I broke my No-RPG rule again…

Last time, it was for Shining Tears – this time, for the European-but-trying-hard-to-be-Japanese XBox RPG “Sudeki”

Just like Shining Tears, it’s an action RPG with fairly limited character customization. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the degree of character customization that comes as a matter of course in big-name RPGs these days is actually something that puts me off playing them. FFXII? Disgaea? They’re on my shelf right now waiting for me, but I know that, if I start either, or anything similar, I’m looking at a Serious Time Suck.

I’ll put it more or less like this: I was looking at my Final Fantasy X saves the other day since I was organizing a couple of memory cards. The last save was at 79 hours or so.

I had a really depressing thought – how much of that was spent in the Sphere Grid? 10 hours? 20? I mean, I kind of enjoyed tweaking the heck out of Yuna and seeing how big of damage numbers she could rack up if you turn her into a nuker instead of letting her rot in the “healer” role, but the thought of doing anything like that again anytime soon puts me to sleep.

So: Sudeki. Very limited character customization – you get about 8 stats per character, maybe a half dozen spells they can choose from, you don’t buy armor, and every character uses the same weapon type throughout the game. Once you get past the first couple of hours – and let me tell you, they make those first couple of hours DRAG by throwing way too much character interaction and far too many box-pushing puzzles at you – you’re left with an enjoyable combat system and some really pretty visuals, and a bit of a plot, but nothing too ambitious. About the only overly complex thing is the bizarre range of healing items – you’ve got items that heal some HP, items that give you some mana, items that give you some hp AND some mana, items that give everyone some HP, items that give everyone some mana, items that give you a full heal AND cure your poison, items that give you a full heal and full mana but don’t cure your poison… I say, and you may quote me, “Huh?”

It took about 20 hours to play through. If I’d been warned about something in advance, it would have taken a lot less time. I will put it in a way that hopefully saves you from getting stuck in the same rut but doesn’t necessarily spoil anything: If you are ready, in this game, to go and confront the Ancient Evil That Wants To Eat Everyone, and you decide that you are going to put aside the Final Confrontation because you really want to go finish up the quests for everyone’s Final Weapon of Buttkickingness – just skip to the final confrontation. Do not muck around trying to hunt down those last couple of totems just so everyone can have their Final Weapon.

Also, when it gets to the ending – do not blink. The ending is about 30 seconds long and then you get a long credits scroll.

I think this game would have gotten a lot more attention if the developers hadn’t front loaded it with so much block pushing. It took a bit of an effort of will to keep going after the “oh! in this block puzzle, I need to MATCH THE COLOR OF THE BLOCKS TO THE COLOR OF THE PRESSURE PLATES! HOW UNHEARD OF!” point.

As it is – I recall that it came out, got a little hype in advance, quickly disappeared. When it came out at $50, I figured I’d pick it up at the $20 Platinum Hits point, but either it never went Platinum Hits or I missed it, because I didn’t get it until I found it for $4.50 used at ebgames.

For that $4.50, I got 20 hours of game out of it, enjoyed probably 17 of those hours, it’s got some eye candy for us guys who like to be pandered to (Even if Buki is the least catgirlish catgirl in the history of catgirls, she still runs around in an improbable skintight thong battle suit) – I’m happy enough.

0401_buki_sudeki.jpg

I’m actually employed again as of this coming Friday, so this may mark the end of the Big Backlog Project. We’ll see.

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