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Venetica Impressions

by Joost "Myrthos" Mans, 2009-09-02

At Gamescom Venetica was shown to me on the Xbox360 by DTP's Claas Wolter in a 20 minute session. Venetica is Deck13's first RPG. Prior to Venetica they worked on adventures such as the Ankh series and Jack Keane, which showed their ability to tell a story.

 

 

The story

Venetica takes us to Venice in the 16th century, although it is a different Venice from how you might know it. In the era Venetica takes place, Death is a flesh and blood being who is elected for the job every two centuries by an ancient council known as Corpus. This council made a serious mistake when selecting the previous Death: in error they chose a necromancer, who took this opportunity to bring death and destruction to the world. In his job as Death he managed to transform himself into an undead fiend, making it impossible to kill him. The selection of a new Death by the council made him very upset, though, and he now has two new goals in his life; kill the new Death and destroy the council of Corpus.

You play Scarlett - a young girl living in a town several miles from Venice. She is at a party with her boyfriend, who has to leave on a mission the next day. During this party, the village is raided by intruders and Scarlett is forced to fight for the very first time in her life. She turns out to be capable enough in doing so, although at this stage she can only handle simple fighting combinations; over time, she will learn more complex combinations. Just as she is about to be defeated her boyfriend saves her but dies in the process. She is not given much time to grieve as she is warped to meet Death - who turns out to be her father - and who explains to her the situation with the necromancer and that she has some special powers, which she will need to stop him. And to do so, she will have to go to Venice.

The necromancer and his people are looking for this special person everywhere but they don't know it is Scarlett who they're looking for. The only thing they know is that they need to find someone with extraordinary powers. As long as you make sure you tell no one about your powers, you will not be discovered that easily. If they do find out, they will fight you and you will have to kill them or try to flee. It is not really a big deal if you are discovered as a few miles down the road they know nothing about this discovery and remain unaware of whom you are.

  

 

Venice

The city of Venice in the game is not an exact copy of the Venice we know. It is not even a copy of Venice in the 16th century. It does, however, look like Venice and some parts could look familiar if you've been to Venice before.

In Venice you have different ways of traveling. You can walk the streets, the rooftops and enter any building that has a door, you can take a gondola to travel via the canals and you can swim in the canals to enter some areas that can only be reached by swimming to them and you can crawl the dungeons underneath Venice. There are also different areas like the harbor, inner Venice and outer Venice and you even have the opportunity to go to Africa. You have to unlock these areas but once you've done that, you can go anywhere you want.

Venetica has a day and night cycle and the NPCs are acting on that - in the morning they go to work and in the evening they go home. You can spend some time with those NPCs and visit them either at work or at home. Some of them will be happy to see a beautiful young girl in their home - but some will not. You can choose how to interact with these NPCs and depending on the choices you make of being a good or a bad girl, the game ends differently.

  

The artwork of Venetica looks very good and at daytime shows a very colorful and vivid Venice with some great looking buildings. At night, the game becomes darker with creatures roaming the almost empty streets. Unfortunately, the XBox 360 version shown to us did show a lot of graphical glitches in the shadow areas...we were told that these glitches are currently being ironed out by Deck 13.

 

Wrapping it up

There wasn't much combat shown to us so there is not a lot to tell about that, though it does appear the combat is more than just hacking away once you are attacked. Your opponents are intelligent enough to block your attacks, if you don't use the different combos. These combos you can learn by investing skill points into a skill tree and finding the right trainer. You can also improve other skills in that way, as well.

One of Scarlett's powers is the ability to instantly go into the 'twilight world'. When she is there the living can no longer see her, which can allow her to escape a fight or move past some guards unnoticed. There are friendly creatures in this world that will help her but there are also unfriendly creatures who want to do the opposite. Whenever Scarlett dies, she goes to this world of the death where she can resurrect herself and return to the world of the living again.

  

With only following the main quests, Venetica offers 25 hours of gameplay but if you want to do everything, then you are looking at 40-60 hours.

Venetica has several features to make it a very interesting game. It is however hard to judge for me at the moment how well these features are implemented - not enough was shown to me for that. Still, assuming they are well implemented, then this is certainly one game to look forward to.

Box Art

Information about

Venetica

Developer: Deck 13

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
Germany, Austria & Switzerland
· Homepage
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2009-09-04
· Publisher: dtp

Germany, Austria & Switzerland
· Venetica
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2009-11-27
· Publisher: dtp

Europe & USA
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2010-01-18
· Publisher: dtp

Europe & USA
· Platform: Xbox 360
· Released at 2010-01-18
· Publisher: dtp

More information