Sable: Difficult task to face the analysis of a game with many virtues that is spoiled by its unfortunate optimization on the console. More than ever, dear Meri users, we thank you for reading our analysis instead of just looking at the note and the positive and negative points section. Because Sable’s is a delicate case. And while we can not recommend its purchase on Xbox One in its current state (its biggest burdens are solvable via patch), we want to record all the gold that glitters under its tremendous optimization. Maybe it is not your game today, but after reading this text, it is possible that it will be tomorrow.
A world where to lose and lose oneself
Sable introduces us to a desert planet and a girl, who belongs to a nomadic tribe, beginning her initiation ceremony to maturity. It is therefore a journey of discovery. In our case, the players, not only of the protagonist, but also of the world that she inhabits. In the measured initial environment, closed to serve as a tutorial, we see small wooden boats shabby and worn by the years and the eternal punishment of the sand. That was long ago a lake, or maybe even a sea.
We visit ancient temples while in the distance we see what looks like a ship beached between dunes and rocks. When we go out on our floating motorbike into the vastness of the world, those crashed ships grow in size and protrude with their rounded backs on the profile of the horizon. Some, more deteriorated after their fall from the skies, cut out the blinding light of the sun with their sharp and bare ribs clean of their metal skin. Was there a great battle in orbit decades ago, and the vanquished were left to their fate on this forgotten planet? Cemeteries of metal and cemeteries of bones, both coexisting in silence and harmony.
Some questions are answered throughout our journey and, as with good mysteries, at the same time new unknowns are returned to us. Surprisingly, the atomic engines of those huge metal cetaceans still throb with the force necessary to open some doors, move platforms and make neon pulses. Artificial intelligences do not understand why they are no longer good for anything, and logbooks tell us about the desperation of the last moments before being shot down. And there we have another great asset of Sable, in how it is written.
The calligraphy between the pansies and the dunes
The conversations we have with the NPCs are surprising for two reasons. In them the protagonist always expresses herself with her thoughts before responding. It is something that slows down the dialogue, of course, but at the same time offers us depth about the character’s way of reasoning. Her answers do not have to agree with her internal elucubration, and it allows us to better understand her way of seeing the world and others. It is also dazzling that everything is so well written. This can be a handicap for those who do not speak English (the game is not, for now, localized to Spanish), since the use made here of the language is much richer than in what we usually play.
Just look at who has been in charge of that part of the narrative to see that all the pieces fit together. Meghna Jayanth has to her credit the more than 750,000 words that she wrote for the narrative game 80 Days, for which she received a BAFTA nomination and the highest recognition in the awards given by the Writers Guild of Great Britain in the Video Games section ( yes, there, as in so many other places, they are years ahead of us). The author also helped raise the lore of Horizon Zero Dawn and enriched the flooded Sunless Sea with her imagination. The good conjunction between what is breathed in the game and the harnesses that support it and make it possible is more than evident. Yes, one of the great pillars of Sable is built on solid words.