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SummaryA Finely and Carefully Crafted Interactive Experience
The Good"Koudelka" was an underrated title when it was released on the Playstation in 1999. The development team, Sacnoth, was made of many talented designers, including many former Squaresoft employees. Their influence is felt through the highly polished visuals, both in-game and in cut-scenes.
"Koudelka" is a game that succeeds on many levels. The visuals, (gothic-horror), are beautiful and interesting, and keep the player's attention through the entire adventure. The story elements are bold and mature and are manifested in the superior writing. In association, I claim that "Koudelka" is, so far, the best voice-acted videogame ever. Special attention needs to be paid by the player when the characters of Koudelka and Edward are sharing a drink while sharing their pasts. In conjunction with the excellent writing and acting is the best execution of motion capture in any game. Often times motion captured characters seem to the player as a fractured set of movements forced together to produce familiar yet odd character movement. "Koudelka's" motion captured actors succeed to a degree that the player never question the use of the motion capture. Interwoven among the visuals and writing is an excellent score. The music is very reminiscent of recent "Castlevania" games that integrate gothic melodies with modern beats.
The combat system is fun but not stand out. It does not, however, detract from the overall gothic-horror themes in the game. It is more than adequate.
The BadUsually, the only negative comment one will read about "Koudelka" is the combat system. I do not think this is a result of the combat system being deficient, instead I claim that because the rest of the game was so finely crafted and extraordinary, that the basic and adequate combat system has a gigantic shadow cast over it.
The Bottom LineKoudelka was one of the greatest videogames released for the PSX. The title succeeded in nearly every category. The visuals, writing, acting, and music are extraordinary. The level of maturity has yet to be matched in any videogame. (The game coming closest would be "Final Fantasy X"). This is a true gem amidst the very average franchise titles released in the late life of the PSX. Thankfully there were enough sales to warrant a sequel, entitled: "Shadow Hearts", for the PS2.
The gothic-horror atmosphere is omnipresent, the characters, via their writing and acting convince the player of their reality, and the music glues the videogame together. For fun that has yet to be duplicated by any other game, with a close exception being "Shadow Hearts", give a look to "Koudelka".