The recent onslaught of games for the Playstation 2 has shown that this console can still compete with newer systems on the market. However, Travelers Tales is about to show just how powerful the Playstation 2 really is with their newest endeavor, Haven: Call of the King. Designed to push the PS2 hardware to the very limit, Haven will offer virtually every single special effect that the PS2 is capable of- real time lighting and shadows, heat distortion, particle effects, you name it, and Haven probably shows it in all its glory. However, this game is not just about eye candy, as it offers a fairly unique story with seemingly solid gameplay.
Players will take on the role of Haven, a young slave on the planet Auria. After the King of Auria, the great Anthellion, left on a galactic crusade, Auria was conquered by the evil Lord Vecht. After enslaving the people, Vecht infected them with a virus that can only be warded off by regular injections of an antidote that only he possesses. This virus keeps the population under control and allows Vecht to rule with impunity. However, there is one hope for the planet Auria. The great King Anthellion can be summoned back to his world by the Golden Voice, a mystical bell that he can hear wherever he is. However, Vecht has gone to great length to capture and hide the Golden Voice, preventing it from ever being used. Through tormenting dreams and the prophecies of an elderly wise man, it soon becomes clear that only Haven can find and ring the Golden Voice, bringing back the king and saving the land. However, due to the treachery of Lord Vecht, this will be no easy task. First Haven must find the magical bell, which now resides on another planet. Before long, Haven finds himself on a galactic quest to save his people. Armed only with his shield, his mining laser and his knack for invention, Haven will face a great many obstacles, and encounter many people who require his help.
Haven's shield, a large Swiss Army knife, is perhaps his greatest asset. With its various tools, it can be used to protect him from enemies, as well as attack them. He can also use the shield to cover any noises he makes, giving him stealth capability. The mining laser is another useful tool at Haven's disposal. Originally a simple mining tool used in the slave mines of Auria, Haven has altered it to become a powerful weapon that can attack enemies and even catch streams of energy, allowing him to transport to certain areas. As stated before, Haven is one very creative individual. In addition to modifying his laser, he has also created a mechanical bird that he can summon at will to assist him in various parts of the game.
The gameplay in Haven: Call of the King is very similar in style to most 3rd person platform games. You will travel to several worlds throughout the galaxy, encountering various races of people, several gadgets, and numerous enemies. A great deal of the gameplay is focused on acquiring certain objects in order to advance, as well as power ups for weapons and health, and perhaps most importantly, the antidote to ward off the effects of Vechts lethal virus. Haven will also encounter several different vehicles throughout his journey, such as speedboats, buggies, gliders and more. These vessels will be incorporated into the gameplay, which allows the pace of the game to change almost seamlessly from racing to a space shooter to aerial combat.
Overall, Haven: Call of the King promises to be a solid platform title that will truly showcase the power of the Playstation 2. Having been in development now for over 3 years, it is easy to tell that Travelers Tales has put a lot of work into this title, and it is reasonable for us to expect a lot out of it. The game will be published by Midway and is currently on schedule for a late 2002 release. Look for more information on this title as it becomes available.
7/9/2002 Ryan Hartmann