Climax
Microsoft
RPG
1
07.20.04

Sudeki


Developed by Climax, Sudeki is the newest RPG released for us RPG starved Xbox fans. The game is superior in graphics and sound to most other Xbox RPG's, though it lacks in other areas. Sudeki follows the story of four chosen people: Tal, Ailish, Buki, and Elco. They form a brotherhood to fight against the rising evil in the land of Sudeki. Fueled and powered on by the good god, these four unite to once and for all banish the evil that was once destroyed, but now has been risen up again. This game is an action RPG, meaning that it revolves mostly around combat and puzzle prowess. Sudeki, though lacking in some qualities, is the best RPG out there on Xbox (as of now) and is a lot of fun to play! This Xbox Exclusive should satisfy your need for RPGs before the heralded fall release of Fable.

Gameplay

With its superior graphics and sound that this game has put forth, one would think that the gameplay would follow that pattern. It doesn't. There are some great things that have been done with this game, but gameplay is the weakest element of Sudeki.

Lets first introduce the Fab Four of Sudeki. The first one is Tal, a young man that is a reckless swordsman in the army. He is tough and has superior skills with the sword, his weapon of choice. As you will see in the game, each character has a special skill that is particular to himself/herself. Tal's is his strength. He is able to push/pull objects that might otherwise be impossible to move. This skill is important to solving many puzzles throughout the game. Next is Ailish, the young, well figured princess who has a thing for Tal. There are many little subplots that run throughout the story, two of which include these little romantic flings between the main characters. Ailish is a friend to the arts of magic, therefore when she fights, she uses only magic staves, which vary her attacks and also vary the effects that she can use. Her special trait is that she can reveal hidden objects. Although they are clearly defined to anyone with eyes, Ailish is the only one of the four who can reveal it in the game. Once again, this is very useful in many puzzle-solving quests. Next, is the wonder woman Buki. She is an animal girl. Literally. She is part woman and part tiger. She is very strong and is the other of the two melee fighters in this game (Tal). Her weapons consist of wolverine-like claws, which she slides on and uses for fighting and her special ability (climbing). Buki can scale walls and ceilings, and anything that looks a little discolored in the game. Lastly, is the nerd with attitude, Elco. He is a scientist and part robotic. His weapons consist of some revolutionary things called guns. Once again, like the staves, the guns have different types of attacks and have different uses.

Now, each character is upgradeable. Once you gain enough experience, you get some points that you can use to buy upgrades for your character. Whether these be Hit Point upgrades, Skill Point upgrades, or special skill strikes, the character that you are controlling is very upgradeable. SPs are used for skill strikes. You get skill strikes through upgrading, and all of them are very potent. Some more potent than others, depending on the situation. Also, there are some magic potions that you will find during the game that act as a little upgrade point, and will permanently raise one of your attributes. The last three types of upgrades consist of weapons, armor, and your spirit strikes. Your weapons upgrade comes courtesy of the shops, exploration, and quest completions. Although you can buy weapons at the shops, you can also find other weapons through being curious and exploring around. You'll be finding them in chests and barrels, and also using Ailish's magic sight to find some. Lastly, you can get new weapons by completing quests. One of the most important quests is collecting totems in tribute to various demi-gods. Once you have found all of them, you will receive that demi-god's ultimate weapon. There are four demi-gods, one to each specific character. Each weapon is also upgradeable through enchanting it. By going to a blacksmith in town, you can place runes on the weapon to give it more power or enhance its abilities. Armor upgrades come courtesy of the gods. Once you have done something worthwhile, they will appear to you and bless you with new more powerful armor. This armor is also upgradeable through blacksmith's. Your Spirit Strikes are also from the gods. These are all powerful attacks which distribute a very, very high amount of damage. As with armor, after you do something worthwhile, the gods will appear and bless you with a Spirit Strike. You can only use these when you have filled up your spirit meter. You do that through fighting and finishing quests.

Next, a quick overview of the towns. You can talk to everyone in the towns. Here, you will find some very important quests and you will learn info about how to complete some quests. Each town has a blacksmith and a shop to buy potions and upgrades. Potions can be used to reboost your HP or SP (or both), and can be used with one PC or all PCs. Since at some points you play with all four heroes, you will want to buy some that help all PCs. However, keep your eye out for traveling merchants, as they will always give you a better price on merchandise. Also, do not sell everything immediately as they might be important to quests.

