Okage Shadow King
Review of Okage Shadow King
Beginning your game as Ari, a young and often ignored boy with a loving family, you (along with your sister) will soon fall under the auspices of Stan the Evil King. While traveling with Stan trapped in your shadow, many trials and tribulations will await you. For you see, Stan is a quite arrogant and self-absorbed “so-called” Evil King, and he is determined to seek out and find all the “so-called” Fake Evil Kings and defeat them. Only then can Stan regain his full Evil power and free your shadow from his grip and your sister from her…uh.. problem. And so you go, reluctantly and unknowingly into the now ghost infested world.
Okage plays like your typical turn-based Rpg, despite its claim of real-time combat. That’s fine by me since I prefer turn-based. Let me expand on this somewhat since some of you are (rightfully) picky on the combat system of your Rpg’s. Ok, so you get into a fight with some random monsters, which by the way are visible and usually avoidable, but since they are ghosts they fade in and out of view so sometimes they will just appear on top of your party. The battle scene is set.
Each character in your party (up to 3, out of 6 at a time) has a time bar that fills up. When the bar is filled you do a command such as magic, which uses LP (Labor Points) or HP (Hit Points), attack or Item. After inputting the commands the character will spring to action. This will go on for all the characters in succession. All action on screen will freeze, Matrix style, when it’s time for you to input another command for a character. So you see, the commands are all turn-based, but the action of the fight is constantly moving, except when everything “freezes” for you to input a command. This was a semi-neat idea. It was visually cool, but when your spells visual effects or the damage received numbers that appear over the monsters heads gets interrupted, it can get confusing (So…did my spell hit him? ….Ok, there it goes).
One feature of the combat system that was fairly cool is the combo system. While not technically amazing, it is fun to initiate and watch. You can have 1 or 2 members of your group “Wait” and then have the remaining member(s) do a combo attack. After that, you just watch the 2/3 of you pound the snot out of some poor baddie. This obviously works well when there is only one monster.
I didn’t like the fact that if the main character died in a fight the game would end, while the other characters could die without ending the game. The battles are mostly avoidable as I said earlier, but they go rather quickly so even if you stink at avoiding the ghosts it shouldn’t be too frustrating.
There are plenty of odd named items with even odder descriptions to find scattered throughout the game, but weapons and armor are few and far between. The bulk of the game is heavily based on dialog, and I found it to be very funny at times, while sometimes it seemed to drag on. The scope of exploration and fighting can become somewhat mundane after awhile, but overall the puzzles and dungeon areas seem properly sized to keep this from being a issue of import, and the cut scenes and dialog break up the action nicely.
Traversing the world is done on a world map. The world is broken up into several continents, which are opened up through either teleporters or tunnels, and towns.
The visuals are for the most part wonderful. By now you’ve no doubt heard the comparisons to the art style of Tim Burton. This is somewhat over stated. While the characters do bear an odd and mutated appearance, and the buildings in town have a cocked appearance, the art style is unique and rather well done.
The frame rate isn’t even an issue and the fully rotatable camera while in dungeons and on the world map, make for easy exploration, although in some dungeons I would have preferred the camera perspective to be a little further from the characters to offer a wider field of vision. Lush vegetation and fully polygonal, real-time scenery make for a heap of eye-candy. On the down side, the spells, which by now have become a huge part of most Rpg’s are somewhat limited in scope and in flair.
The sound in Okage is right on. Each town has it’s own unique soundtrack and all of them seem to fit like a glove. Mostly upbeat tempo music with an almost Celtic feel to it, Okage shines here. The battle music is consistent throughout the game and always kept me humming along. This game does make decent use of surround sound, but the narrations that are interspersed throughout seem to be put out at a lower audio level and I constantly found myself turning up the volume for those segments.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Okage Shadow King' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Robert Gibson © Absolute PlayStation
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