Sudeki Xbox Official Website
by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Climax
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99
The Xbox game catalogue is beginning to look very satisfying indeed but despite a fair collection of great titles the RPG genre is still short on quality titles. Morrowind was good, Knights of the Old Republic was sensational but since then nothing has really been worthwhile. There isn't a Final Fantasy equivalent as such on the console and that's a real shame. Over the next few months a couple of games will arrive on the Xbox that will hopefully fill this void. Whilst Fable is still over a month away (although it has gone gold) here in Europe the first game to arrive is Sudeki by Climax.
Sudeki is a world in torment. No longer unified it's split into two, the dark and the light. The realm of light, the beautiful Haskilia, is being attacked by both an enemy known as light spawn and the invading Aklorians. Queen Lusica has begun to deal with the Aklorians and has instructed her forces to take no prisoners. The Queen has also given orders for the construction of a super shield, a kind of force field that will protect her people. The crystals that are to be used to power it though are insufficient and a more powerful crystal needs to be found. As the attacks on Haskilia become more regular and dangerous something needs to be done. Fortunately there are four heroes to come to the rescue.
Initially the story in Sudeki is fairly slow paced but it soon picks up speed and becomes very enjoyable. You'll begin the game with just Tal then you'll acquire Ailish before gaining control of Buki and Elco. Each character has their own special abilities and powers. Tal relies on his sword to defeat his enemies. Ailish (who is actually Princess Ailish the daughter of Queen Lusica) wields powerful magic both healing and destructive. Buki is a strange mix of human and animal who can scale walls and reach places the others can't. Finally Elco is the technological genius who fights with a gun rather than melee weapons. Elco also has access to a rocket pack that allows him to fly up into the air whenever he can find fuel for it. What I like about the different characters though is that you're required to make use of all of their abilities. Ailish can see things the others can't, Tal can move obstacles with his strength, Elco can fly over obstacles and Buki can climb over them. In true RPG style your characters gain experience and can be leveled up in a way that you see fit. You'll acquire many items that can be traded throughout the game and you'll also have the chance to do a lot of side quests (although most are not that long it's still good to see).
The more I play Sudeki the more I can't help but feel that an opportunity for creating a great co-operative game has been wasted. The problem with the game as a single player game (which is what Sudeki is) is that when you have all four characters to handle in a battle it becomes cumbersome and difficult to intelligently control all of them. You can choose an AI script for them to follow but this isn't as good as looking after them yourself. Had the game allowed up to four players to participate you could have had some really good split-screen fun. In fact as a two player game it would have been great as then you'd only have two characters to look after which would have been fine. Maybe even Xbox Live support to co-operative play could have been implemented (although that would have been more difficult I imagine).
If you're an experienced console RPG gamer you've probably been expecting the ones that arrive on the Xbox to do away with the pre-rendered background in favour of truly spectacular 3D environments. Whilst Sudeki can't really claim to be graphically spectacular it does look better than a majority of the console RPG games that have gone before. The first thing that you'll notice about the graphics is how vibrant and colourful they are. It was meant to have an anime style look about it and it certainly captures that look. There's a good deal of magic based attacks in the game and they do look impressive. It's great to see a game of this kind use true 3D instead of pre-rendered backgrounds and for a true 3D environment it's certainly quite detailed. Surprisingly the load times when going from one area to another are minimal (the loading message is sometimes only onscreen for a second or two) which makes a nice change. The frame rate is fairly constant although there are moments of slight slowdown although it never seems to be in a battle oddly enough. You control the camera with the right analogue stick and for the most part the camera is OK.
It's all too easy to moan about a game when there are no subtitles and it's all too easy to praise a game when it's fully subtitled. However what do you do when the game falls somewhere in the middle? Actually most of Sudeki is subtitled but for some crazy reason several key cutscenes are not subtitled at all. The tutorial information is delivered exclusively via text. There is no subtitle option though so nothing can be done to improve the situation. I honestly can't understand what's happened here. Some cutscenes are subtitled and all dialogue outside of the cutscenes is shown in text. All other information is in text too so I don't know why several key cutscenes have no subtitles at all. Where does this leave deaf gamers? Well you can play the game and more than likely enjoy it too but it's disappointing that you're going to miss some aspects of the story.
Your opinion of Sudeki will largely be based on what you expect the game to be. If you're expecting a Final Fantasy style RPG you might be disappointed. Some might dislike the real time combat and when the four characters are under your control it can be a bit of a handful to keep control of everything. If you don't mind real time combat though (and it is enjoyable for the most part although it can be a bit too much when you've got to keep your eye on all four characters) then you'll enjoy the game. However we can't ignore the fact that some key cutscenes are not subtitled. I don't understand why this has happened. Maybe it's an oversight? Maybe it was intentional? Whatever the reason was it's a shame because despite the few niggles I've mentioned I've really enjoyed Sudeki. No it isn't the greatest console RPG ever but any game that keeps me interested has to have done a lot right.
Game Rating: 7.0/10
Sudeki is not the classic most would have hoped for but nevertheless it's very enjoyable and definitely worth picking up if you like real time combat RPG games. It's a shame that the game isn't fully subtitled though and that you can't play it co-operatively.
Several key cutscenes are not subtitled.