How many magical creatures does it take to rule supreme?
Since being announced a couple of weeks ago, Wrath has caused quite a stir. The game is being developed by The Collective, the same group responsible for the upcoming Buffy The Vampire Slayer game. One thing that is evidenced by the screens and information that has become available on both games is that The Collective know how to program some amazing visuals.
The basic premise of Wrath is combat. But no ordinary combat is provided in this game. Instead, gamers take control of magical creatures and pit them one-on-one arena style.
The list of creatures featured in Wrath reads like a major fantasy novel: Unicorns, Giant Turtles, Fire Giants, Centaurs, Harpy, and more are all going to see some screen time battling it out against one another. Powers vary according to creature, naturally. Some (such as the Unicorn) boast attacks such as Magic Blast, while others (like the Giant Spider) have Poison to utilize. Some are more resistant to physical attacks (the Hydra) while some have resistance to magical attacks (the Iron Golem).
Further dividing up the lines of battle will be the "Realms" the various creatures fall under. Anybody that has spent any time playing the old Dungeons and Dragons game will be familiar with how alliances can shift between enemies when something akin to political affiliation comes out. The four Realms are: Light Order, Light Chaos, Dark Chaos and Dark Order. It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that order and chaos don't mix, nor does light and dark. This could weigh heavily on how these creatures fight.
Of course, terrain will play a major factor in the outcome as well. You don't really expect the Giant Turtle to do great deeds from the top of a mountain do you? Similarly, the Iron Golem might not do so well in the fiery depths the Fire Giant calls home.
Don't think that these will be the only creatures or factors in the fight. If that were the case, then Wrath would be nothing more than a slightly advanced version of Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots. No, there are more surprises in store for you, and the road is long. The one-on-one arena style battles are only part of an overall campaign to wipe out the other armies. Much like the chess match in Star Wars: A New Hope.
On the larger world map, which is broken down into tiles, the player controls their entire army of creatures. Moving them from tile to tile to gain territory (and a strategic advantage). It is when the player moves onto a space occupied by another creature from an opposing side, a battle commences. These battles are fought in combat arenas, which reflect the terrain of the tile that the battle is occurring on. During battles the player takes direct control of their creature in a one-on-one battle involving melee and ranged combat, with both magical and physical attacks.
The visuals of the game are absolutely stunning. The game has only been in development for a few months and the poly count looks to be ridiculously high. This game appears to be taking advantage of every ounce of silicon availability within the Xbox.
Wrath will be taking advantage of the Xbox online capabilities as well. While giving gamers a thorough single player gaming experience, The Collective is adding both co-op and competitive online options. Up to 4 players will be able to help or hinder, be it LAN, on a single console, or over the internet.
Part strategy, part fighter, Wrath could satisfy many a bloodlust when it is finally released in 2003. It may be a long way off, but games of this size and depth don't grow on trees overnight. You can check out more information (including details on some of the creatures in the game) at the official Wrath website.
Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
Hasn't controlled a fatasy creature in a long time.