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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

[eM] –eNCHANT arM- Hands-On (Xbox 360)

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[eM] –eNCHANT arM- Hands-On (Xbox 360)

"The RPG genre has been a sorry lot on the Xbox, for the most part. Yes, there are a few standouts like Knights of the Old Republic, Morrowind, and Fable, but no one really puts the Xbox on the same playing field as PS2 or SNES when it comes to RPGs. Microsoft hopes that will change during the Xbox 360’s lifespan, especially in the Japanese market. With a development studio that has the pedigree of FROM Software working on one of the first next-gen RPGs, we’d say that things are definitely looking up for Microsoft and RPG fans in general. At the Tokyo Game Show we got our first real glimpse at FROM’s Japanese-style RPG, so level up your EP as we explore [eM] –eNCHANT arM-.

Xbox gamers should be no stranger to the people working on [eM] –eNCHANT arM- (let’s just call it Enchant Arm from now on), as it is the same team responsible for the Otogi series. We still think that Otogi is one of the most underappreciated Xbox games of all time, and we couldn’t be happier that FROM Software has several Xbox 360 games in the fold.

Specifics regarding the story a still a bit fuzzy, mainly because all of the text in the TGS demo was in Japanese, but we do know that the game focuses on a young male student, Atsuma Enchanter, and his special “Enchant” ability. In traditional RPG flavor, Atsuma will encounter a number of characters which will become allies during the quest. The demo provided the ability to navigate around a lush metropolis to experience some of the NPC interaction, as well as a look at the turn-based battle system.

We’ve already come to expect top-notch visuals with anything FROM Software tackles, and Enchant Arm is no different. Each of the main characters and various NPCs are superbly detailed, with no real carbon copies that we noticed. Hair strands and clothing flows along with a character’s movement and the modeling/texturing are very near CG quality. The metropolis was futuristic in style, with various towers reaching toward the sky. The city was populated with street side market kiosks and other tiny shops, and also included a few bridges to provide passage over the water canals. A few NPCs were available for communication, but unfortunately we could not decipher the Japanese text. Similar to other RPGs, a profile of the current speaking character is shown along the left side of the text screen, but instead of a static image, the character is fully modeled and includes lip synch with VO." [more]

3 screenshots here, 6 more via the link.

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