- Finally, another RPG for the Xbox
- Stunningly beautiful graphics
- Involved storyline that weaves into the gameplay seamlessly
- Real-time battle system a most welcome relief from turn-based
- Navigation system is extremely
haywire and difficult to follow
- Side quests oftentimes get lost in the shuffle of the primary
- Fighting hit system could have used more refining
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Score: 8.8 / 10
While the Xbox library can hold its own
with the PS2 and GameCube in just about every single gaming genre
(excluding multiplatform console titles), the one category it definitely
sits squarely in third place among the three is the role-playing game.
The PS2 is clearly the RPG console leader, and the GameCube easily
outdistances the Xbox too. The Xbox really only has two RPGs of note,
Morrowind and Knights of the Old Republic. But both are great games, so
what the Xbox RPG genre lacks in numbers it makes up for in quality. And
that includes Sudeki, the newest Xbox RPG.
Developed as sort of the Xbox version of the PS2ís Final Fantasy series,
Sudeki is a beautiful game with an engrossing storyline and engaging
gameplay. Although it isnít fair to compare Sudeki to Final Fantasy, it
certainly is a great game in its own right that will completely quench
the RPG thirst of the Xbox RPG player.
Sudekiís story plays a yin-tang tune which gives Sudeki a Japanese RPG
flavor, right down to the anime-inspired characters. Over the course of
the game, youíll learn
more and more about the split worlds of
light and darkness that were once a single realm and the reasons that
nefarious forces are attempting to conquer both. Traveling between the
two worlds (one sunny and bright, one enveloped in shadowy night) is an
enjoyable romp, with plenty of encounters with all types of creatures,
good and evil. You play as four central young and brash characters
(sometimes one or two at a time; sometimes all four) out to do the
tried-and-true storyline, saving the world.
Yes, the story has many conventional plot features youíll see in a usual
RPG, but thereís enough fresh twists, likable characters, and solid
action to keep you playing for hours on end. It should take about 20
hours to traverse through Sudeki from start to finish, which is a bit
short for a RPG but a decent gameplay return on investment nonetheless.
Tal is an Illumina warrior, out to prove himself worthy to his general
father; Princess Ailish, the magic-wielding Illumina heir to the throne
with a rebellious streak; the anthropomorphic Buki, who fights with a
quick feline prowess; and Elco, the scientist in training with a robotic
left arm. Your quest has you searching for crystals that are the key to
stopping (or is it initiating?) the evil plot afoot.
Each character has special abilities that only they can contribute to
continuing the story. Buki can climb; Ailish can dispel the invisibility
of hidden objects; Elco has a rocket backpack that allows him to fly;
and Tal can push and pull objects. Itís easy to figure out who needs to
be used to solve most of Sudekiís many puzzles. But the difficulty isnít
encountered in the gameís puzzles. It is the long-lasting and supremely
taxing battles that fill the game that present Sudekiís challenge.
Now, Iím not a big turn-based, hit-point structured RPG battle system
fan. Fortunately, Sudeki incorporates a real-time fighting system (even
while flipping through inventory), although there are the standard
hit-point rules at work. Depending on the strength of your characterís
ratings (covering skill, health, power, and essence) you will inflict
more or less damage than another character. Each hit takes away a point
total until the enemy is vanquished; Also present is a fighting
game-style button-hitting system that creates combos which inflict more
damage on enemies than standard attacks. The problem here is that
hitting the right button sequence requires too much exact timing to pull
off, and when you do it doesnít make much difference than if you invest
in a few more standard single-button attacks.
You wonít fight just one enemy in a battle either. There are usually at
least five enemies that must be defeated. Using your characters wisely
will allow for victory while upgrading each characterís rating in every
category by ďleveling upĒ (and for Tal thatís a necessity for the final
battle in the game). Tal and Buki are stronger, faster fighters; Ailish
is best with magic attacks; Elco is in-between using his
technological-based equipment. Learning when to switch between
characters during battles is key to being successful, especially early
in the game when each characterís rating points are low. The more fights
you have, the more experience points you earn, which in turn become
rating points to increase your characters into a mighty-hard-to-beat
team of warriors.
Sudeki presents a large world to carry out your quest and fight evil
denizens that stand in your way. The game has a definite medieval flavor
to its environs, as the world of Sudeki is an amalgam of futuristic
technology, talking animal-like creatures populating the towns and
cities, and old world feudal societal mores. This makes for a lot of
dungeon exploring and adventuring through Tolkienesque settings.
Sudeki is a noticeably beautiful game. This is a colorfully gorgeous
landscape, even in the dark world locales, and extremely sharp-looking
rendered characters (including the monsters, which include immense
spiders, wolves, skeletons, and evil out-of-control robots).
Lead characters in Sudeki are in the Lara Croft mold of big-breasted,
little-waisted, skimpily clothed, hard-fighting divas. Buki likes
dressing in butt-revealing thongs that I canít see as comfortable in the
heat of battle. Blood spews plentiful in every fight, earning Sudeki its
M-rating. Refreshingly, thatís the only element that may be offensive in
the game: no cussing or gratuitous violence present here (expect loads
of non-gratuitous violence however).
There are a lot of typical RPG elements in Sudeki. Youíve got to break
tons of barrels, crates, and jars to uncover power ups and potions.
Money and weapons are found in chests throughout the land, most in
out-the-way places that you must discover to get the treasure. There are
orbs that upgrade characterís ratings and other items that replenish
health, magic spell points, and negate the magic and special abilities
of many enemies. One RPG feature incorporated into the gameplay is the
addition of side quests that pay off with a reward from the roster of
in-game items Iíve just mentioned. But many of the side quests require
you to travel long distances to gather the resources or items necessary
to win the reward, and thereís much to do to complete the gameís main
quest to worry too much about many of the side quests.
Most of your traveling will be just to get you to each major stage of
the game mixed with a plethora of skirmishes. It can get a bit too
familiar knowing that practically every area that you must open a door
or gate to will start a battle and thereís too much running around
Sudekiís landscape not really knowing where you're headed. Thatís
courtesy of the horribly established navigation system that is nothing
more than a mini-map in the corner of the screen that supposedly helps
you know which direction to head next. But forget about it: this
mini-map is totally useless. Sudeki takes just about 20 hours to
complete, and expect to use about two of those hours roaming aimlessly
lost due to the crummy navigation system.
Despite having a few rough edges, Sudeki is a very good game that will
keep you playing (over and over). Thereís so much to see and the story
plays out like a good movie that keeps you entranced to the final
credits roll. With the release of Sudeki, that sorely lacking Xbox RPG
field is expanding ever fuller, and it joins the high-quality ranks of
high esteem placed previously upon Morrowind and Knights of the Old
Republic. With the highly-anticipated Jade Empire and Fable well on
their way to being release within the next few months, Sudeki is leading
the charge of the Xbox RPG renaissance.