E3: RPGFan takes a walk with Priest
05.16.03 - 3:18 PM

Very few gamers may recognize the name JCEntertainment, the Korean-based company responsible for the MMORPG Red Moon among others. At this year's E3, they debuted their upcoming "hard-gore" wild west MMORPG, Priest.

In the Frontier Era, explorers and adventurers set out west to find their fortunes and their futures. Across harsh deserts and vast plains, these were the days when civilization was an illusion and the Wild was omnipresent. Some say this was a barbaric time, where might-made-right and justice was a myth for those not strong enough to defend themselves from the wilderness. It was as if the Almighty himself had turned his eyes away from mankind. In Priest, that's exactly what's happened.

In this time, the archangel Temozarela has gathered his forces for an assault on the entire human race. With his army of twisted, flesh-eating Heretics, the dark angel would swoop over the landscape, cleansing it with fire and blood to create his new world order. But like all tales, there were those that would oppose him. A resurrected priest, Ivan Isaacs, would stand against the forces of darkness as mankind's defender, but he would not stand alone. At his side would rally the forces of light, his mysterious Templars.

Into this struggle players will be thrust, to fight for the side of mankind as a Templar, or for the downfall of the human race as a Heretic. Priest offers the action of a 3rd person shooter/slasher in an enormous multiplayer online world with the character customization and interaction of an RPG.

Priest will feature eight different character classes, each with individual attacks, special techniques and spells. The game will also feature weapon customization and an assortment of firearms, blades, armor and equipment. The game will support single player, player vs. player and team faction vs. faction warfare as the Templars and Herectics battle over "spiritual" locations across 48 different environments.

The gameplay in Priest is executed in real-time and plays as most action RPGs do. The demo we were shown illustrated both ranged and close combat melee. There were a variety of ranged specials and mid-air combination moves that were executed instantaneously in the middle of fierce combat. Some of the abilities were quite gruesome, such as the Herectic's ability to eat the flesh of their fallen victims to regenerate their health or evolve and reform their limbs. To say this game is gory is an understatement. Hacking and slashing will sever limbs and tear flesh. It was not uncommon to see the ground saturated by blood within moments into a fight. Vanquished enemies were usually left as a pile of moist chunks in the sand. It goes without saying that Priest will receive an "M" rating when released in North America.

Priest features a proprietary 3D engine that appeared to capture the warped vision of their character designer, a former tattoo artist, perfectly. Outside of the city areas, which were looming and foreboding, the playfields were rather sparse but the action was intense. Priest will also feature some dynamic weather changes based on the tide of battle - if the Herectics are winning, players will see the sky darken and clouds twist and warp accordingly.

Fans of darkly themed games, massively multiplayer gameplay, and a penchant for disembowelment will be right at home with Priest. JCEntertainment is currently running the game in beta in Korea and is still in the process of finding a North American publisher. Here are the minimum system requirements for the game:

OS: Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP
CPU: Pentium III or AMD Athlon 600 Mhz or higher
RAM: 128MB or higher
Video Card: TNT2, Geforce 2 MX 200, ATI Radeon 7200 (32MB or above)
HDD: 500MB or higher
DirectX: 8.1 or higher
Internet Acess: 56Kbps or higher

While hardly wholesome, we did find a great deal of originality in the title and the action was morbidly gratifying. RPGFan will keep you posted with more news on Priest as it becomes available. Until then, please enjoy the gallery we've put together for your viewing pleasure. Parental Guidance is suggested.

Stephen Harris

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