STAFF REVIEW of Sudeki (Xbox)


Sunday, August 29, 2004.
by KmanX

Sudeki Box art Shortly before I sat down to write this review I did a quick Google search to see if I could find the meaning of Sudeki. While my search wasnt extensive I wasnt able to come up with anything concrete. Since a definition was lacking I decided to make one up. Sudeki, when translated into English from whatever language it originates from means confused. Why confused, well because this game is confused, it doesnt really know what kind of game it is. At times it tries and succeeds in being a fun, action-packed, hack n slashing RPG-type of game like Baldurs Gate or Gauntlet. The rest of the time the game spends searching for its true identity by sampling a wide variety of other titles, some good while others not so good.

When the opportunity to review this game presented itself, I too was confused. About a year and a half ago, I had the pleasure/displeasure of spending time (there was only one level completed) with this game. It was ok but when you have only one level to play over and over again its tough to form a solid opinion. I had an idea of what it would be like but I figured I would wait until the game was finished. Then with each passing delay I began to think less about the game. But I did remain hopeful as it was an RPG and quality RPGs on the Xbox are few and far between. Besides, KotOR was plagued by multiple delays and we all know how good that one turned out!

Unfortunately though, Sudeki is not KotOR, not even close. The only similarities the two games share is they both come in green plastic cases and ummmmm, they both have instruction books. I know its unfair to compare the two but since Sudeki is being pushed as a game that pushes the limits of what a roleplaying game (RPG) can be by providingblah blah blah it will draw some comparisons. I mentioned the similarities and since they are too many differences I wont bother to list them all.



For me, one big difference between Sudeki and other RPGs was the game play, namely the combat. Sudeki strays away from traditional RPGs by having a real time combat instead of the turn-based. I prefer this style as its closer to the games I mentioned earlier. Once you meet up with the other three characters that you travel with you can use them during combat and this is where it gets weird.

The four playable characters include a swordsman (named Tal), wizardress (named Ailish), a gunslinger (named Elco who looks eerily like Harry Potter) and a huntress (named Buki). When you assume control of Elco or Ailish, you switch to first person mode that mirrors the control, look and feel of a first person shooter (albeit a bad one). You do retain the ability to cast spells but when you are relying on the primary weapons you still feel you are in the midst of first person shooter (did I mention a bad one?).

When controlling the Tal or Buki you remain in the traditional third person mode. What interesting about Tals and Bukis combat is you can pull off a wide variety of moves by watching the button counter in the bottom corner. You only use the X and the A button to attack but if timed correctly these different moves can unleash a lot of damage on a foe, especially if you have been building up your characters power attributes along the way.



The combat model and system is not the only thing different from traditional RPGs. The environments you explore and battle within are massive. Not only are they massive but the look great and they very detailed. The graphics are the only real strong point of Sudeki. In every environment you explore you will notice how smooth the environments are as you will not see any rough edges. There are some invisible walls in the game that can be frustrating but can be overlooked but the beauty of the worlds. One graphical detail worth noting is the smoke and flame effects that are emitted from Elcos rocket pack. They are very well done and should be seen at least once.


The sound of the game decided to go the opposite way of the visuals as its rough to say the least, as the sound effects are very minimal. When characters are running around they make the same sound. It doesnt matter if they are running on rock, grass or wood its all the same. I also noticed the sound seemed to be a little irregular shortly before an ensuing battle, sometimes even cutting in and out. The music would chug a little. The battle sounds seemed to vary depending on the character. I found that if you used Tal of Buki the sound seemed to becoming from all directions as their weapons would clang in the heat of battle. The same however could not be said however for Elco and Ailish, our first person shooter friends. I found their battle sounds to be one dimensional and easy to follow. Whats not easy to follow is conversations between primary and secondary characters. If say Tal and Elco are talking and you stumble upon a merchant and try talking to them you will have three characters talking at the same time and you wont be able to hear anything.

Character animation also seemed to have a problem with direction and consistency. You will notice the character animation becomes choppy, especially when the group is united and all four are running together. The AI is also pretty bad as quite often I noticed if you try to reverse direction the characters would collide and prevent one another from advancing until you take control and go around.

There is one place you wont have to worry about colliding with a group mate and thats Xbox Live. For some unknown and asinine reason there is no Xbox Live support whatsoever. Thats right, no downloadable content, no Live co-op play, nothing! Note to developers: make an RPG thats online and you will make some money. For all the days Sudeki went through its inexcusable that there is no Live support.



Suggestions:
No Live support, mediocre sound and switching between first and third person combat are just some of the many reasons why I wouldnt recommend this game. If you are looking for a quality RPG experience then save your money for Fable or even Jade Empire. However if you are really jonesing for some new material, pass on this one and just be a tad more patient. There are A LOT of great games on the horizon!

The only reason why I am still playing this game is I\'m right at the end. Its a very short game.


Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 4.0 / 10

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