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Author Topic: ReadorDie Rides(Reads?) Again  (Read 3799 times)

Offline ReadorDie

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ReadorDie Rides(Reads?) Again
« on: February 19, 2006, 11:18:30 AM »
Okay folks, I don't review anything or have access to a working computer often enough to be a full-time reviewer for the site, but here goes, a review I've pumped out.  Enjoy.  I  may post more later.  Like next-week later.

Review 1
Name: Koudelka
Developer: Sacnoth
Publisher: SNK
Genre: Horror/RPG
Summary: The year is 1898.  Koudelka is a troubled woman with extremely powerful psychic powers.  After being drawn to a monestery by listening to a mysterious voice, she meets Edward J. Plunkett, who was nearly killed by a monster.  After killing the strange beast, they set off to explore the monestery and unravel its mysteries.  After finding a priest named James and finding out that the current caretakers want them dead, they find it just might cost them their lives.
Length: 10-15 hours.  Your mileage may vary.

FMVs: Even Square can't quite match the attention to detail, but the movements are a little off.
Graphics: The pre-rendered backgrounds are nice, and the character models move well.
Sound: Incredible voice acting, not bad but not memorable music.
Story: One of the best out there, but shows its hand too early on.
Gameplay: Mediocre exploration and puzzles, agonizingly slow battle system.  However, character customization is handled expertly.

Many games will purposely get themselves an M rating just to be taken seriously.  I am hatching a theory that many games would not do half as well if that big, bold-print M weren't stamped onto the back of their coversheets.  Koudelka, however, didn't need excessive gore and violence to get itself a Mature Rating.  Why is that, you may ask?  Simple.  This game earns its rating not through gratuitous violence and sex(though both are present).  This is a game with such a visceral sense of intelligence, that it should be kept from small children.

Coming from Sacnoth, which is a group of ex-Squaresoft employees, one might expect this game to be your standard story of love, devotion, and friendship we've come to know so well from the Final Fantasy series.  One would be dead wrong.  All of the characters simply hate each other, and do not have the same trite reasons for doing so that most video game characters do.  No one killed anyone's parents, they're just three people from three completely different walks of life.  Koudelka is a witch, abandoned by society because her powers.  Edward is a theif, on the run from his rich family and the police.  James is a preist, sent from the Vatican to look for something.  If sparks didn't fly in the cutscenes, something would be terrably wrong.

And oh what cutscenes there are!  Every scene in the game is voice acted, and it has one of the best casts around at the helm.  Koudelka herself has an infuriatingly sarchastic and snide drawl to her voice, setting her immediately apart from just about every RPG heroine ever.  Lines that would be perfectly harmless in the hands of a more vapid, Yuna-esqe character come off as perfectly nasty, barbed jibes from her.  Edward has a suitably carefree yet threatening tone to his voice, making him sound altogether like a child with a very large gun.  This is not an innacurate description of him as a whole.  James has a suitably priggish tone, being a preist of high society, and the caretakers sound suitably kind and gentle...until they turn on you.  The character models are pretty well detailed throughout the entire game, and they move realistically in the cutscenes.  The FMVs are exquisately detailed, but people don't seem to move much or well in them.

Now, with this expertly handled of a plotline, you'd expect the gameplay aspects to be just as interesting, right?  The gameplay is a hair above mediocre at its best, and a hair below at its worst.  The puzzles are done Resident Evil style, with lots of items to collect and doors to unlock.  The on-screen character, who is always Koudelka, is controlled with the directional buttons, and moves in the way to press, which is a dearly-needed break from the tank-style controls of Resident Evil.  The puzzles are easy, and often not so much puzzles as they are item-hunts.  This is a bit frustrating, but nothing anyone who hasn't played an RPG or Horror game hasn't been through in the past.  The battle system relies on random encounters and is done on a grid, like a strategy game.  However, the grid is not nearly big enough for it to be a true strategy title.  Couple this with the loading times for spellcasting, the battle system gets old fast.  The boss battles are a bit better, usually requiring some strategy or another, but often it's too easy to guess or far too hard.

