual, like combat sections where you’re like scratching rats and stuff?

1:21:46

CARLOS: I can’t talk about it. Now I again, I am hamstrung. But I will say this, there’s definitely like combat. And it’s kind of throughout the game, you know, it’s just like kind of when it makes sense. And that’s really what I want to stress here is that everything works in context of the story. So as you’re going from place to place and meeting different robots and different story bits are being revealed, you feel like the mechanics match it, you know, here’s a good example, this is nothing that’s spoilery, you’re in a club one time, and you like have to like, get to a certain area of the club, like the VIP section. But you’re a cat and you could jump different places. But you still can’t get to this one room, what you have to do is, you know, do things with levers, jumping on levers to make automated things go up and down, get someone to run at you and yell at you or something and you get up into the rafters and then it’s kind of platform me, right. And you’re hitting different buttons to get to different platforms to get to that section. So that just happens in that environment in this club. But I don’t think ever did that again. You know, like that, that specific style of puzzle solving.

1:22:53

BRAD: So there’s probably like, the, the variety is pretty good? Like you’re always doing something new?

1:22:57

CARLOS: Yeah. I mean, it’s attached to the idea of running a jumping on things for sure. But they all feel like it makes sense within the in the environment. And also, again, back to story stuff I can’t talk about there are things where you’re collecting things for people, you know. And you know, by doing that, you’re getting new stuff. I can’t say shit about this game, but it is fucking great. And it is a perfect game, I believe 100%. And I think there’s anything wrong with it. I think all the mechanics work. And the only thing I wrote down two cons. One was a map. One was the map. The other one was the end of the game. I wanted to keep playing, because I just love and adore these controls. And it’s over over. So you can’t go back and mess around. And I’m not going to do that bullshit. Like it’s, you know, one playthrough for me is canon. So I’m not gonna go through and like, oh, like the little little things I didn’t know. It’s a beautiful, beautiful ending that I will talk about someday on this podcast. But that’s it, you know, credits roll, and you can’t go back. So I was like, I want to just be in a free environment and run around and this cat, but I can.

1:24:04

BRAD: Well, you know, it’s unfortunate that we’re cutting this so close to the embargo. This is a really good intro. You know, if you want, we can probably I mean, I bet when a week goes by, we’ll be fine to talk about whatever. We just can’t talk about it like initially. So let’s just play it safe for now. And if you want to bring it back to the show next week and talk about you know, maybe like a brief intro for the show, spoiler section or something, I will probably do my best to play this game this coming week. So, you know, maybe I’ll want to talk about it. Maybe we can kind of tag team and revisit it with less, less restrictions on the spoilers. I mean, I feel like you’re… I feel like there are very big chunks of this game that you’re not talking about, which you can’t talk about to be fair. Yeah. So maybe we should come back on this in a week. And we can you know, pull the curtain back and talk more about the things you’re not mentioned.

1:24:48

CARLOS: That is perfect because until then I will be like frustrated. Just be sitting here my room not rocking back and forth. I need to talk about it and like, it’s a huge thumbs up, right? I mean, it called it it’s a perfect game. I don’t say that ever.

BRAD: Yeah, you don’t say that often.

CARLOS: I don’t really. I feel like you won’t like it as much again, you’re already kind of like bias. You don’t like cats.

BRAD: That’s, that’s true. I gotta get past my cat dislike, but it will be interesting.

CARLOS: You come back, we’ll come back next week, we’ll talk about it spoilery I won’t spoil, like the ending for you if you don’t want but

1:25:23

BRAD: All right, well, cool. Let me um, I mean, if it’s only like eight or 10 hours, I mean, if I if I click with it, I can probably try to find the time this week. We’ll see. I mean, that’s, I don’t know if it’s possible. You know, I’m pretty busy. But we’ll do what I can. I will definitely start it this week. And let’s come back to it next week. And I’m sure by that time, we will be more free to talk about the other aspects of the game that you haven’t mentioned so far. Okay. And we’ll just we’ll circle back.

1:25:43

CARLOS: All right. I love it. I love it.


So Videogames Stray Official Score: 10/10

Developer: Blue12

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive

Platform Reviewed: PS5

ESRB Rating: E10+

Colorblind Modes: None

Subtitles: There is text in-game, but the text is not resizable. Audio mostly serves aesthetic purposes and is not needed for gameplay, as there are no spoken dialogues. Audio cues are not needed for gameplay. Stray is fully accessible.

Remappable controls: Controls are remappable.

Brad Gallaway
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