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3.5 out of 5 stars
Venetica - Xbox 360
Platform: Xbox 360Change
Price:$17.74 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
I have played this game for about 12 hrs so far, and am surprised that it is pretty engrossing. Graphics and gameplay are what you could expect if there were a game to bridge the gap between Fable 1 and 2. There are some issues to consider however: Voice acting is bad at times and have some overlap on occasion (example while in a conversation with a NPC, your character may say "that looks good" about a merchants wares across the room while still in active conversation with the NPC along a quest line....kinda odd). But the story is overall decent, if somewhat predictable. The characters, quests, fighting etc all have a Fable like feeling to them, but that is hardly a knock, it is a style that has worked successfully, so why not borrow heavily?

On the plus side, there is actually a lot to like. This really was an ambitious attempt and the developers included a LOT they did not have to. You learn physical skills and mental skills throughout the game (you will quickly learn that most of them...like 90% you DO NOT NEED, but you can use just to customize your style of play). I think this is both a cop out, but still smart on their end. They probably did not really know what would work well vs what would not, so all the skills you learn, you can do without, or lean heavily on. In all there is something like 50 skills you can master, a lot of them have several tiers to master after initially learning them. This is pretty comprehensive for a game like this in my opinion. There are also what seems to be a lot of quests (mind you I have completed chapter two and think I am nearing the end of chapter 3). The game has a lot to explore, I do wish it had a few more dungeons/caves and the ilk, however each of the areas I have been (mountains, OUter and Inner Venice and Arsenal) each only have one 'dungeon/cave' like area.

You get your money's worth here, and there is a lot to like and in my opinion (without seeing yet how the game ends), there is room for improvement with a sequel......which I would happily purchase.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2011
I am an avid action RPG (console) gamer. I love games like this. Sure, it isn't without it's flaws, but what do you expect for a title that started at $40 brand new and is from a smaller game developer? It best compares to the original Fable, in my opinion, than any other recent game.

Story: The story in this game can be cheesy at times, but overall it's pretty good. It is pretty straight forward, but not linear. You basically unlock more and more areas, and can go back to them at any time. There isn't a new game plus, or free roam mode, which is disappointing since there are things like treasure you will want to go back to. But they are pretty clear about "The Point of No Return." So as long as you create a separate save before the final boss battle, you can go back and do everything. There are also 3 different endings, depending on whether you went out for revenge or love. And one somewhere in between.

Gameplay: Overall the fighting and powers works pretty well, you can quick map only 5 things. This is limiting when it comes to magic, but once you start playing you find yourself only using about a couple of different spells. The swordplay overall is pretty basic. Lock-on, attack, roll, ect. You can choose between a sword, two-handed weapon, spear and shield, or your moonblade which is with you at all times. They all play a little differently. The game is damn hard though on normal and hard. It can even be a challenge on easy in some areas.

Graphics: The graphics aren't the best on this game, but it can really shine in some parts. The caves and catacombs look amazing, but sometimes the city can look generic. It's hit or miss. The character design is pretty cartoony, similar to Fable, but it never really bothered me. The enemy design isn't too varied, as each section you go into has only a few sets of enemies.

Sound: The background music works well with the game, and the voice acting is also hit or miss. Some characters, like Death, the bosses, as well as Scarlett, do a fantastic job. Some of the NPCs aren't up there. With some just shouting out random sayings, to really odd conversation. Overall if you can look at it with a humorous eye you will have a good time with the NPC dialog.

Overall it is a pretty good action RPG if you take it lightly, and don't expect it to be a Dragon Age or Elder Scrolls quality game. If you were a fan of Fable 1, this is a must buy. The humor is there (intentional or not) and there is a certain charm to the game that made me love it. I definitely recommend it.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2011
I love RPGs. Mainly Bethesda and BioWare offerings but have had some fun with JRPGs also, so when I heard about this title (a week before it came out) it was a no brainer for me.

In defense I must say that there is no way this game should get slammed with a one star rating. It did not advertise itself, it did not claim to be anything, it offered itself up at a budget price and it is no where near as bad as some ratings may imply.

Completely Fable-esque in its delivery. Simple in story. The RPG elements are all in place. Pick only one guild. The game unfolds differently depending on choices. Slight character customization. Several weapon choices though simplistic combat.

Graphically there are some hiccups. But there are also some decent moments where it is worth taking in the scenery. The closest graphical comparison I can give is Fable meets Divinity II Ego Draconis but not as polished as either of those.

I had heard the RPG lite term applied to this game and I will agree. Almost feminine in its personality, maybe because your main character is female. The music also adds to the 'lite' atmosphere.

