Whether it is birthdays, Christmas or even the anniversary of your favourite games, things that come around once a year have a habit of making you notice just how much time flies. It seems hard to believe that Ember Lab's delightful Kena: Bridge of Spirits is already celebrating its first anniversary, affectionately called Kenaversary, but here we are.
Just like a birthday though, this is an anniversary that comes with plenty of gifts in the form of a free update that is available to all players right now. Kena: Bridge of Spirits v2.0 brings some significant changes that revamp many areas of the game. These include new gameplay features like New Game+, Spirit Guide Trial challenges, brand new upgrades and equipable abilities, as well as extra difficult levels and a host of accessibility options.
- KENA // A NEW CHALLENGE -
Take on the new modes and you can unlock in-game collectibles, more Rot hats, and a selection of lovingly crafted outfits for Kena herself. Naturally, these will be appealing to virtual photographers looking to add some fresh style to their shots, and once unlocked, are all accessible in the Enhanced Photo Mode.
- KENAVERSARY UPDATE // EMBER LAB -
If anything, that "Enhanced" title is underselling the changes that have been made to the photo mode as this is surely one of the biggest post-launch updates that any existing photo mode being treated to so far.
Along with the option to change outfits, select a staff variant, and toggle the visibility of the Hero Rot, there are now 19 poses to choose from for the main character. Much like the existing Cheese! function, each one is beautifully animated and well suited Kena's personality.
It is also now possible to hide the UI, finally enabling PNG captures via the Create / SHARE button, and the camera itself has been given an all new Camera Path Mode that can be used to create a smooth and automated camera movement between two points. Think of it as something similar to the Tracking Shot feature found in Ghost of Tsushima that is great for creating cinematic panning shots, especially with the environmental animations activated.
- KENA // LIGHTING -
Undoubtedly the biggest news though, is the addition of a whole new lighting tab found in the photo mode settings. Here, you get to select from any one of 11 pre-configured lighting rigs that are all trained on Kena to quickly add a totally new dimension to the shot. While there is control over the brightness and colour temperature, it is not possible to alter the lighting direction beyond that of the predefined setup.
This may not have the same flexibility of a fully customisable 3-point setup like those in Marvel's Spider-Man or The Last of Us Part I, but the configurations are excellent and show some of Ember Lab's cinematic pedigree and clever ideas, such as the slatted shadows of a Venetian blind and an animated disco effect.
- KENA // LIGHTING -
Added lighting options always make a huge difference to any photo mode, and the same is true here, especially in the game's darker areas and caves. What sets Kena: Bridge of Spirits apart though, is how accessible these advance options still are and, what they lack in customisation, they more than make up for with appeal to photographers of all ages and abilities.
Kena has always been an easy game to recommend, and this update might just put it right back to the top of the list.
Anniversary Update v2.0 - Full Patch Notes -
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