The characters level up with experience points, like most games, but where the game really shines is character customization.  After you level up, you receive four points to allocate to the character's stats.  As a result, you can turn your characters into anything you like by the end of the game.  You can make Koudelka into an axe-weilding tank while Edward casts the spells and James shoots them with firearms from afar.  Characters also get more experienced with weapons and spells as time goes on, usually from repeated use.  As they gain experience with weapons, the weapon will do more damage and they will be able to execute more attacks with one command.  There are thirteen types of weapons, eight of which are melee (attack from right next to the enemy), two of which are middle-range (attack from one square away), and the other three are firearms, which you can attack from anywhere on the feild with.  Weapons that are not firearms break after a certain number of hits, and are replaced by either winning them in random encounters or simply finding them.  This may create a problem towards the end of the game, where you find everyone in your party using a ranged weapon, but usually it doesn't create a large problem.

Koudelka is the perfect example of a game that delivers in perfectly when it comes to graphics, sounds, atmosphere, but just falls short of the mark when it comes to  the gameplay, and in all, the gameplay is what truly matters.
Final Grade: 7
« Last Edit: February 19, 2006, 11:21:28 AM by ReadorDie »

Offline sevenzig

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Re: ReadorDie Rides Again
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 11:40:53 AM »
added to title: "but not really"

I like your style man, I really do. I still wouldn't want to play the game, but I like the review. As for putting it up, I don't know, I'll have to consult. Seeing as how you're a "former staff member" it shouldn't be a problem, but if and when we get an influx of people I don't want them all going "waiii his got put up why can't mine?!!"

Offline Kurier

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Re: ReadorDie Rides Again
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2006, 05:30:31 PM »
Nice review.

I shorta want to play the game now, but I have other pressing matters.

^Just date it back when RoD was a staff member, maybe they won't find out.
I fell off the wagon and now I can't stop.

Offline ReadorDie

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Re: ReadorDie Rides Again
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2006, 03:23:33 PM »
A note: ReadorDie Rides Again will be for all things I write.  So, in comes a story I wrote.

What Ware
Reading Too Much Terry Pratchett is Very Very Bad for You
By ReadorDie

        Simple Simon met a Pieman going to the fair.
        Said Simple Simon to the Pieman: "Pray, let me taste your wares!"
        And there Simple Simon's luck ran out.  He wasn't at a fair, and the Pieman was a bit of a nihilist, you see, and his wife had just left him.  As many will attest, there is nothing more dangerous (or frumpy) than a nihilistic Pieman whose wife has just left him.
        "What ware?  I ain't got no ware!" said the Pieman, purposely playing up his brooklyn accent.  He noticed it tended to alienate people who used words like 'pray'.
        "Well of course you do!  I'm look in at 'em!"
        "Look buddy, I ain't got no wares.  Just walk away."
        When Simple Simon didn't walk away, the Pieman grumbled.  'The man must be simple!' he thought, which didn't take much deduction even if Simple Simon wasn't wearing a nametag.  He also noticed that Simon's odd mixture of a Theatre-Fairy lisp and Shakespereian tongue had disappeared.  Funny how that works.
        "Look, look over there." continued the Pieman, pointing to a passing bag lady. "Look at her.  Maybe she's got ware!"
        "Who's she?"
        "She's...a witch.  See her cape?"
        "What kinda wares she got?"
        "Witch's wear!"
        "Which ware?"
        "Yeah, that."
        "No, which ware!"
        "I don't know.  Any ware!" The Pieman half-shouted.  My God, this guy is an idiot AND he's stubborn.  It half dawned on him that he had no idea what a ware was, but the idiot was sure making a big to-do over them.
        "But I want YOUR wares!"
        "What the hell is a ware?"
        "Your pies!"
        "Well you should have SAID so!" yelled the pieman, his temper rising through the nonexistant roof of the outdoor stall.  With it rose a pie, which rose and fell squarely into Simon's face.
        Simon just smiled, and began licking the gooey filling into his mouth. "Thank you."
        The Pieman's jaw fell slack. "You're...thanking me?"
        "Yes.  Now I'm getting some ware."
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