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Platform: XBox
Publisher: Climax
Developer: Climax
Genre: Action RPG
Format: DVD-ROM
Release: US 01/06/04 - Japan N/A



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"Victory."
 
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"Superb lighting effects."
 
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"I've got your back."
 
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"Invoke the spirit."
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Mark P. Tjan
Preview First Look
5/11/04
Mark P. Tjan

The XBox hasn't been the first place to look for an original RPG experience so far outside of a small handful of titles, however developer Climax intends to change that with its first foray into the genre; Sudeki. The title was originally announced back in September 2002 for release in 2003, but due to development problems the game was pushed back, and some wondered if it would ever see the light of day. Scheduled for June 2004, Sudeki almost ready to go.

Sudeki is set on two worlds - Hikaria and Kuria - locked in a hostile struggle with one another. The four heroes, composed of Hikarian citizens, will work together on their adventures throughout three different realms; the worlds of light, darkness, and shadow, comprised of sixteen varying locales for players to explore. Tal is the son of a respected Hikarian general and has high hopes of proving himself in battle. He's joined by Ailish, a voluptuous sorceress; Buki, a beautiful but feral martial brawler; and Elco, a brilliant scientist with a clockwork arm. The adventure begins with Tal being sent to investigate a demonic portal which has opened in one of the Hikarian temples. Along the way, Tal will be joined by Ailish, and then Buki and Elco as the story progresses. Each character brings a whole new slew of special abilities to the party, allowing for great versatility when the group is fully formed.

Outside of combat, each character has certain talents that can be exploited. Tal being the strongest of the group can push and pull objects with ease, while Ailish can use her magic to reveal secret passages or other hidden secrets. Buki is able to scale walls in order to reach certain objectives, and Elco can equip a jetpack to visit areas no one else can touch. Each of these talents will be essential to progress through the game's various puzzles.

Sudekiís primary touted feature is the combat engine; while battling and switching between characters players can utilize two different camera views. Tal and Buki are controlled from a third-person perspective, much like any regular RPG or action game, but if players switch to Ailish or Elco the view shifts into first person for accurate long-range targeting, similar to an FPS.

Combat happens in real time much like Star Ocean: The Second Story, or the more recent Kingdom Hearts. Players will be able to switch between characters as they please, with the characters not being controlled by the player operated by the game's artificial intelligence. To keep combat going at a furious pace, players will be unable to pause during battles; opening a menu will slow the action down, but just enough so players aren't overwhelmed while choosing an item or selecting a new attack. Like predecessors, Sudekiís artificial intelligence can be customized by the player prioritizing which character performs what task.

While fighting, players can have their characters unleash a slew of different powers and techniques using one of the three primary commands. For Tal and Buki especially, melee attacks will be important in slaying opponents from close range, with Ailish and Elco using magic and skills to bombard enemies from a distance and healing the party. In addition, players can also use a spirit strike; this is a special command which unites the powers of several party members to invoke varying kinds of spirits with which to assault opponents. During battle, players can build up their characters' spirit gauges by unleashing combos and taking damage, much like the super attack bars found in fighting games. Once the gauge is full, the option to unleash a spirit strike becomes available.

When a character has accumulated enough experience and levels up, players can assign points to his or her statistics. Keeping in mind the character's specialty, players can transform Tal into a brutal fighting machine, Ailish into a fearsome sorceress, Buki into a killer martial artist, and Elco into a science whiz. Naturally, it's entirely up to the player how they build the characters, but traditionally they may want to explore a character's given strengths rather than try to boost their weak points.

The game's graphical engine will make good use of all the particle and lighting effects the XBox has to offer. Fog, wind, rain, and a variety of other environmental effects will help to set the mood in the game's sixteen different locales. These include the cheerful fishing village of Brightwater, and the ominous Temple of Mo. Sporting a high polygon count with crisp, detailed textures, slick particle effects, and lots of atmosphere, Sudeki looks to be a graphic treat for many gamers.

A fresh entry into the genre, Sudeki looks like it may fill the void for original RPGs on the XBox. Created by U.K.-based developer Climax, the game will be released June 1st, 2004 in North America.



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