Now lets get to the actual gameplay. The controls are fairly simple. A is used as a vertical melee attack, and X is a horizontal attack. B is used as a "clear enemies" type of attack which does very little damage, but gives you some breathing room in a crowd. Tal and Buki also have combination moves, which you hit if you collect certain button sequences in a certain amount of time. There is a combo meter at the bottom of the screen that tells you what to hit next and whether or not you will make the combo. Y opens up your quick menu, which is a very cool feature. Here, you'll find one way to select potions to use. You can also customize the character's AI during battle. Another cool feature is the quick shot menu using the d-pad. This feature allows users to customize potions into slots on the d-pad. Then in battle, all you have to do is hit that slot, and you automatically boost whatever you need to. The next thing is your navigation map. Truthfully, you really don't need a map because the game is really straightforward. It is really easy to follow and not much explanation is required. Overall, the gameplay is challenging. Not easy, not hard, but challenging. It does get harder as the game wears on, but as you level up it pretty much stays the same. The bosses in this game require more strategy than skill. Each boss has some sort of strategy that you need to figure out, and once you do it's just a matter of time. My one Sudeki rule: save often. Though it's not very hard, there are times when get overwhelmed, and you don't want to start over from a while back. There doesn't seem to be enough save points in the game, so be careful when playing. The whole fighting aspect of the game is okay at best. It could be a lot better with easier combos or more varied attacks. This game is virtually your usual hack-n-slash (with some variations).

Graphics

Sudeki is very visually appealing. This game has many fine points in the graphics area, and is constantly being praised with the quality that Sudeki exhibits. The game is very smooth. Though there is some loading between levels, it's not long winded. It's very noticeable however, when a battle is about to take place as you will see a little pause in the screen and see your character stop for a second. If that happens a battle is always about to happen. Other than that, it is very smooth. Graphics match and pass Xbox standards. Even the littlest detail is paid attention to, such as a tree blowing in the wind or a butterfly flitting around your character. Even the characters sway in accordance with the wind. Character models are very well developed. This game has gotten many comments on especially the female characters of the game, and after playing I see why. Ailish and Buki are very well endowed, and some of the outfits are quite exotic. While this is a fantasy world, the game appears realistic. The buildings are well structured and are as realistic as they can be with their shapes. All lighting changes and effects are well accounted for in Sudeki. The special effects, such as the special strikes, or especially the Spirit Strikes are well done and are very appealing. Those were some of the best graphical sequences in the game. Therefore, other than the small pauses, I found this to be one of the best Xbox games so far in terms of graphics.

Sound

Climax has also done a nice job with the sound. The character voices sound realistic based on the character they are coming from. The ambient effects are done nicely as the weather and the market scenes are well lit from the sound perspective. The music is nice and refreshing and has a sweet ring to it. However, the only thing that I think takes away from this is the fighting music. It's the same exact music for any type of battle, and that gets really annoying. The fighting sounds themselves are perfect, especially with swordplay and the sounds of Elco's guns and Ailish's staves. Running sounds and the sounds when doors open are also adequately done. Some games lack that type of realism, which is why I mention the footsteps and the doors. Other than that, there isn't much else to say about the sound. It is a very solid game and I really enjoyed listening to it. Sudeki's sound brought me into the game and allowed me to enjoy it more.

Replay Value

I really don't see much value in playing this game over again unless you want to explore more, or try some more quests that you didn't finish. There isn't anything about this game that stands out at me from a replay perspective. Its pretty much a one time shot.

Bottom Line:

Sudeki is a great RPG for Xbox. Despite the low replay value, it's definitely a good purchase to make. It will hold you over until the highly proclaimed Fable comes out. The game, though a mainly a one shot deal, is long and will take you time to complete. The graphics are amazing, and the sound complements them. They make up for the solid, but not spectacular gameplay experience that you will get. Though I won't try it for a while, this game is probably one of those games that after you play it and leave it alone for a while, you would love to play it again after a month or so. It just has that type of lure to it. I will probably pick it up again and try it again in a couple of weeks. Sudeki is a great game for you to buy. It can't be a rental, and is definitely something that you want to get before Fable.

Related Links:

Official Sudeki Website

-Pat G.




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