Venetica is a new role playing game for the XBox 360 Deck 13 and Atari. It’s a single player action game that has you taking on the role of Scarlett, the daughter of death. An evil necromancer tricked her father and is now trying to take over the universe and Scarlett is the only one who can defeat him and restore balance to the universe. She knows nothing at all about her powers or about being a warrior so she has to learn all of this in order to defeat him (and that’s the game).
The story starts in the middle of a battle in a small village near a fantasy version of Venice, Italy. Bandits are intent on killing and destroying everyone in the village. When her beloved, Benedict, tries to protect Scarlett, he’s killed and this sets Scarlett off on her quest for revenge. During her quest, you are given the chance to make decisions about how she reacts to events, with what she decides impacting who interacts with her throughout the rest of the game. Quests and missions are made available to her depending on whether or not she decides to be nice to someone to get what she wants or to fight them to get what she wants. As an example, when you arrive in Venice you can join one of three groups: one that’s based on fighting and being dishonest, one that’s based on necromancy and is honest, or one that is neutral. Depending on the choices you’ve made prior to this point in the game, you’re only allowed to join one.
Combat in Venetica is mostly done by pushing the controller button repeatedly. You also have the ability to roll and dodge to the side. You have your choice of using a sword, hammers, axes, scythes, and spears and shields. You can use all of them from the beginning of game play but until you learn how to use their special abilities, you aren’t very good with any of them. To learn a new skill you need to earn skill points by doing certain things and you need to have someone to teach you the skill itself. Not everyone you ask will help you learn, it all depends on whom your friends with. After you learn one skill, other skills are become available. You can learn weapon mastery, blocks, deadly injection, twilight rift, death burst, riposte, titan’s blow, covert strike, shield slam and a number of other fighting skills. You can also learn alchemy and beast knowledge that will help you as well in your efforts to save the universe.
Throughout the game you are sent on different quests and missions to either kill something or find a certain object. As you move through the game, there’s a green mark that guides you to where you’re supposed to go next which is helpful so you have an idea of where you’re heading. What you’re asked to do will depend on previous choices so Scarlett sort of takes on the personality that you want her to have. I really liked that about the game.
Venetica randomly saves itself throughout the game and you can also save the game when you want except if you are talking to someone. If you die, you get sent to Twilight which is a realm somewhere between death and life. Here you can get your health points back and move to a different location if you have enough energy left.
The game is fairly simple to play and I like that the fighting is done mostly by pressing a button. There’s nothing really complicated to it which is a plus for me since I’m not a huge RPG player. For those with lots of battle experience under their belt in other games, they may feel limited by this however. The graphics are really pretty cool and there is a lot of nice detail in the pictures. It’s pleasant to look at as you wander around through the palace, sewers, dungeons, and canals. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t scroll all that smoothly though and at times is relatively jumpy.
This is definitely an enjoyable RPG especially for those of us who aren’t seasoned battle game players. It’s fun and interesting and changes each time you play based on the choices you make. It’s really easy to get caught up for several hours playing and loose track of time.
Venetica is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Alcohol Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence. This game can also be found on: PC and PS3.