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July 25, 2001

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page






Q4 2001


Microsoft's impressive first-party action title gets the preliminary once-over. Check it out inside.

Fantasy buffs unite! A new hero is on the horizon. And it comes in the form of… a little boy? That's right. A small child is here to satisfy your burning desire for a new spell combat game. Following in the footsteps of Gauntlet Legends, VR-1 Entertainment, along with Microsoft, is bringing Nightcaster to Xbox this fall.

You play as Arran, a young, novice wizard, who is long on his way to become a powerful elder magus. The surrounding lands have become infested with dark. Your job, should you choose to accept it (and you'd better), is to rid the land of all the dark and evil that currently exists within it.

Your weapon in this fight is your mind. You must acquire and effectively use up to forty different spells, each originating from a different element of nature. These four elements consist of Light, Dark, Fire, and Water. Not only will you have up to forty spells at your disposal, but each spell will also have three different types of attacks.

These four elements will play a major role in the outcome of your quest, as certain spells will work better against certain foes. But with over thirty different enemies, that might be a harder task then first expected. Throughout the game you will notice yourself aging and becoming more and more powerful. However, this power doesn't come in the form of experience points. And you won't earn new spells. You must find them and effectively use them to gain power.

The worlds themselves will be very large. You may have difficulty finding the boundaries. But these levels won't be empty. They should all be filled with enemies and NPCs, with whom you should expect to have a lot of interaction. Rumor has it that there are over 60 computer-controlled characters in Nightcaster. In this event driven environment, these characters will prove to be even more important than one may imagine.

Control wise, this will be one of the first games to make practical use of both analog sticks. The left analog stick will be used for movement, while the right analog stick will be used for controlling the orb. The orb is what you'll use to aim your spells. The right stick will also be used to control the camera.

Graphically, this game will put Xbox's power to full use. The game is played in a third person view, allowing you to view your entire landscape. VR-1 has taken a great deal of care to ensure that you won't see continuous textures throughout the game. They haven't sacrificed quality for quantity, either. Smooth textures will be easy to find throughout the game.

And don't think you'll be seeing the same scenery time and again. Because the land is filled with evil, everything will start out very dark. But as you begin to vanquish the wicked creatures from your fair city, light will slowly return. Also, expect to see moving eyes. No longer will our powerful hero stare aimlessly into space!

The most stunning aspect of the graphics will come when you cast a spell. Nightcaster sports absolutely amazing lighting effects, and as you kick up some wind, even your cape will blow. Reflections are keeping right along with Xbox style: Perfect, right to the end. And even with this beautiful graphics work, there is still a very high frame rate.

Start warming up your fingers for this high paced RPG now. Although VR-1 hasn't had much of a history, this game should set them off on a good foot.

Zach VanSomeren
Still angry that he, the real fifth element, wasn't included in this game.

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