Kameo: Elements of Power Xbox 360
Published by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Rare Ltd.
Release Date: Out Now
Kameo: Elements of Power, an introduction.
It seems like I've waited ages to play Kameo. The game that was bound for the GameCube and then the Xbox has finally arrived on the Xbox 360. Was it worth waiting for? Well there are many reviews out there that have, to be frank, rubbished the game. Whilst we all have our own opinions, I can't honestly see were these reviewers are coming from. Out of the launch titles I've played I can honestly say that Kameo has been the most pleasant surprise of them all and with the exception of not being perfect for deaf gamers, the game has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
What's the game about?
You'll play as Kameo, the younger daughter of the Elfin Royal Family. Kameo was given the transformation ability by her parents, an act which caused her elder sister, Kalus, to despise Kameo. Fired by her jealousy Kalus, the rightful heir to the Elfin throne, decided to rekindle the hatred between the Troll and Elves by siding with the evil Troll king, Thorn. With her family, aside from Kalus that is, now prisoners, it's up to Kameo to seek out the help of the Elemental Warriors and fight back, not only for her family but for the whole Enchanted Kingdom. She has assistance in the shape of Ortho the wizard who has been firmly enchanted into the Wotnot Book, which is a magical archiving book.
What's good about the game?
Kameo is an action adventure game that's quite unlike anything you've played before. Whilst Kameo can handle herself quite well, she's not as useful in a combat situation as the elemental warriors that she has at her disposal. The Elemental Warriors (Pummel Weed, Rubble, Ash, Deep Blue, Major Ruin, 40 Below, Snare, Chilla, Flex and Thermite) all have their own special abilities that you'll need to fully utilise to win battles and solve various puzzles (puzzles which actually make sense and are not just here to pad out the play time). Some times you'll need to use the abilities of various Elemental Warriors in quick succession in order to defeat a boss or complete some other difficult task and it's moments like these where the game really shines. The first level for instance requires you to change into Major Ruin (who moves in the form of an armoured ball) and quickly roll off a ramp to head towards an otherwise unreachable tower. The only snag is that Major Ruin won't be able to grip the wall of the Tower so you'll have to quickly change to Chilla in mid-air and then grip the wall. There are boss battles where you'll be required to stun the boss with one Elemental Warrior and then hit him with another. This makes for some hectic boss battles but the game is all the more enjoyable for it. All of the Elemental Warriors can gain extra abilities as the game progresses. You'll need to find Elemental fruit during the course of the game in order to upgrade their abilities though.
The control system in Kameo is excellent. The left and right triggers handle the attacks. Special attacks can be performed by holding down both the triggers at once. The four primary buttons are used to change from Kameo into an Elemental Warrior. The A button is reserved for changing back to Kameo but the B, X, and Y buttons can be used for any of the Elemental Warriors you wish to call into action. Holding down either of the B, X, or Y buttons will bring up a Warrior Wheel from which you can choose any Elemental Warrior you've found. The graphics are simply fantastic too and the level of detail on display here is impressive. The game even offers plenty of advice, if you ever feel like you're stuck. This advice can seem a little too helpful at times but thankfully you can disable it altogether if you wish, although I daresay younger gamers will appreciate the extra help it can offer.
What's not so good about the game?
I would say there are three areas where the game could have been better. First of all the game is only around 10 hours long which, given how enjoyable the game is, is rather disappointing as you want it to go on for at least another couple of hours. Secondly it has to be said that the game's first level feels like something from the middle of the game rather than a level to introduce the game. It feels like you've been dropped in at the deep end and it's easy to initially feel a little lost. Once you're past this mission you're introduced to the game in a more traditional fashion. However you will already have learnt quite a lot by this point. Finally the 2-player co-operative mode, whilst very enjoyable, has one major problem. Each player's character's look exactly the same. You'd think that the second Kameo and warriors would have different clothing or markings to help differentiate who each player is controlling. Sadly this isn't the case and it can get a little confusing at times.
How does it look?
Kameo really does look beautiful and much better than anything we've seen on any console to date. All of the games environments look fantastic and are a sight to behold. The textures in particular are of a very high quality, the like of which we usually see in PC tech demos for high end graphics cards. The character models are again superb and highly detailed. You've probably all seen the trailers of Kameo riding on horseback through hundreds of trolls. I had seen the trailer many times but when you see this in the game it's a jaw-dropping moment, particularly as the smooth frame rate doesn't even flinch. It's common knowledge that none of the Xbox 360 launch titles actually utilise all of the consoles power but even so the level of detail on display in Kameo is amazing. On a standard TV the game looks excellent, but when played in High Definition you can really appreciate just how visually impressive Kameo is.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Whilst Kameo isn't the only Xbox 360 launch title not to be subtitled, it's certainly one of the more disappointing ones as the game is so enjoyable. The games cutscenes are not subtitled which means you'll miss some of the story unfortunately. What makes this even more irritating is that most of the speech in the game is shown in text. All conversations during the game's levels are shown in text and tutorial messages are also shown in text. When Ortho offers advice on a particular situation, he will comment that you can look in the Wotnot book. These comments aren't subtitled. However you'll see an Ortho icon on the right hand side of the screen with question marks around it. The advice in the Wotnot book is shown in text.
Kameo: Elements of Power is a very entertaining action adventure that's quite unlike anything else the genre has to offer. The way you have to utilise the Elemental Warriors to solve puzzles and defeat bosses is both original and very entertaining. It is a shame the game isn't fully subtitled though and it's also a shame the game isn't longer because once you get your teeth into the game it really becomes a highly enjoyable game and impresses you on just about every level. In a console launch line-up that's mostly sports games, FPS titles and driving games, Kameo really is a breath of fresh air.
Overall Game Rating: 8.7/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Kameo: Elements of Power is a superb action adventure that is both innovative and visually wonderful. Provision for deaf gamers could have been better though.