STAFF REVIEW of Azurik: Rise of Perathia (Xbox)

Wednesday, January 2, 2002.
by maneatingcow

Azurik: Rise of Perathia Box art Just like to start off by saying, if you have read one of the numerous reviews from all over claiming this game sucks, try it for yourself before you pass final judgement. Azurik takes place in a world known as Perathia, a world divided into elemental realms. There are six elemental discs, which kept the balance of the elements equal, but they have been shattered and spread all over the elemental realms. It is your job, as a Azurik, a guardian of Perathia, to recover the discs and restore harmony among all of Perathia. Your only weapon is the Axion, a powerful double bladed staff that can use the powers of the elements. The game takes place across many different elemental realms; which include fire, water and earth.

The general controls of Azurik are very good. The Left Joystick is to move Azurik around, and the right to move the camera. The camera is a bit annoying at some parts of the game, but holding the Right Trigger will center the camera behind Azurik, offering a good camera angle to fight with. The Left Trigger allows you to use one of the more unique features of Azurik, the Elemental System. With this system, you can power up your Axion to use certain elements. Each of the four colored buttons, A, B, X, Y, can activate the Earth, Fire, Water and Air powers respectively. Do add depth to this system, you can also combine multiple elements to give you multiple different combinations of powers, offering a total of 15 different combinations. This system goes even deeper, as you have to seek and find each power, and each power has three different levels to attain. This adds tremendous depth to the games fighting mode.

But don?t forget! That is only the fighting in the game; don?t forget about the disc fragments you must search for, across the elemental realms. The realms are nicely made, with certain sections blocked off until you gain a certain elemental power. Other areas are left blocked until you perform a task, such as hit certain switches, or wait until nightfall. These interesting puzzles and quests make the game more than just a standard hack and slash job. All of the Realms are connected by one giant ocean, which not only allows access to these realms, but also hold some secrets of it?s own.

The only major downfall of the game play is that it is sometimes difficult to figure out what to do next, quite difficult to a certain degree, but not enough to make you hate the game.

Visually, Azurik is beautiful :) The elemental realms are each depicted as realistic as I have seen in any game to date. The environments cry out realism and detail. When moving fast, your character gets a cool motion-blur effect that trails him. The fire realm is one of my favorites, as the fire has a nice look to it, but coolest thing is the lava. Certain parts of the lava flow like a stream and others form ?waterfalls? of lava. It is a very cool effect.
The only downfall of the graphics is the somewhat choppy water animations. At times, Azurik seems to ?Float? over the water, practicing some air-swimming (He is the guardian of the elements, but I didn?t know he could control the air power that well). Other than that minor problem, the game is perfect.

The audio in the game is excellent. The soundtrack is amazing! It really sets the mood of the game. I am glad that they did not include the custom soundtrack option, as the music is excellent for making you feel like you are truly ?in? the game. The voices are also dead on, with the words matching the mouth movement with little error. The voice acting seems to have been done by people that actually knew what they were doing; and most likely had prior voice acting experience. The audio is all I had hoped for.

One of my major quips with Azurik is the save points. In certain areas of the game, there are plenty of save points to be found. In others, you have to back track a long way just to save your progress. The second problem is the villagers. They are ok NPCs, but they say very dumb things, basicly cheering you on. I wish that they had a purpose. It is odd to think that Azurik is the ONLY one trying to achieve harmony in Perathia. It would be cool if another guardian joined him during the game, to help fight some bad guys. Or if they simply were anywhere and gave simple hints, it would be nice. I?d like to say that Adrenium did a great job, and that I hope they are able to make a sequel.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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