Atlus Booth Report
We geek out with a batch of localizing gems.
Article by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
May 27th 2005, 05:24AM
Magna Carta: Tears of Blood (PS2)
The efforts of Korean developer Softmax are largely unknown in the West. Now Atlus has seen fit to localize one of their most ambitious titles yet, with production levels on par with the Final Fantasy series.
Calintz carries scars deeper than anyone can see, the scars of memory when his peaceful home town was destroyed by the Yason, an elf-like race who had dominated Efferia before the arrival of the humans. For this reason he became the commander of a military unit to stop the war between the two races for good, no matter how much Yason blood must be spilled in the process. Though his life is about to be changed by a chance encounter with Reith, a woman who has lost her memory. Will she be able to turn Calintz away from this path of hatred? Will there ever be peace in a land that has suffered thirty years of relentless bloodshed?
This is a world composed of seven elements, with the very environments effecting the power of your special attacks in battle, drawn from the fourteen available styles, and three possible attack modes. Battles are a mix of real-time and turn-based, with the ability to move and switch characters on the fly, but only able to attack when the bar hits one of the markers, similar to the ATB system of the Final Fantasy series. Attacking pauses the game briefly to allow you to execute a timed combo, where certain button presses must be made at the proper time, and the closer you are to perfection, the more powerful your attack will be. This keeps the fighting from being a mindless hack and slash, but at the same time provides an intensity lacking in most turn-based melees.
It's not surprising that the artist Hyung Tae Kim is becoming well known outside of his native Korean after seeing the designs he produced with Magna Carta, each unique and beautiful, making you wish that every character could join your party just to keep them around, though admittedly sometimes the only way to tell the girls from the boys is checking their chest size. They have also been fully translated into 3D, and their surroundings are on par with FFX, without the nasty shimmer effect that plagued Square's premiere RPG. Fully rendered cut-scenes are interspersed throughout the game only serve to crank up the intensity of this fifty hour journey.
Atlus was kind enough to provide me with the Japanese release of the game since they didn't have a translated build that was ready to be sent out, and I'm already hooked. Expected an extended preview or a full-blown review in the near future.