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PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC

Deck 13
Publisher: Atari
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6
view user comments (0)
User Rating: 6

Any good RPG takes some time to develop. You need to set up the story, set up the characters (most likely a noble farm-boy who doesn't know life outside of his farm), and set up their journey. But thanks to a series of stale mechanics, shallow gameplay and glitches, Venetica, the new action RPG from Deck 13 and DTP entertainment feels lost before it can even get through the first act.

Venetica takes place in an alternate 16th century style universe, where Death isn't an event, but a physical being controlled by a group known only as the Corpus. Each generation, the Corpus selects a successor to take on the role of Death, but this year they seem to have made a bit of a mistake. They seem to have selected a necromancer who intends to throw off life's balance and bring complete death and destruction upon the world. The only one who can stop this from happening? Scarlett, the daughter of Death.

From here, you can probably expect where the story is headed. Our heroine, Scarlett starts off as a simple everyday girl, but through the process of her journey, the people she meets and the truth she uncovers, she'll grow to be a much more versatile warrior. Yawn. The premise of Venetica is actually quite interesting, but it's a shame that they hid it behind such predictable plot elements. You don't really find out who Scarlett's father is until later on in the game, but it's pretty evident due to the dead giveaways in the plot. In truth, there really aren't many big shocking twists to be found in Venetica, and it's quite possible to telegraph the entire story fairly early on.

"...its core mechanics make it feel more like an action title..."


While the format is definitely there to make the case for Venetica as an RPG, but there's no doubt that its core mechanics make it feel more like an action title - and a rather lackluster one at that. The game's combat system can be boiled down to a few simple elements - button mashing, which works best against smaller opponents with less health, and chain attacks - which of course will be more useful against the opposite. Boss battles throw a bit more at you, with each one featuring two different attack phases - one in the natural realm and the other in the spiritual realm. While they're easily choreographed, the game's boss battles are quite reminiscent of those of the Zelda series (in terms of tone, not quality). You'll have to spot a pattern and attack against, much like Nintendo's famed series.

Your journey throughout Venetica will take you from small villages all the way to Venice, where the game's third chapter will form, and when the design team didn't cut corners, it looks incredibly fantastic. Small details dot the sea coasts of the small villages and facial expressions of NPCs are quite well done. It's just a shame that when you look further than these details, you're sure to notice a number of shortcuts the developers took seemingly in an effort to get the game done faster. Blocky textures are an issue throughout and I experienced a significant amount of slowdown in certain sections.

"Misspellings and grammar issues are a constant in the subtitles..."


Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Venetica is the sloppy nature of the presentation values. Misspellings and grammar issues are a constant in the subtitles, and they take you out from the story every single time. The same level of suck comes across in the voice acting, while some performances are delivered quite incredibly, a good portion of them are laughably bad. It's mind boggling that a developer would release a game that they worked on for quite some time with so many shortcuts and glitches.

Venetica could have been a good game - hell, it could have been a great game, but thanks to a series of cheap mechanics, glitches and poor gameplay features, it never gets the chance. The story is interesting enough, the world is a detailed one, and some of the voice performances are among the best of the year category, but somewhere down the lines the developers seemingly lost any interest in creating a quality game. 



CHEATS USED: God Mode, Add Gold, Max Attributes, more

In Venetica, you play as the unknowing daughter of death - that's got to come with some perks right? Perks like the trainer, which gives you an awesome amount of abilities to take out your foes with. You've got god mode - which is pretty much a must when you're a relative of death, along with the ability to instantly add 1000 gold and to max out all of your attributes.



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