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Platform: PS2
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: SoftMax/Banpresto
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Format: DVD-ROM
Release: US Winter 2005
Japan 11/11/04
Official Site: English Site

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A glimpse at the battle system.
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This screenshot speaks for itself.
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Everyone loves glasses!
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No preview is complete without a screenshot of Japanese menus.
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Mike Wilson
First Look Preview
Mike Wilson

Welcome to Efferia, a place in constant war with five races fighting to gain dominance. In this world, humans are unwelcome aliens; every day is a struggle to survive against the planet's humanoid natives. For such a war-torn world, can the people of Efferia ever find peace? That is the dilemma in Magna Carta: Tears of Blood, created by Softmax, a Korean-based developer that has never seen the light of day in America. Luckily for us, Atlus has decided to localize the game and bring it to western shores. Since Korean RPGs rarely come stateside, it is a blessing that Atlus decided to take this title under their wing. Magna Carta: Tears of Blood is shaping up very nicely, and it may be a serious contender in the RPG genre when it comes out this Winter.

The story in Magna Carta: Tears of Blood is about Calintz, a mercenary who desires revenge against the "Yason," a humanoid race that destroyed his village. Calintz travels with a mercenary band called the "Tears of Blood" in hopes of achieving his goal. However, this quickly changes when he meets a young woman named Reith, who has no recollection of her memories. On his journey, Calintz will also meet a vast number of characters, each with a different skill, such as Haren, a man who uses brute force to solve his problems, Chris, a man with a strange sword that also functions as a gun, and Maya, a little girl who uses her teddy bear to cast spells (similar to Lulu from FFX). However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, because there are at least 6 other characters who will eventually join Calintz's quest.

Graphically, the game is beautiful. The gameís artwork (drawn by the acclaimed Hyung-Tae Kim) is simply breath taking. Kim's charactersí facial features have a realistic tone, but their hairstyles, clothing and weapons are very anime-ish. While this sounds awkward, you simply have to see the character art to believe it. Luckily for us, Kimís artwork holds up extremely well in 3D; the in-game cutscene models are so gorgeous that they give Final Fantasy X a run for its money. They are also fully voiced. The CG sequences are no laughing matter, either, because they rival Square Enix in terms of quality and production, and thatís no small feat.

Surprisingly, the battles in Magna Carta: Tears of Blood are in realtime. Combat is centered around the "Trinity System," which is similar to the Judgment Ring from Shadow Hearts 2. The Trinity is a ring that appears on screen in which you must press 3 buttons in the correct sequence in order to deal the most damage. This sequence is also somewhat rhythmic, so you'll be using your musical senses in tandem with your hand-eye coordination, which is a neat twist. The Trinity System also has an affect on your characters' fighting styles. There are three styles of combat: Shura, Yasha, and Rasetsu. The mode your characters can use depends on their style of fighting and weapon choice. The Shura style allows your characters to learn new techniques quickly, the Yasha style makes it easier to dodge and counter enemy attacks, and the Rasetsu style lets you wail on enemies with massive combos. The rest of the information on these fighting styles is still unknown, but it's still good to see a break away from the plethora of conventional turn-based battle systems that have flooded the genre.

So far, Magna Carta: Tears of Blood looks strong. For those who have never played a Korean RPG, it will be a brand new experience, and for those who are familiar with Korean RPGs, it will be a worthy addition to their collection. Look for Magna Carta: Tears of Blood this Winter.


© 2005 Atlus, Banpresto, Softmax.
All Rights Reserved.

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