It gets 3.5 stars from me but will bump it to 4 considering the game came with no promises and a low price tag.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2011
The game is awesome. For me it was one of those games that you love from the first minute you start playing it and then love every last minute of it.
The game reminded me of a mix between Beyond Good and Evil and Risen. Same as in Beyond Good and Evil, we have a courageous young girl Scarlet who suffered a loss of her loved one and now on the quest to avenge him and to figure out what is going on. In turn, similar to Risen, it is a "Shield n' Sword" game where you acquire a good sword and an armor or a set of spells and then explore the environment fighting the bad guys and monsters. The game offers life-like atmosphere of the living city where people walk around, have conversations with each other, or respond to what you are doing. The only thing that might ruin the game is an ugly glitch, which I will discuss in the end.

GAMEPLAY
Venetica is very much an RPG game - you have the main quest that you have to follow. In the course of this quest you get to explore the city of Venice and its surrounding suburbs. On the way you encounter various people who ask you to do things for them. Completion of the quests gives you experience points, money, and sometimes some useful objects (weapons, magic rings, etc). In the course of your travels you might find or loot some items that may or may not be useful; these items can be sold to the vendors who, in turn, may offer weapons, potions, or pieces of armor that could be customized to fit you. To open locks, you get to play a mini game where you should press the buttons in certain order.

COMBAT
The gameplay encourages you to fight. Any place you visit might have various enemies or demonic creatures that you may try to fight or just may run away from. Of course, fighting the enemies is a great source of experience points. The enemies are the assassins, the nighttime rogues or violent soldiers, demons in the houses or on the rooftops, and giant crab-like creatures in the catacombs. To fight them, Scarlet can employ swords of various strengths, spears, or blunt weapons (most of them can be taken off of enemies or purchased). If you are into magic, you can become proficient at spell casting; however, you would be more efficient if you use weapons and spells together. The game introduces a fairly original concept of dying - if your health runs out and you "die" you temporarily go into the "afterlife world" and can attack your enemies with the Moon Blade while they remain frozen. In the course of the game, you will encounter various instructors who can teach you different levels of fighting skills and combos or special magic skills in exchange for your experience points.

ENVIRONMENT
It is an open-world game; however, the space of exploration is limited to streets, certain houses you can enter, catacombs and mines, and the rooftops. In other words, the movement is restricted to long narrow spaces between things. Though limited in exploration, the world looks vast and open. It changes from day to night with different things happening in the course of each (you can always select the time of the day by sleeping or resting). The environment is very beautiful and feels life-like. There is a map that allows you to indicate your place in the world and later, with the help of gondoliers, to fast travel from place to place.

Bottom line is, the game is very enjoyable and, chances are, you are going to love it. You can have up to 25 hours of gameplay at first playthrough. My main issue with the game was a very small font of the letters in the menu. It was hard to read the descriptions of items I was going to buy or spells I was going to learn. Reading the mission objectives was a torture. Then again, I don't have a high definition television set; perhaps, if you do, you wouldn't have this problem.

TIPS (some SPOILERS are present)

You have to watch out for the glitch that would bring your game to a screeching halt. Within the first four hours of the game you have to find Sophistos. To get to him, you have to talk to a certain guy named Nox. Though short, this part of the game can frieze your progression in the game and make you start from the beginning because the glitch makes Nox... disappear; without him you cannot move on. To avoid the glitch, follow this. The minute you enter Venice, a little boy will approach you. Exit conversation with him as soon as possible and turn right. Enter the Cursed Temple and you will see Nox running out of it. After the temple, follow the mark on the map and go directly to Nox. DO NOT save inside or outside of his house and DO NOT become a member of any guild before you see him (don't save inside the guilds either). After he tells you to become a member of a guild, choose the one you please. The game will be fine from this point on.

Get Blood Toll and Blood Vortex spells from Nox - they suck the life out of your enemies and give you health points at the same time. Don't improve them too high - they would waste too much of your spell energy.

To get the key to the Inner City you have to kill a Bat demon, which does not attack you. Use the Blood Toll or Blood Vortex spell against it.

Choose the quest you want to follow and mark it - this would place a white dot on the map.

After talking to the ghost of Sophisto, the map gives you no indication of where to go. You should use a gondolier to take you to the Eastern Island.

In the course of the game, you will come across Stone Lions. Remember their locations as you see them - after you return from Africa they begin to come alive as part of the Pale Hearts quest.

On the Claw ship you will have to collect the medicine "without killing the guards." Just run around from mark to mark without engaging the guards, collect the medicine, and then exit the upper deck. Easy.

