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Resonance, the upcoming Xbox exclusive from Montreal's Neocell Factory,
action, RPG and survival-horror elements are combined in the gothic tale
of a witch navigating a society in the throes of a religious
Inquisition. Armchair Empire had a chance to view a recent build at a
press event in New York, and the game is looking pretty hot prior to its
projected first quarter 2005 release.
by a powerful demon, protagonist Faye Wynter struggles to come to grips
with her own cursed family history while unraveling clues into the
tragic disappearance of a prince, the son of her own adoptive father.
Although demonic possession may sound like a bit of a drag, Faye's demon
provides her with "dark gifts" that give her new magical
abilities as she levels up through the game's RPG system. These range
from things you might expect from a witch such as the ability to fly and
the ability to summon "familiars" to assist in fights
truly kick-ass. For example, Faye can shoot a "spectral
thread" that invisibly links her to an enemy from a distance, and
then teleport herself directly behind that enemy for a quick,
assassination style kill. With another, bones sprout suddenly from her
body, damaging all opponents within close range.
"Resonance" of the game's title is another demon-granted
ability that allows Faye to see for a limited time into a spirit world
anywhere in the game. Similar to Tecmo's brilliant "Fatal
Frame" (2002), Faye will sometimes find herself attacked by
gruesome, tortured souls who remain
invisible until she switches her
view into the eerie black and white realm lying just beneath the surface
of her world. Many clues to the game's mysteries also remain hidden from
normal sight, requiring Faye to use the ability not only in certain
fights, but in puzzle solving as well.
several aspects of the game are still in development and not easily
demonstrable, it sounds like Neocell has taken a very textured approach
to the game's story. To the world's regular inhabitants, your magical
abilities remain invisible, but the Inquisitors, bent on eliminating
witchcraft, have a keen eye for them, which sounds like it may force
some serious considerations for stealth and fighting in some areas.
Also, thanks to the climate of fear instilled by the Inquisition,
residents of each of the game's cities and towns are initially reluctant
to provide information before you've established a clean reputation,
which indicates the game will likely place a balanced emphasis on
side-quests and general day-to-day witchcraft PR management. Also, there
are other demons walking the earth, and apparently, they'll recognize
and interact with your own ethereal inhabitant in ways you can't always
control. Despite making you more powerful, your inner demon has its own
agenda, and arguing with it publicly can also land you in an asylum.
the game's save system sounds like it strikes a good balance between the
"save anywhere" and "save only at specific points"
camps. Your demon helps you use a limited number of small, onyx statues
found in specific locations throughout the game to save wherever you
want. So, basically, you've got some careful decisions to make each time
you save. As a result, it sounds like the title's suspense and horror
elements won't be compromised, even though you'll probably rarely end up
replaying huge stretches of the game as the result of a mistake.
Resonance looks like it's progressing well. Both the environments and
the concepts behind the title looked great in the July build we had a
chance to view, and with publisher O~3 Entertainment now backing the
game for publication and distribution, it looks like a sure bet for its
first quarter 2005 release.