previews\ Nov 16, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Wrath Unleashed - PS2 - Preview 2

The nexus of an eternal war between light and darkness, chaos and order. Into this came the overlords. This is a battle for power, for control of the lands in the ethereal void.


As the voice of the narrator so ominously intones: “The time has come for the wrath of the gods to be unleashed.”


Wrath Unleashed, a PlayStation2 release from LucasArts and The Collective, is a strategic battle game that combines elements of turn-based and real-time battle. The creatures used in this game are colorful, imaginative and wonderfully detailed.


The game, essentially, relies on four elements – fire, earth, water and wind. The mapboards feature terrain types that are based on earth, water, fire and ice. There are more than 30 mythological creatures, from giantesses to centaurs to unicorns, genies and dragons. Each creature has its own special attacks. In addition there are three game modes – wargames, versus and team fighter.


The multiplayer game allows you to compete with up to four players.


The game plays out on a hexagonal board, filled with terrain features that offer differing power boosts. You can use the terrain, features and inhabitants of the squares to your advantage.


The game is rather simple to play, consider this a chess match with pieces featuring arcane abilities. There are three movement types – walking, teleporters and flying. Walkers must move around gaps and other creatures. Teleporters can cross gaps and flyers can move over spaces occupied by other creatures.


In the tutorial, you play a Light Order side (water) with your opponent on the side of Order Chaos (fire realm). The idea is to avoid fighting in hexes that are an advantage to your foe. You would rather take your water creature and attack an enemy on a water or neutral hex than in a lava or fire hex.


Once you have made your moves, it is time to resolve combat issues. This is when the game switches from a chessboard to a real-time three-dimensional arena for the battle. You can move your creature around, attack from vulnerable positions and use the strength of your creature to full advantage.


The score of the game on the preview disk was somewhat redundant but solid and feature a full rich sound. This, however, is not the driving element of the game. While the gameplay is quite good, the graphical elements are the real draw here.


Wrath Unleashed is very rich graphically. The game boards are based in a floating void, so players will concentrate on the hexes with their terrain features and the strategies for moving across and around the maps in their effort to overpower their foes. The tiny mobs are amazing to look at, but when you get into combat, the game’s graphics really soar. The arenas are not that spectacular, but the characters and animations are superb.


Wrath Unleashed is the style of game that will appeal to those up for a good chess match. The real-time battles are well done and really give this game a different feel. This is a game that is a great mental exercise and a real treat for the eyes.

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