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Koudelka (PlayStation) artwork

Koudelka (PlayStation) review


"Koudelka has a similar look and feel to a survival horror game; Except there are random encounters while exploring the monastery and the battles are duked out in a strategy RPG format on a 7x7 grid. "



Upon the announcement of this game I was thoroughly intrigued, an RPG with a gothic setting and a beautiful woman as the hero. What more could a RPGer ask for? A company finally trying to change the entire RPG industry and mixing two of the best genres together. Sacnoth Digital Entertainment composed of ex-squaresoft employee's armed with the knowledge and skills set out to produce a masterpiece that might just take the RPG genre to the next level.

Gameplay

Koudelka has a similar look and feel to a survival horror game; Except there are random encounters while exploring the monastery and the battles are duked out in a strategy RPG format on a 7x7 grid. The level system takes a unique turn away from the usual computer generated stats for leveling up and allows you receive points that you can freely distribute. The distribution of points to your attributes allows you to fully customize your characters to your liking. Koudelka is not a very difficult game to complete, as long as you remember the fundamental rule that apply's to all RPG's. The controls in Koudelka are nicely done in real time, unlike pressing up to move forward and right/left to change the direction the character is facing which is found in your typical survival horror game.

Story

The story starts out with a medium named Koudelka that is mysteriously channeled to a monastery by an unknown voice. Koudelka sets out on her horse crossing beautiful and lush lands to an unknown destination. Her horse comes to a halt after finding a monastery on a cliff high above the ocean. Koudelka scales the outside wall of the monastery to the top of the roof where the place begins to glow with a bad omen. Koudelka finds and slides into an open window near the roof where she meets a treasure hunter named Edward Plunkett that has been wounded by something that he cannot describe. From this moment on the true horror begins!

Audio/Video

The 2d pre rendered backgrounds are done nicely and have a lot of detail to enhance the gothic look and feel to it, even the character models(3d) were also done nicely with plenty of detail. The character movement is very smooth and fluid running at a constant frame rate. The FMV's are mind blowing, pure eye candy that seems to reach out and grab the player only to pull them closer to their tv screens to soak up every word of the story. There are plenty of FMV's packed into this game that will keep you glued to this gothic RPG until the very end. The audio is quite different and takes a step in a new direction. First off, there is very little music as you explore the monastery which helps set the mood of the dark and mysterious monastery. Most of the battle music is very slow to create and keep the gothic and horror feel to it. The music is not the best but it does a good job of keeping the suspense of the story line.

Replayability

This game has very little replay ability to it. You do not get anything special for completing the game (ex. better weapons, new spells, etc.) but you do get an ending. There are a total of 3 different endings, you can get them in one trip through as long as you know where to save. Other than the three endings that I mentioned there is just one side quest that can be completed and thats about it.

To buy or rent

I guess the choice is up to you, if you really like RPG's and you own a large library I suggest you buy it and add it to your collection. If you are skeptical and not sure this RPG is up your alley, I strongly recommend renting to get a feel for it. Koudelka may look huge because it comes with four CD's but it only takes about 20-30 hours complete including the sidequest and all the endings.
For people wondering if Koudelka is a prequel to Shadow Hearts, yes and no because Koudelka takes place before Shadow Hearts but has a little relevance to Shadow Hearts main story line.

Rating: 7/10

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Community review by mac (Date unavailable)

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zippdementia posted November 17, 2008:

Hey, this was the prequel to Shadow Hearts, right? Never played it, but heard good things. It's a rare one, if you find a copy, sell it for lots of money on amazon or ebay.
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sashanan posted November 17, 2008:

I bought this full price when stores here still had it. I was initially under the impression it was European developed, so odd a change of pace was it for an RPG to take place here.

At the time I didn't care much for the mechanics and thought it a waste of my money, but I eventually developed a liking for it, and I don't mind at all that its collector value has steadily risen since then.

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