Sudeki Xbox Review
Microsoft’s failure to crack the Japanese market is down to one thing – the lack of RPG’s on their system, especially those of a Japanese type. It’s fairly apparent that Microsoft were seeking the magical hands of a Japanese developer to knock up an RPG and attempt to turn around their fortune in Japan. In failing in doing so, developing duties have instead fallen to UK developer: Climax and the result is the very Eastern styled Sudeki.
The storyline certainly mirrors something you’re likely to find in a Japanese RPG, including the bizarreness that is often associated with such RPG’s. The basic and highly clichéd premise is one of good versus evil. Some hundred years before the events of the game, the world of Sudeki was split in to two by the evil god Heigou, who was later defeated by his brother the light god, Tetsu: thanks to the help of four mighty heroes, see where this is going? You begin the game as heroic swordsman Tal, who comes from the same mould as many an RPG hero and is later joined by three other equally clichéd but nevertheless highly likeable characters. Blue haired Ailish is the seemingly RPG requisite princess, cat like Buki is the strong spiritual warrior and one armed Elco is the science geek.
Each of these characters has their own unique ability with which they can solve puzzles with. The mighty Tal can push or pull heavy objects, Buki can scale certain walls with her metal claws, Elco is equipped with a jetpack, which allows him to fly short distances and Ailish can dispel items, often opening up a hidden path or revealing hidden treasure chests. These puzzles are for the most part simplistic, but the unique skills make sure they retain freshness throughout.
The combat is perhaps the games strongest point besides its beautiful graphics. Tal and Buki fight from a third person perspective, where you utilize an intuitive three button combo system whilst Ailish and Elco fight in an FPS like fashion with a first person view. Whilst using the two third person characters, a helpful on screen display is at hand to assist you with timing your combos. These are vital if you are to do any real damage to your enemies and at the same time are visually stylish and incredibly satisfying to land on your enemies. These two characters are far more enjoyable to use in combat than Ailish and Elco, which isn’t to say that the first person combat is bad, just not quite as satisfactory as the intense melee brawling.
Which brings us to the first real downer of Sudeki: the AI. Obviously you’re only ever in control of an individual character at any one time, whilst the others are handled by the AI. Frustratingly the AI characters are unable to look after themselves in any decent manner whilst in combat and requiring far too much babysitting, with the limited AI options seemingly having little effect on your stubborn party. As characters level up however, gaining more HP and whatnot, things do improve, though you never feel as if you can just ignore them and get on with doing your own thing sadly.
For that very reason, it’s probably a good thing that every boss battle save but one, are one on one encounters, allowing you to rest at ease knowing that your other members aren’t going to get themselves destroyed. Although for the most part, easily defeated. The fights with these bad and often big guys are still some of the highlights of the game both visually as well as gameplay wise.
Unsurprisingly, each of the characters has his or her own skills to combat the enemy and strengthen your party with. Skill Strikes are Sudeki’s form of magic, whilst the significantly more powerful Spirit Strikes should be thought of as Final Fantasy style limit breaks, which are often smart bomb like in nature, often destroying every enemy currently surrounding you or benefiting the entire party, for instance making the standard attacks of the four stronger or completely restoring your party. Spirit Strikes have an individual meter from Skill Strikes, which is filled by vanquishing enemies as well as taking damage yourself.
Levelling up doesn’t directly boost your stats like the majority of RPGS. When a level is raised, you must choose yourself what area/s you wish the characters to improve in. For instance making them physically stronger or learning new skills. This works fairly well, with no real faults to speak of. Whilst attaching runes – purchased from shops – can upgrade weapons and armour. These runes have various effects allowing you to recover HP by whacking enemies for instance or perhaps just causing additional damage to opponents.
Visually, Sudeki is one of the finest looking games on the Xbox. You’ll transverse beautiful environments and witness stunning magical effects with little slowdown to speak of. The few towns featured in the game are magnificently detailed with plenty of personality, whilst the same can be said for the majority of other locations as well. The voice acting is also of a decent quality and the tranquil music is for the most part fantastic stuff.
Sudeki is a decent game, which without its faults could have been so much more. The biggest culprit is without doubt its poor AI and relatively short length. On the other hand the combat is tremendous fun. The story although not outstanding is entertaining and the beautiful graphics will immerse you in to the world of Sudeki. Not quite the definitive Xbox Japanese style RPG we were hoping for, but Sudeki is still a nice first attempt from developer: Climax and could easily turn into something special if there is to be a sequel, here’s hoping, eh?