Preview: Culdcept Saga (XB360)

To those of you out there who are appreciators of innovation in gaming, allow me to say this: If you missed out on Culdcept, I truly feel badly for you. A PS2 title of virtually non-existent sales, Culdcept built a small but loyal fan following purely on the sheer originality of its concept. For those who did miss it, it’s essentially one part Monopoly and one part Magic: The Gathering. Characters would circle a game board, on which there were all sorts of different tiles, each of which represented elements. You were also provided cards of various sorts, which could represent various monsters and items and could be used in a number of ways. When you landed on tiles, if they were unoccupied, you could lay a monster card at that location to “own” it. If another player landed on this space, they either had to pay out magic points or fight the card with a card monster of their own. Item and spell cards could be used to swing the hand of Lady Luck into your favor (dice rolls dictated how far you could move, and luck of the draw what cards you got, so luck played a very big role in the game) or to aid monster cards in battle. It was, in short, a deeply involved and highly awesome game.

Namco Bandai understands, apparently, as they’re seeing fit to bring us the latest chapter of this series, courtesy of the Xbox 360. From all indications, (if Google translations work properly), you take on the role of a young man who is told by a disembodied voice to save his world from destruction. To do so, of course, you’re going to have to use the cards, which come from the book of Culdcept, a book of the gods whose power can be wielded by Cepters, AKA you. The fundamental concepts of the series seem to be largely intact, which should please fans immensely.

Gameplay, so far, also appears to be as it’s always been. If the images supplied so far are any indication, the game will immediately be familiar to fans: as noted above, you’ll move around a game board of sorts, fighting Cepters with your various cards to establish dominance over them. It’s been announced that Culdcept Saga will contain a whopping 400 cards, which should keep those looking to build the ultimate deck or collect every last card busy for ages. One thing that is new, that should please a lot of players, is the announced Xbox Live online play, which will allow you to play against Cepters for dominance. How this will be implemented is yet to be seen, but the game is fully designed for multiplayer support, and will support four-player matches with card-wagering, so however it works, it should be fantastic.

Visually, Culdcept looks quite reasonable; while it’s unknown what sort of HD capability it will support, the visuals we’ve seen so far look reasonable. The game board looks far better than the PS2 counterpart, and character models and effects look to be well done so far. The major attraction, visually, is the card art; cards in Culdcept were all hand-drawn artworks that were absolutely stunning in their detail and quality. From what’s been shown so far, the art should be outstanding once again, as what’s been presented already looks very nice.

Culdcept Saga debuted recently in Japan (early November), though it has yet to have a firm release date established for its US release. You can bet we’re excited for its release, and when new information becomes available, we’ll keep you up-to-date.