While Sudeki is a pretty game, there are far too many issues pulling it down into an abyss of mediocrisy and frustration

User Rating: 4 | Sudeki XBOX
Let's face it, the Xbox is ancient and by now, most people have moved on to the shiny consoles of today. However, there are a few gems that withstand the test of time and deliver an experience like none anyone has ever seen. Sudeki very far from such an example due to its erratic difficulty curve, poor controls, and lack of extra stuff to do, but don't take this the wrong way. After all, Sudeki is a pretty game with some interesting aspects but the cons greatly outweigh the pros.

In any case, the story of Sudeki is unremarkable in both its concept and execution. The game starts with Tal, a member of the army of a shining empire that must defend itself from the seemingly evil invaders of another world. How did this other world come into play, you ask? Well, it all started when a deity was given the world as a toy to play with and then he got bored with it and decided to spawn a twin from his skin and then the twin that was spawned was evil so the evil twin fought the good twin for the world and it resulted in the world splitting in two but then four warriors helped the good deity and temporarily (meaning for about 1,000 years) incapacitated the evil...Err, anyway...Now its that 1,000 years later and Tal is a descendant of one of the warriors and must join the descendants of the other three in order to repeat the process all over again and actually get it right this time around. The rest of the story, you can find out by yourself.

Graphically, Sudeki is a beautiful game. The character models are creative, goofy, and plentiful with clear distinctions making them unique (such as color, pieces of their outfits, shape, etc.) and gives each of them a kind of status among their fellow beings. As for the environments, they too are distinct and rarely repeat themselves. Such diversity really helps when it comes to navigation since backtracking is an important aspect. What's even better is that there are very few load times and they never pop up during battle which makes for smooth gameplay.

With all the things going right with Sudeki, you'd think it would get a higher score right? Well, no. The graphics is where the gravy train of compliments comes to a complete stop, rolls off the tracks, and crashes into an elementary school. In fact, Sudeki can be used as the perfect example when saying that good graphics alone a good game does not make. There are plenty of glaring issues throughout Sudeki's journey that make it a game to avoid like the plague.

The first of the crippling issues is the difficulty curve. Normally, an RPG (and any good game, to be honest) plays out easier during the beginning and a little bit or even a whole lot harder at the end with a gradual increase in difficulty. Sadly, Sudeki has a difficulty curve that juts up and down so frequently that it would look like varying peaks of mountains if laid out on a line graph. There is absolutely no difficulty curve to speak of. There are actually incidents where one battle will be a breeze and the on right after that will be nearly impossible to win, even with the same enemies!

For example, there was a part where there were these crab enemies who don't do much other than attack. The first time around they were defeated within 30 seconds but the second time they must have stumbled into a pile of steroid powder and commenced to mercilessly reach into my mouth and pull out my lungs! I had the same amount of items since they dropped the right healing potions and my characters were at top physical condition like last time and they still managed to get mugged during the second encounter. Not only does this make it frustrating to go through a level in a straight path, it also makes backtracking a gamble (and with the amount of backtracking you do, this is horrifying).

What's even worse about the difficulty curve is how it applies to bosses. In fact, most of the bosses are laughably easy compared to the normal enemies. Still, there are a couple exceptions and they're pretty prominent ones. The best example is the final boss. While I won't tell anything about what it actually is for spoiler reasons, I can say that it has to be one of the most unfair enemies in video game history. By the end of the game, your character is fairly strong and you've more than likely put in some extra stuff to make it stronger, right? Looks like all that buffing up doesn't apply when it comes to the last boss, sorry. The final boss (metaphorically) sneaks behind you, whacks you over the back of the head with a lead pipe, and soulessly starts tearing you limb from limb while you're stunned and helpless. Due to the final boss being so strong, you're pretty much forced into training your characters to their maximum levels and buying a truckload of healing items to compensate for the sheer brutality of that final encounter. Considering how long it takes to level up certain characters and the amount of experience it takes to get to higher levels, this is what made me stop playing.

Other than the difficulty, the controls are another fatal flaw: Mainly for the FPS characters. There are two characters in Sudeki who enter an FPS mode during combat and can deal out damage with various weapons with various firing rates. On paper, this sounds like a fantastic idea but the execution is sub-par at best. Not only does your character move too slow to avoid getting cut into ribbons, there's also no jump button that allows for quick dodges to attacks that are fast and frequent. Of course, there are other characters in your party that will help stave them off if they get too close but there are some instances where the FPS character will be all alone and has to fend for themselves by taking a massive amount of damage and getting squished just before victory.

The melee characters aren't exactly better to play with, either. Truth be told, the FPS characters are better by comparison. Melee in Sudeki works by chaining together a few combinations of the A and X buttons when appropriate and hoping that the enemy won't regain their composure before they slash you in the gonads. Sadly, the enemies are far too quick and will most likely (meaning about 80% of the time) either stick a sword in your gut before the big finish or move a few inches to the side and impale your kidneys. The best example is one of Tal's combos that goes A,X,A. The first move stuns them a bit, the second smacks them back into consciousness, and the third gives the enemy an opportunity to stick a sword through your stupid head for thinking you can pull off a slow move after helping them regain their composure. To make things worse, there's absolutely no targeting system other than pointing your character in the direction of the enemy and hoping they stay still so all three moves can be executed. Such a lack of good controls really starts to get on your nerves when all you can do is smack the enemy twice and run away scared.

Thirdly, the lack of extra content is sad. There's so few things to do other than the main quests that it can easily be put in the "linear" category. Even the extra quests can be completed inadvertently because they deal with collecting special items you get from enemies. For example, there was a quest where you're supposed to collect some pearls for some kid. Since these pearls pop out of the enemies at an alarmingly fast rate, I already had all the ones I needed before I even spoke to the guy. The only real extra stuff to speak of comes in the form of backtracking with characters that were previously unavailable and getting a new weapon or upgrade for your trouble. There isn't any real difficulty with any of the backtracking since it doesn't really involve any enemy contact and they're so plentiful that you'll most likely miss a few. Even if you do miss some of the special items, most of them are useless and inferior to the ones you already have (other than the upgrades).

When all is said and done, Sudeki is a poorly done game that might have been more enjoyable if more effort was put into it. The poor controls, spastic difficulty, and lack of extras makes it a hard sell to anyone who isn't a very hardcore RPG fan. If you're looking for an enjoyable experience that merges genres, Sudeki will leave you crying in the corner. Even if you can't find anything else to play on your Xbox, simply look a bit harder and find some other game.