We keep (almost) no secrets from our readers. We like to share our joys and our hardships with you. It�s a hard life being a gamesreporter, a very hard life. That one particular Monday-morning for instance: get up at the crack of dawn (= 06u20), shower, dress, pack the laptop and digital camera, drive to downtown Brussels and hop onto a train� to Paris� 1st class. Breakfast on board included (with a nice cool white wine, of course). Aaaah, such a hard life.
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As you�ve already gathered, one of the perks of this business is the occassional presstrip. On todays program: an hour-long demonstration of Sudeki, Climax� upcoming RPG Xbox-exclusive title. Talking to us �and thus to you- will be Tuomas Pirinen, none other than Climax� lead-designer on this action-packed game.
But first� a short yet exciting taxi-ride through downtown Paris followed by a small brunch. Did I already mention that us reporters lead a hard life ? Anyway, we immediately got the chance to play Sudeki on several so-called debug* Xbox� � not the final version, but build 03.00.25.0711.1. And now�s the time to let you in on a little secret: from the moment I decided to go on this trip, I was wondering if this game could convince me (a die-hard PC gamer, but an SSX3 & racegame fan on Xbox console).
First things first, of course, the tutorial. Often a necessary evil that we all prefer to skip but it’s a usefull one here. Not so much to learn how to master the controls, quite the contrary, the controls are surprisingly easy to handle � but to learn and master some moves you will need during your adventures. The controls are easy to handle, both for beginners as for console addicts and guiding your character is simple � which is important as you don�t want to hack & slash the wrong person.
In some levels, the 4 main characters (which are all playable) have to cooperate and like in other games, you can switch between characters at the push of a button. As you can expect from a quality-studio, the characters each have their own unique capabilities and moves. To master them is to master Sudeki.
The graphics weren�t 100% finished on this build, but gave us a good idea on what the finished product will look like. The demonstration by Tuomas (a younger, more recent build than the one we played) showed us what we had hoped for: sweet state-of-the-art graphics, a good saturation and above all a nice use of colors � which in my opinion is not that easy with an RPG. Much too often uncomplementary colours are (mis)used in RPGs, but the Climax artists have succeeded in choosing the right colours that radiate a warm yet eerie ambiance – it works! Thomae promised us even better graphics in the finished product.
Graphics bring us to the style of the game. The screenshots and characters have a good deal of Manga influence and although that strikes almost everybody as �odd�, Climax Studios gets away with it. Better yet, it�s new and quite refreshing. Thanks Allah they found a good balance between the Manga-look and the classic “we-are-all-doomed”-look.
A word on the NPC�s perhaps (the non-player characters). There are the �good� guys � e.g. villagers helping you out with info and warriors aiding you in your quest, but it�s the �bad� guys that are the most interesting. Why? Because this is one of those rare times that developers have put some decent time into them. Instead of just creating an evil-looking human-like person, you�ll be hacking and slashing quite an interesting array of demons, evil wizards, ogre-likes etc etc. I had the urge to walk around certain npc�s first to admire them� before killing them, of course.
The playable characters themselves are a bit Hong Kong manga style inspired. Here�s a small rundown:
- Tal : soldier-par-excellence
- Elco : lethal science officer
- Buki : an antropomorph hot female warrior
and my personal favorite
- Ailish : the spoiled princess mage
We have a character profile (pdf format) on all 4 of them and I really suggest you download them here. It�s not even 5mb but well worth your while! As soon as you open the profiles, you�ll notice the high quality of craftsmanship that went into the creation of these characters. So do yourself a favor � download, unzip and feast your eyes + curiosity. Included is a pdf with the complete Sudeki storyline. Its comprehensive, well written and interesting.
During Tuomas� presentation, he showed us some of the basic moves as well as the the more complex combat moves. What can I say � it was impressive, especially the so-called �bullet-time moves�(Matrix, remember?). What�s important to remember here too, is that you choose how your character will develop and how you build up skills, powers and a whole spells and weapons arsenal (btw: check out Ailish�s weapons on her profile page � sweeeeet).
A last word on the game should be dedicated to the �ambiance�. That�s what makes the difference between a good and a great RPG (better yet: game) to me. Based upon my carreer I television, I guess a lot of that depends on how things are going at the developers offices: good ambiance between the devs will translate to a good moodsetting in the game. Seems like they have an excellent gloomy yet joyfull and exiting mood there at Climax Studios.
I could write more, lots more, but that wouldn�t be too usefull. There�s too much to mention. Press-sessions like these are of course partially intended to convince journalists that the game is worth some attention. Well, they certainly have convinced me ! Can�t wait untill this one hits the stores.
*a ‘debug’ Xbox is an Xbox console that cannot play the regular finished version of a game but can play all ‘early’ builds of a game to test it.