Not out yet but looks G R E A T
Okay, since this rating system is divided into three sub-categories, I'll try to similarly segregate this review into respective sections. Before we get started, though, note that while the game admittedly isn't out yet, I've read some pretty extensive information on it and seen a few graphical and multimedia samples -- so you can rest assured that you're getting some factually based insight. **GAMEPLAY**: This is where the game really shines -- and where it will either reel you in or repel you. The game revolves around a rather compelling story -- in an immediately post-apocalyptic world you shape your character through subtle choices from the game's onset, molding the universe through your actions. These Fable-esque decision-based outcomes extend beyond the limitations of mere plot structure, as the enemies (primarily demons) you face throughout the game depend on which of three (possibly four in the States) competing factions you choose to side with. Not into joining up with others? Loners can forsake all existing power groups, setting out entirely on their own. Combat too, involves more than a few choices, and introduces some new elements to traditional turn-based fare, wherein stats determine much of your success. While the level and attributes of your character are still important, his and his enemies' elemental affinities also take on great importance, as scoring a critical hit or exploiting an opponent's weakness results in an extra turn, while attacking with a spell or move it's immune to results in the loss of a turn. Additionally, monsters you encounter can be persuaded to join you -- provided you apply the correct means of persuasion and are of a level acceptable to him or her. Expanding even more on this setup, a Monster Rancher-like system of combining captured demons (including an encyclopedia of captured monsters and means of sacrificing demons to imbue others with some of their stats, in addition to traditional combination) Through this intricately branching tree of decisions a nearly limitless myriad of customization emerges. Everything from the course of the story to the demons you fight alongside or against to even your character model (which is visually effected by whichever upgrades you may choose to endow him with) is influenced by your slightest whim. **GRAPHICS**: Cell shaded with simple, yet bold coloring, the graphics in Nocturne add to the dark and brooding atmosphere of the game. Characters are well-designed and -developed, creating a cohesive and reputedly enveloping atmosphere. Testers everywhere seem very enthused, and from the looks of sample images and video files I'd have to agree. The game has a unique design that adheres very well to its overall theme -- a darkly innovative approach to an increasingly repetitive subject. **DIFFICULTY**: This is the one aspect of the game I can't really be too well versed in. From the sounds of it things could get pretty intense and complex in some ways, as you're really punished for not knowing any given enemy's strengths and weaknesses. However, once you've got the foes of a particular region figured out, the difficulty should decrease dramatically, as enemy AI is somewhat more random than strategic -- sometimes resulting in foes attacking players repetitively with attacks that fail. This could, I suppose be great for those who don't like to think much in gaming, but could just as often result in some frustratingly unpredictable (as opposed to intellectually stimulating, if difficult) encounters. Also, as this game is so atypical of its own or any genre, I have a feeling the non-thinking type of gamer won't be particularly interested anyway, which leaves all those seeking major challenges in this respect a bit out of luck. Additionally, in a swerve away from its innovative edge, the game includes the standard RPG amount of irritating random encounters. This is, however, based on information derived from the Japanese version of the game, and these minor complaints could possibly be remedied by the time it hits stateside. If not, while this could be mildly disappointing, don't think it will ruin the otherwise deep and enveloping experience. The problems are small enough to be more of an occasional, mild annoyance than a constant and considerable frustration. ***Overall***, this game looks to be a gem to watch out for, and will likely be an underground hit (or potentially a mainstream hit if it's advertised well enough, who knows?). Pre-ordering is recommended, as the game could go quickly if enough people find out about everything that makes it so attractive. If you're into gaming and would enjoy a refreshing take on the somewhat stagnant genre, than this game is for you. The vast amount of customization and branching plot, along with the very interesting story, will provide hours of 'replay' in which you won't actually be reliving the same quest. Combining demons (including, if you haven't heard, Devil May Cry's Dante) and manipulating the world around you makes this a unique and intriguing game, even for those who aren't particularly interested in taking the 'completionist' approach, and doing everything there is to be done. Be warned, however, that those who aren't up to a bit of heady philosophical story, or prefer characters pre-formed by a game's designers, will likely be turned off. If you don't want to spend a lot of time playing, or prefer to play a less active role in the course of action, this game is likely not for you. For all others, however, this game is looking to be a classic. Buy it and savor every moment -- you'll encourage developers to make more innovative and decision-based titles like it.
Was this review helpful to you?YESNO