Want something really different for the 360? Here's your ticket!
Culdcept Saga puts you in the shoes of a user created Cepter and charges you with collecting the shattered remnants of the Book of Life and using them in battle with the ultimate goal of creating a new world.
Story, Setting, Characters: 7
The story here is absolutely terrible. The good news is, Culdcept Saga makes no real effort to make the story matter; it's just a vehicle to move the story forward and give you a reason to fight battles in interesting locations.
On the plus side, the settings are interesting in both variety (with 30 or so maps to play) and visual style. The scenery and map styles are well done and provide a decent backdrop for your gameplay.
The characters come in many shapes and sizes and are almost exclusively opposing cepters that you must play against during the story mode. That being said, they are mostly good looking and well voiced, so that's a plus.
The gameplay is what CS is all about, really. You begin by creating a book of cards out of three main categories; Creatures, Items, and Spells. Further, each category is segmented into groups. For creatures, you have Neutral, Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Multi-Colored (more details later). For items, Weapons, Armor, Tools, and Scrolls. And for Spells, you have Instant Effect and Enchantment.
You can create your book in a multitude of ways with any balance of cards you like, up to the 50 card limit. As a result, there are literally hundreds of successful ways to create a winning deck.
Once battle begins, you take turns moving around a many spaced board. Each space can be either a territory, a board modifier (changes your position or the layout of the board), or a special space (giving you money, buying symbols (think stock market), or generating a random board wide effect). The goal of each battle is to reach a preset amount of gold and cross the finish line.
You gain gold by placing creatures on territories (where you will later have the option of leveling up like in Monopoly to get additional toll values), crossing forts, and passing "go" which is a castle in this game's case.
If you happen to land on an opponent's territory, you have the option of paying the toll, or invade and attempt to capture his territory. Which is where items come into play. These will vary the Strength and Hit Point values each creature in combat possesses make it easier for you to win. Other items have a variety of other effects which I won't go into here.
If you can succeed in all areas of the game, you'll eventually amass enough money to win the map.
Win or lose at the end of the map though, you'll gain new cards and perhaps some new avatar parts to dress up your cepter.
Nothing spectacular, but some of the backgrounds look nice and the cards are generally beautifully done.
Sounds is unremarkable, but the music is mostly very nice. Tends to do a good job of setting the tone for either the map you're on or the cepter you're facing.
Replayability: That's the entire point of this game. Imagine a card game you only played once. What would be the point??
Multiplayer is a treat in house. You can have up to four people play locally with you, though it tends to extend the length of the game exponentially. If you happen to have less than 4 players to play with though, you can fill in the gaps with Story characters you've already bested.
Final Score: 8.25 (rounded up to 8.5 for GS)
Culdcept Saga comes with my highest recommendation to anyone who likes a strategic game that is strictly turn based.