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Platform: Xbox
Genre: Role-Playing Game
Publisher: O~3 Entertainment
Developer: Neocell
ETA: February 2005


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*Hands-on Impressions*

resonance preview          resonance preview

In 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.


Possessed 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 

to the 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.


The "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.


resonance preview          resonance preview


Although 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.


Finally, 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.


Overall, 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.


- M. Enis

(September 15, 2004)




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