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Venus Braves Preview

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Scheduled release date:

TBA

  

  When the Playstation 2 first launched back in 2000, it had few if any RPGs worth playing. This fact makes it all the more shameful that a title like Seven: The Calvary of Molmorth never even made it stateside. Set in perhaps the most fantastic fantasy setting ever created- "The place which is nowhere", and featuring stunning hand drawn art, Seven was a game that deserved to be enjoyed by gamers everywhere. Namco is in the process of remedying that, in a way, with their latest RPG project, a sequel to Seven called Venus Braves. Classified as an online strategy game, Venus is actually more, and less, than that. It will feature online strategy elements, of course, but it will also offer an in depth single player game, with a complex story based upon character development.

  

  The setting of Venus Braves is quite similar to that of Seven. Set once again in 'the place which is nowhere' in the year 999, the continent of Aklar, and the town of Barakway are preparing to celebrate the millennium in style. However, the prophecies of the Wells Varius predict that the coming of the millennium will also bring with it unspeakable evils. 999 years of evil, to be exact. And true to form, the prophecies come true, as demons descend upon the town of Barakway, only to be repelled by Blood Boall and his band of Brigands. 

  

  Blood Boall, leader of Gorem Bandit Brigade, is a man more mysterious than he seems. Appearing to be a simple brigand in his late teens, he is in fact a once ruthless soldier more than 345 years old. Hailing from Molmorth, the setting of the first game in the series, Boall received the gift of immortality and eternal youth at a mysterious event centuries ago. Not even he knows the truth behind his past. Aria, however, may know the secrets of Blood's past. A 1,000-year-old goddess who doesn't look a day over 16, she too is blessed (or cursed) by the gift of eternal life. It is perhaps this common bond that attracts Aria to Blood, as she is the one to reveal the predictions of evil to Boall before they ever occurred.

  

  Soon these two, and certainly many more, will find themselves cast into the middle of a struggle for the fate of the planet. According to the ancient prophecies, the world is not only to be plagued by evil, but it's very life hangs in the balance. It is in this setting that players will find themselves controlling Blood and his comrades on their quest, and unlike many online strategy games, Venus Braves is driven more by the story than by battle. 

  

  However, the actual gameplay focuses mostly on battle, and for this the original Rotation Battle System from the first game is being employed, only slightly improved. When in battle, players will control 3 ranks of 4 combatants, and their placement in battle is both logical and key to victory. Residing on the frontlines are those characters most suited to hand to hand combat and defense, both to advance the attack and to protect those behind them. In the second row stand spell casters and long range fighters, as well as characters whose primary functions are support. In the last row is where you will find characters weakened by battle and those who rely almost solely on long-range tactics. 

  

  It will be in how you rotate your players through the ranks, and when, that determines the outcome of battle in Venus

   Braves, and in this aspect the game follows many conventional strategy tactics. You certainly want your biggest and baddest up front, but even the toughest warrior needs a break now and again. In addition, you may find yourself putting a weakened character in the midst of the action for the sole purpose of healing those around him. Because of this, Venus Braves will offer over 50 characters, divided among 17 different categories. Each category of character will have different stats that define them, similar to many online RPG and strategy games. The following is a list of attributes that make up a character:

  

      

  • Hit Points- Amount of damage that can be taken
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  • Attack- Amount of damage that can be dealt to front row enemies
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  • Quickness- The speed of your character
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  • Attack Assistance- Ability to assist in an ally's attack
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  • Defense Assistance- Ability to assist in an ally's defense
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  • Recovery- How long it takes to recover when in the rear rank
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  • Row Recovery- Ability to heal weakened allies in the rear rank
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  • Each type of player will be stronger in some areas while weaker in others, true to most games in the genre.
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  While still extremely early in development (they just recently decided on a title for the game), Venus Braves does look promising. However, not even speculative release dates have been thrown around yet, so don't look for this title in your local game store any time soon. Just keep your eyes open from more updates on the game as Namco releases them.

7/23/2002 Ryan Hartmann

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