The adventure genre is well represented in Stray, sharing many characteristics with other games in the genre. In order to avoid encountering powerful foes, you will need to solve puzzles, maneuver through a crowded urban setting, and make use of stealth. You can make friends with the various characters, and you can gather various items. However, there is one significant distinction between Stray and other games of its era: in Stray, you take control of a cat. That may sound like a minor variation or perhaps a gimmick, but in reality, the shift in perspective makes Stray feel like a wholly new and original experience. You are still in a large and complicated world, but now you are looking up at it from a lower vantage point. Everything, from the riddles to the adventure, is affected by these modifications. And when you consider that it also features a tale that vacillates between feelings of happiness and sadness, and even on occasion horror, you have one of the most impressive video games released this year to yet.
Stray is a video game in which the player assumes the role of an unnamed cat that, at the beginning of the game, finds itself separated from its other feline pals and thrown into an underground realm populated by robots instead of people. Getting back to the surface is the initial and most straightforward objective. However, rather quickly, the objective morphs into something else entirely. At some point, a lovely drone with the name B12 will join you, and at that point, the mysteries of the world will begin to pile up. As you make your way to the surface, you physically work your way up through the strata of the robot civilization. Along the way, you find out not just more about the lives and history of the robots, but also more about what the heck happened to humans. On top of that, there are the zurks, which are a mystery swarm of monsters that resemble bugs and can consume virtually anything. This includes the robots, which are the reason why the machines are confined to the many different underground slums, as well as the adorable small cats.
System Requirements Suggested for the Stray Video Game
If you meet these requirements, you will be able to play the game at its maximum capacity, which is not that much higher than the minimum settings. The suggested specifications are not that much larger than the minimum settings. These also feature Windows as the operating system, a 64-bit processor, and either a Ryzen 5 or an i5 processor from the 8th generation. In addition, you need to have 10 GB of free space, 8 GB of RAM, and a graphics card that’s at least 3 GB in size. The following is a complete list of the requirements that are suggested for a PC:
- OS: Windows 10 (Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system)
- Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 | AMD Ryzen 5 2600
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780, 3 GB | AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4 GB
- DirectX: Version 12
- Storage: 10 GB available space
In addition to that, the narrative offers an interesting spin on the stereotypical mute main character. It makes fitting that your hero in this game never speaks because, well, it’s a cat. This is in contrast to Link from The Legend of Zelda, for example. In Stray, you will occasionally be able to communicate with the help of a translation provided by your drone companion; nevertheless, the vast majority of the time, it will be your actions that will determine the outcome of the game. You can curry favor with the robots by performing favors both large and little for them. These favors can range from assisting a robo-grandmother in making a warm poncho out of electrical lines to reuniting a father and son by navigating perilous sewers full of zurks. The plot of Stray isn’t particularly long — I completed the game in around seven hours — but it manages to cover a lot of ground in that time, with topics ranging from economic disparity to environmental catastrophe, not to mention the all-too-important outcome of what happens to the cat itself.
The musical composition known as Stray can seamlessly transition between several different genres, depending on the circumstances. As a young player, you spend a significant portion of your time early on finding out how to navigate a city with a lot of verticality when you are a small cat. The controls work a little differently than they would in a standard third-person adventure. While you have complete freedom of movement, the jump button is context-sensitive, meaning that you can only press it when you see an X appear on a ledge. It took me some time to get used to it, and it can slow things down when your life is on the line during an action sequence, but it also makes a great deal of sense. In Stray, getting around requires a lot of careful preparation as you navigate the perilous landscape, whether you’re climbing a structure or going down a narrow passageway. Watching a house cat slowly climb furniture and countertops in order to reach the top of a refrigerator is similar to this experience.
To get around requires not only careful route planning but also the resolution of a few environmental problems that are, on the whole, not too difficult to figure out. These could be as simple as knocking down a plank of wood to create a bridge, but more often than not, they are more involved, consisting of multiple steps that could require anything from repairing machines to scaring robots with a well-placed meow. For example, creating a bridge could be as simple as knocking down a plank of wood. (The sound of a meow can be elicited by pressing a certain button on the controller.) This isn’t a typical action game in which you have access to a wide variety of skills and powers. Because you do not own a weapon outside of a brief portion of the game, the only things you are able to do are run, jump, meow, and do various actions that are dependent on the current environment, such as scratching a door or knocking something off a shelf. Exploring this densely packed landscape in search of clues and working out the most effective method to progress given your current level of kitty expertise is the primary focus of the play. And although though some of these activities may be found in other games, the fact that you play as a cat with restricted options and a perspective from the ground makes them feel extremely different when you actually do them.
In spite of this, there are a few action sequences that, despite how brief they may be, contribute an essential amount of intensity to the whole experience. In the beginning of the game, you will have to face swarms of zurks, and the only way to defeat them is to either flee or make do with a very limited arsenal of weapons. These moments might be horrifying since they bring to mind the lethal swarming of rats in the 2019 film A Plague Tale: Innocence, but they can also be annoying because of the same reason. There were a few instances in which I found myself dying over and over again until I was able to learn the patterns of the bugs and devise a strategy for a safe exit. It seemed more tedious than it did grueling, albeit these moments were uncommon, and the game has a very generous checkpoint system, so you are never forced to redo significant chunks of the game. However, it was rare that these moments occurred. Later on, the action switches to stealth, and in order to go into other locations, you have to entirely avoid robots at all costs. (The obvious solution to this problem is to hide in cardboard boxes.)
You go back and forth between these different action and adventure sequences, and the pacing of everything in Stray is probably the most stunning aspect of the game overall. I never had the impression that I was required to spend an excessive amount of time on any one activity. If a certain aspect of the game became tedious for me — whether it was evading the zurks or jumping from rooftop to rooftop — I was able to skip over it and move on to another part of the game. The same can be said about the tale. It seems like a straightforward mission to return home at first, but as you go through the many levels of the robot world and gain more insight into this potentially plausible future, the stakes, on both a personal and an existential level, become significantly higher. The resolution is both moving and heartbreaking.
If you want it to be, the experience will also provide you with plenty of opportunities for silent reflection. Stray allows you a lot of free time to do nothing but be a cat. You are free to ruin carpets and couches, create a complete mess of a board game that is still being played, or do whatever you want while lying down on a sleeping robot for as long as you please. It may be necessary to perform some of these activities in order to complete certain puzzles, but the vast majority of the time, they have no purpose other than to be entertaining distractions that help you get into the mindset of a cat. One of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in a video game is the moment when the cat puts on its harness for the very first time.
Stray is a game that encourages you to take your time, but it doesn’t allow you outstay your welcome. I was unable to put it down and ended up playing through it all in only two sittings because I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going to happen next. When you combine that meticulously structured narrative with gameplay that allows you to meow on command, you get an experience that satisfies a want I didn’t even realize I had until I had it.
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