I tried to come up with something pithy for the first sentence of this review because I didn’t think that WOW was a good enough phrase. However, wow is going to have to do. Wow! When you feel compelled to play a game then you know it’s going to be good.
Sudeki is set in the world of Sudeki.. There are four main characters that are involved in the story. Tal – the warrior, Ailish – the Princess Magician, Buki – the monk of Mo and Elco – the techno geek scientist. They are on a quest to find three crystals to power up the towers of protection that Elco has invented. That’s the bare bones of the story. However, the story line gets more and more in depth as you play the game. You find that Tal and his father the general have issues, Ailish will do anything she can to impress her mom, Buki has a chip on her shoulder (she’s half cat I think) and Elco is.. well he’s a techno geek! One of the more enjoyable parts of this game is the storyline and these characters dialogue within the cut scenes moving forward their story and showing you an insight into their world.
I cannot say enough about the graphics. The character detail is fantastic. Each character is well drawn and even with the anime look to them, they are each unique. They all have multiple weapons and armor that they can wear giving them an ever changing look throughout the game. The girls, Ailish and Buki are just straight up eye candy. When I booted it up last night and was running Ailish and Buki through the country side I heard a “Nice backend” comment from behind me. For all of the red blooded men out there, you’re in for a treat. The monsters and NPCs throughout this game are fantastic. Each creature is original and vibrant. The land is colorful and lush. It’s a pleasure just running around and looking at all of the different areas. Everything is very unique.
The one thing that really stood out to me was that the cut scenes and the regular game play looks exactly the same. That is very telling in a console game. Most developers cut back on one or the other for the sake of time or money. However, in Sudeki they are both above par.
The sound isn’t award winning in the game. However, neither is it abysmal. Some of the NPC voices are grating, but the characters themselves have very unique voices. The music is appropriate for the areas that you are exploring. Again, it’s not exceptional but it’s not unpleasant. In my opinion sound should be something in the background that you can mute and listen to tunes or you can listen to and it’s not going to drive you crazy. This game does that for me.
The down and dirty is that the gameplay is enjoyable. There are several different combinations of combat moves that you can use for each character. It certainly doesn’t get boring. It’s a challenge to hit the key combinations just right so that you can earn power combos. You can use combinations such as XXA or AXA ect. to earn moves for each character. An example of this is when you are playing Buki; if you hit XAA you will get a Swiling Storm Strike. This gives Buki a spinning kick at the end of her combo which will deal damage to multiple enemies at a time. Keep in mind that you have to time your button pushing just right. If you are interrupted or lose site of the target, you won’t get these combo bonuses. This isn’t just a thumb mashing game people. You have to use tactics.
As well as the combo moves, each character gets Skill Strikes. These are specialized skills that only that character can use. For instance, As Tal levels up he gets one skill or stat that he can advance. At first I put those points into my health, power, skill and essence so that on his own he could deal damage and survive encounters. As I leveled however, I started putting points into his skill strikes. A very useful one that I wish I had used sooner is Iron Warrior. This skill, when used, gives a buff to everyone in Tal’s party that lessens their damage by 70%. Every time you use these Skill Strikes, you use skill points. Make sure that you have a lot of potions and salves available. Unless you find lots of orbs or raise their skill every level, you will find yourself in dire need of them.
The characters also get special strikes from Tetsu (A God). Tal receives his early on and it is called Spirit Strike. This literally will obliterate any lesser monster on the field of battle. You have to raise your special skill by fighting and taking damage to use this so don’t rely on having it available in a tough spot.
As I stated above, each character gets multiple sets of weapons and armor throughout the game. The armor is awarded by Tetsu (a God) and the weapons are collected through quests or chests. Each piece of armor or weapon can be upgraded by the blacksmith for added bonuses and stats. It isn’t cheap but it is worth it.
Now, as much as I like this game, there are a few things that I did dislike. I think that it should have at least been a co-op game. Controlling four characters at once in a real time combat situation is just nuts. I could compare it to Might and Magic without the turn based system. It’s manageable, however, I would have preferred to share the burden with someone else. It could be argued that it makes the game more challenging and therefore is good. I’m challenged! I want to be able to savor my character and build him/ her up without wondering if I’m ever going to actually take control of them because I can’t.
The second thing is that I would have liked more merchants. At one point you are ported into the Shadow Land after a heinous battle where you’ve probably used most of your potions and salves. There was no chance to get back to a village or a roadside merchant to buy more before you’re plopped into the biggest nightmare of your life. Just when you think that the mobs in this zone are dead, they pop right back in again. You also have an epic battle with a boss mob that if you don’t have any skill points you’re not going to be able to win. I had to redo this one about three times before I finally one by the skin of my teeth.
When it’s all said and done, despite my slight bitches, this game is really FUN. I expect that I will play it again, this time doing a few things different and using different enhancements on my armor and weapons. I know that I missed a few things going through as well. The fact that I WANT to play it again is very telling. If you’ve been starved for a good RPG like I have, go out and pick this one up. It won’t disappoint.