We take another look at Atari and Eden Studios' upcoming platformer.
We got our hands on a near-final version of Kya: Dark Lineage, the upcoming PlayStation 2 platformer from Atari and Eden Studios. The game has made significant progress since the last time we saw it a few months ago. Eden Studios has done quite a bit of polishing on nearly every aspect of the game, resulting in a tighter look and feel that bodes well for the final version.
The version of the game we played offered a much tighter unveiling of the story, thanks to a proper opening cinema that details Kya and her half brother, Frank, poking around their father's old workshop. When Frank accidentally triggers a device that zaps them into a bizarre world, he is apparently possessed by something. Finding out the specifics of what's got into Frank, literally, and how a dimension-breaching machine winds up in their father's workshop are just some of the things on your to-do list in the strange new world. Unfortunately, those tasks take a back seat to survival when Kya wakes up to find herself separated from Frank and surrounded by some strange furry creatures. Before she can process what has happened, she finds herself on the run, along with her mysterious fuzzy companions, when a pack of menacing creatures appears. Following her escape, Kya is befriended by her companions, called Nativs, who bring her up to speed on current events. The Nativs are a peaceful people being oppressed by an evil man named Brazul, who captures them and uses magic to transform them into wolfen, the feral creatures that attacked Kya at the game's opening. The Nativ village elder, Atea, decides that Kya is the Nativ's best hope for freedom and agrees to help her find her brother in exchange for her help in liberating all the captured Nativs. To aid her in her quest, Atea grants Kya the power to ride the winds and the ability to wield magic. Armed with her new abilities and with a sidekick named Aton, Kya sets out to find her brother and rescue the Nativs. Just before things fully get under way, the story takes a pretty interesting twist when Kya discovers that the evil Brazul is, in fact (cue dramatic music), her father.
The gameplay in Kya has been tightened considerably since the last version of the game we played. The gameplay breaks down into three distinct types: exploration, combat, and flying. Exploration is your standard third-person platformer fare, so expect to do your fair share of puzzle solving and character interaction. The puzzles will come in a variety of flavors. In some missions you'll have to suss out how to open blocked passages, and in more stealth-oriented missions you will have to sneak past wolfen or figure out creative ways to deal with large numbers of them. The game will offer some pretty cool solutions to your head-scratching dilemmas. In some cases you'll need to interact with colorfully eccentric characters for hints or help in your travels, or you might have to make use of creatures called jamguts, which will serve as fast-moving rides that are vital to reaching some of your goals.