Emmanuel Kwesiga

Salim Abubakar’s Tales of Kenzera: Zau Unlatches a New Era of Video Game Story and Gameplay Experience

Reflecting upon the loss of his dad 10 years ago and his Kenyan heritage, Abu’s new game sets out to captivate its players with a deep story of grief and African Mythology and legends al bundled up in an engaging gameplay experience and high-end visual work. 

The stories behind many videogames will grasp the player and of course the well designed and animated characters let the player live vicariously through them while experiencing the game. Yet miles away from the cliché villain stories that span many videogames, Tales of Kenzera: Zau brings with new a new era of gaming experience unpacking new video game stories.

The refreshing afro-futuristic setting will have you in a chokehold but the story line has got an even stronger grip. This game, to some who have been privileged to have played it already have felt its depth and experienced a whole new gaming encounter.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau is a new video game that was designed and produced by British actor Abubakar Salim known by many in the world of gaming to have played the protagonist of Assassin's Creed Origins. In this game however, Salim who in fact voices Zau and Zuberi takes us on a journey with his poignant production of the story.

Salim Abubakar is the founder of Surgent Studios where the game was created. Tales of Kenzera: Zau is a reflection upon Salim’s experience of losing his father Ali and it shines a bright light upon his Kenyan roots and highlights the Bantu culture which he holds dearest to his heart.

Throughout the game, which so many diasporic African gamers, black people and Africans in general have claimed to feel more recognized and heard within the game, players have developed a whole new appreciation for this new thing that Salim was able to put together. A new video game story gaming experience.

This deep grief story retold through a wholesome game play experience brings out the best action from Zau and Zuberi.

Jumping right into it, our protagonist Zau edged by two masks. One of the moon and the other of the sun which he needs to use throughout his fights in the afro-futuristic world – Kenzera.

The narrative here is quite broader than the grief that spurs two sons’ adventures into discovering specific tools from the past needed to level up in the present. It opens up a world of impossibilities and presents opportunities dressed up as challenges to enable them discover the sacred old paths to greatness. The narrative is that astutely mapped out.

The epic afro-futurist hyper-urban setting opens up with Zuberi a young man going through the Zau story as read from a book left back by his father prior to his fateful demise. The action only keeps getting better with a scenic flashback clip in which Zau’s cries out summoning Kalunga the god of death to bring his fallen father back to life. But when he appears a few seconds later, Kalunga comes bearing heavy hard-hitting tasks for Zau. Ending three great spirits is the price he has to pay to get his dad’s life.

Through deserts, jungles and all the fantastical scenes within the game, Zau and Kalunga progress towards putting meaning to the pain and death along the way and invaluable lessons that result from the fearlessness and endurance through the grief, loss and the intensity of the power therein.

The game’s mind blowing, entrancing and captivating futuristic space presents such a relatable and fulfilling gameplay experience. And to think that this game is the black panther of gaming is entirely wrong. However, the two do share the afro-futurist high tech setting. But for the most part it’s the black main characters. A black main character in a video game would have people calling it that, so fair to say.

Abu as many of his close friends love to call him focuses on the element of African mythology and legends told by the Bantu spread all over Africa.

Still, this setting depicts the old ways in which information got passed down generations in Africa. This is Abu’s story as he himself went through and experienced it.

All the eye-catching graphics and swaying scores are just a small piece of the whole cake. Tales of Kenzera: Zau is one of a kind and it opens a new era in video game story and gameplay experience.

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