Review by: Jonathan Hynes
Published: August 2, 2004
While the Xbox library is beginning to fill out nicely, the role-playing genre is still severely lacking in quality offerings, especially when placed side-by-side with the PlayStation 2 juggernaut. Japanese-style RPGs are even more difficult to come by, and though Sudeki may not be directly from the land of the rising sun, Xbox owners aren’t likely to care, as it’s their first real taste of such an offering. While the fusion of eastern strategy with western pacing certainly sounds promising, we can only hope that the result is more engaging than Microsoft’s last action-RPG hybrid, Azurik.
The Sudeki game world is one that has, quite literally, been split into two. With the sinister Aklorians threatening to invade Haskilia (the light world) and the peaceful Bright Empire, the Queen has approved a plan to construct a protective shield around the kingdom. Magical crystals are required to power this great contraption, and through a series of circumstances and events, four young men and women have gathered in the village of Shadani, where such a crystal happens to rest. Needless to say, all doesn’t go according to plan, and these four unwitting heroes must protect the entire world from total annihilation.
Anyone who’s ever spent a few moments with any traditional RPG should instantly recognize Sudeki‘s four main characters. You have the misunderstood warrior Tal, the magic-wielding princess Ailish, the brilliant scientist Elco, and Buki, the party’s abnormally wise voice of reason. Though each has their strengths and weaknesses on the battlefield, an interesting Wild Arms-esc feature has been implemented that extends their abilities outside of combat, largely to assist the player in finding hidden treasures, items, paths and quests. Ailish, for instance, has the gift of magical sight, and by using her ability when you encounter a swarm of golden butterflies, you can unlock special passageways or solidify treasure chests that are otherwise invisible and intangible.
The character leveling system should also be familiar to any role-playing aficionado; each of your party members accumulates experience points as they inflict damage in battle, as well as complete certain tasks and side quests. Upon leveling up, the character in question will receive a skill point (two if you were patient enough to save the skill point from the previous level up) that can be used to either further his or her base statistics (such as strength, total health points, total skill points and so on) or purchase a new special ability. Since these advancements are limited in number, the choices that you make in assigning skill points will ultimately determine the direction of that particular character.