Sudeki (Preview)

The Xbox RPG has been something of a rarity in the console’s long stay in the market but, as E3 rolled around, the future for all genres on the Xbox looked very promising, and Sudeki was just one of those thousand-watt bright spots in a shaded history of Xbox RPGing. Morrowind was the system’s claim to Role Playing Game fame, but porting it directly from the PC didn’t give the game a feel of a console bred title, and if you had all ready played it before the system’s release, there really was no true reason to play it again.

Sudeki, courtesy of Climax, a UK-based developer, is just one of the many Xbox RPG titles on its way to the shelves in the current year and in the year to come. The early build of Sudeki flashes its features and its promise while leaving a lot more to the ways of anticipation. Even in Sudeki’s early stages the game manages to show off its graphical capabilities in a flashy manner offering detailed level design and lush character models that blend well with the environment and add to a mythical, legendary feel. All the while tied into a story that’s above par for most RPGs of its kind, which gives gamers an added desire to give Sudeki some long hours.

Sudeki focuses on two war torn worlds, Hikaria and Kuria, both at each other’s proverbial throats. As the player, you’ll take on the role of four Hikarians, all of which are eventually thrown together in the mix as the game’s story progresses through with the use of good CG cut scenes and real-time cinemas that make more use of the game’s graphic engine. The game begins with you in the role of Tal, the son of a highly respected general, thusly, a ‘burden’ or ‘stature’ like that would make anyone want to prove themselves, especially when your world is at war, so Tal makes a point to do just that. Tal is first asked to investigate the appearance of a portal that allows demons to enter through it near an ancient temple. Well, that may seem like a daunting first task to take a hold of and it’s a very to the point task all in the same breath considering it leaves no mystery that the temple is under siege by a . . .portal that spits demons at you. The portal, as expected, is part of a greater happening going on in the world of Sudeki, and it adds to the story of the game as a whole, as well as the trials and tribulations that Tal will have to face as he progresses. As mentioned before, Tal will be joined by three other characters, the three of them are somewhat token in all respects, but have their own unique aura about them. Ailish, a young sorceress that’s a little on the large chested side; Elco, a gun wielding scientist, and Buki, a half-beast half-human hybrid that’s adept in the ways of the snap kick. It’ll be your duty to guide these four characters through around 16 levels, or locales, and three different realms including light, dark, and shadow. Figuring out what’s going on in this war torn world is the main goal, however, without being able to reveal much of the game’s story in its early stages.

Sudeki gives off a very tried and true feel to the RPG genre. Your exploration will take you in search of the next thing that’s going to trigger the rest of the adventure, whether that be character interaction, dialog, or a certain amount of combat. The exploration and the interaction is all on the basic side, but the combat system is, well, refreshingly fresh? It’s seen that Climax has spent some time trying to keep the combat from becoming trite as the hours you spend on the game go by, ensuring that you’ll continue to want to play without cringing during “yet another” battle. The fresh combat system is largely attributed to the basic attacks that are broken down into three different groups. Physical attack, which is of the melee and ranged variety; magic, which is also counted as skills for the more melee driven characters of the game, and spirit strikes. Physical attacks have benefited from the usage of combos instead of your one button hack and slash, The A and B button tapped in different order and a different rate of succession will help you to pull off different combos and attacks. The Magic system is another simply mapped out way to attack, as the Y button brings up a menu for you to select your spells from, which then allows you to simply target your desired opponent and fire away. The basic the better in this game, however, as any indepth or confusing way to cast magic would give a character or two in your party a less important feel to them as they would barely be able to be used or played as. The spirit strikes, as one would guess, are a very powerful version of an attack and can only be executed when the spirit meter is full. Working much like Final Fantasy’s Limit Breaks, taking damage, performing combos and delivering the killing blow to an enemy are all ways your spirit meter will fill. When said meter is full, the attack is unleashed by using two or more of your party members to call upon, you guessed it, a spirit. The more party members that are used for a spirit strike the stronger it will ultimately become. The strikes get more unique and strengthen in numbers as your party gains experience points, and as the strikes get higher levels they’ll be able to do a ridiculous amount of damage–wiping out most normal enemies in one strike. However, the way you use these team strikes is up to you and your party members’ artificial intelligence. The AI can be changed in certain areas to your liking, giving the party members an aggressive feel etc, and the partying system is similar to Kingdom Hearts, although you’ll be able to take control of any party member at any given time. Which ever character is more to your liking in a particular moment.

As you may have derived from the explanations above, all the combat in Sudeki is in real time, but the one quirk in the real time combat of the game is that you won’t be able to pause during combat sequences. As a matter of fact, any menus that are opened during the game’s combat won’t stop the enemies’ advancement, rather, it will slow it down a little so you’ll have enough time to get your bearings on what you’d like to select. This is both a burden and a blessing, though, considering there will be times when you’ll need to pause the game to a complete halt for whatever reasons, and if you’re in the middle of a battle that just won’t be possible. Granted, the slow down menus are a nice touch and add a bit of a strategic element, but they’ll be somewhat of a nuisance just as many times as they’ll be a credible feature.

As stated above, the graphics are rich and breathtaking, and it’s obvious that Climax has a very ambitious art team trying to create such imaginative worlds and port them to life on the screen. They’ve had a lot of time to create these worlds, and once they’re able to be seen in their full glory (hopefully) we’ll see that none of that time was wasted by slacking off.

The voice acting is solid, but at times it can seem a bit stiff. Climax will most likely put the finishing polish on the audio as a whole, including the voice acting, the sound effects, and the musical score. (Editor’s Note: The acoustic guitar track in the trailer demo is amazing!) As a whole, though, and for the early build that it is, the sound is solid in every aspect and can only be improved as it arrives at the latter stages of development. Sudeki is set for release later on this year–around late November to early December.

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