Azurik Rise of Perathia
Azurik Rise of Perathia is one of those games where the omission of subtitles completely leaves the deaf gamer without a clue of what is going on. None of the game's story, which I'll give a brief summary of in a moment, is relayed to the deaf gamer. This is actually a shame as the game could have been enjoyable. Anyway after this dismal introduction to the game, let's get on with the review.
There was once a time in Perathia where the Ancients used to war amongst themselves and did so until they had destroyed themselves. Before their violent demise they decided to capture the souls of the Elemental Guardians, whose job it had been to look after the humans of Perathia, and place them upon some large discs. The last of the Ancients gave these discs to Selden the Wise for him to look after them. One of the discs, the death elemental disc was soon lost. Since then weird events have occurred in Perathia but the other discs have continually been supervised.
At the beginning of the game Eldwyn is the Master Lore Guardian and chiefly responsible for the care of the remaining discs. Another Lore Guardian Balthazar begins to show his contempt for Eldwyn and after being chastised by him he throws his staff against a stone slab in anger. The slab breaks and it reveals the death disc. That evening Balthazar is visited by Death himself and he agrees to make Balthazar all powerful if he does as Death wishes. Eldwyn catches Balthazar attempting to steal one of the discs. A battle breaks out and Eldwyn is killed and worst of all the discs get destroyed and are scattered all over Perathia. You play as Azurik who is a young disciple of Eldwyn. With virtually no ability and armed with only a staff you must attempt to recover all the pieces of the discs in an attempt to save Perathia.
The staff that Azurik carries is the Axion, the Staff of the Elements. As you progress through the game Azurik will gain special, elemental attacks and armour that are activated with the staff. The tutorial explains how to use these attacks and armour. Like in Nightcaster the power of the elemental attacks will be dependent on the elemental nature of the enemy or obstacle. If Azurik needs to get past a wall of fire then a swipe with a water activated blade will be sufficient to temporarily drop the wall of fire. You can actually combine the elemental power too. Fire and water mixed will give a steam blade etc. The attack moves that Azurik makes with his staff are kept simple and are basically a combination of the A, B, and Y buttons.
Graphically Azurik is a mixed bag. In some areas of the game the textures and detail look stunning but in others there are flat black objects that clearly should have had detail applied to them. You will find that Azurik occasionally wanders into areas that are completely black where he is the only thing you can see, which is a little strange.
One glimmer of light for the deaf gamer is the fact that the tutorial and most of the tutorial messages are given in text as well as speech. In keeping with the nature of the game though for every good thing there is a fault and the lack of textual objectives again pushes the game away from the attention of a deaf gamer. When Azurik walks past a Deluvian Oracle he is verbally told what to do. This doesn't appear as text and to make matters worse you can't access any objectives from the pause menu.
Azurik is, unfortunately a little too awkward for the deaf gamer. Had the game been fully subtitled then it would have been a half decent action/adventure game but as it stands it offers little to lift the experience from being a very confusing one.
Overall Game Rating: 4.0/10 It is a shame that Azurik caters so poorly for deaf gamers because it is an enjoyable game.
Deaf Gamers comment: Hard to recommend as it does very little to accommodate deaf gamers.