Have fun.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2011
Venetica is a colorful and charming Action/RPG from Germany. I didn't expect this game to make it stateside, but after many, many years, Venetica has been released in the North American market. It surely won't change any minds of the people who dislike this game genre, but for those that do like RPG titles and are in for something a little different than the norm, Venetica just might be the ticket!

Positives:

- A Colorful, Vibrant World - The environments in Venetica are beautiful. Pedestrians roam the streets, street merchants sell their goods, gondola's ride the waters, etc. There is a real nice variety to the locales you'll visit on your journey.

- A Good Cast of Characters - Venetica has a certain charm to its character design, animations of said characters, voice acting, and more.

- A Nice Storyline with a Female Protagonist - Venetica is the tale of Scarlett, and a rather sad one at that; however it's a tale that ultimately allows her to get the revenge she seeks.

- Some Pretty Solid Gameplay - The combat is pretty standard stuff, like attack and dodge, etc., but it works well and is fluid.

- Budget Price - Venetica released not too long ago at $40, but now it's only $20!

Negatives:

- Not a Technical Marvel - Venetica certainly isn't pushing graphics, however it's not a big negative since it makes up for it with visual charm.

- Lacks Polish - This is a budget game and it shows. Venetica doesn't have AAA polish. However, it works and does most things rather well.

In the end, I really, really enjoyed Venetica. It has the same charm as the Fable games. It's not the deepest RPG, but it still offers some very deep customization in terms of upgrades and such. It's just a game that wins you over with its colorful and quirky world. Try it out, you might just find a gem like I did.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2013
Thankfully I bought this game used. The quality assuarance is horrible. Early on in the game (30-45 minutes in), when I get to the Forest Hut, the cut-scene is not there and the game is locked so you can take no actions. I restarted three times (selecting the "see my love again" option) and the same result happened. I then selected the "undecided" option and the scene worked. But several hours (4-6) into the game I get to the Windmill beach and the fishermen are not there. You cannot proceed in the game without them. I had to restart again. I chose the "see my love option again" and the cutscene was still missing. I did not want to try the "undecided" option again since I didn't want to risk playing for several hours to have the same thing happen. I never tried the "revenge" option since this is not how I want to play the game. Overall, the storyline seems good, the interactions seem good, graphics are good, and the character play is good, but with the serious bugs in the game, I would wait until they release a sequal or similar story game, but avoid this one. That was several hours I will never get back.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2012
I've always preferred Western RPGs over the cartoonish Japanese style games, but so few on the market feature female protagonists or gender options for the many women gamers out there. That's why I decided to give Venetica a try, and was delighted to find my money well spent --- which is also a rarity these days!

Venetica features well over 30 hours of challenging game play which can be difficult at times even on the easiest setting. It does not attempt to hold your hand, nor is there a published strategy guide available (yet) with the exception of one that can be found online if you get stuck and find yourself running around in circles (CasualCoreGaming.com). However, this is fairly typical when a really good game gets overlooked because it does not have a big advertising budget, price tag, or is not considered to have enough mass market appeal.

I agree that the storyline might seem a bit "cheesy", but it's not any different than every other (T) rated fantasy RPG on the market, and in many ways I found it to be much more coherent than some of the more popular games like Final Fantasy.

Venetica features a liner story line with free roam exploration and above average graphics. It offers plenty of side quests and treasure hunting to enhance inventory and upgrade your arsenal. It presents a challenging real-time melee and magic combat system with difficult boss battles. Choice-based dialog wheel, decision making and character build (point-allotted skill tree). Some of the skill sets are necessary to acquire in order to advance further in the game (Blood Toll), but without any direction or a strategy guide available to refer to, a player may find themselves at an impasse and unable to progress.

The voice acting is better than average if you're able to overlook the occasional overlap or the fact that Scarlett, our Italian protagonist, has a British accent. All petty and minor detractions to an otherwise great game that offers more play time, entertainment and value for your dollar than a majority of the better known titles currently on the market --- and Venetica does it all without forcing its players to invest more money in subscriptions for MMOs and DLCs in order to get a complete and well-rounded game.

For me, Venetica was certainly worth the time and money invested compared to the majority of 90+ other games I have purchased and played over the years. It's a definitely keeper and a welcomed addition to the game library, one that I'd happily buy the sequel to if and when it ever becomes available.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
I pretty much only play RPGs with the 1st three Fables probably being my favorites. My sister in-law gave Venetica to me and I wasn't expecting much from it. It's actually quite good!! I think it has a rich story line (which is important to me), I like how you have choices, it's pretty to look at (it does have a few glitches), lots of quests/side quests, interesting characters (i.e. the blacksmith, the bread lady in the market) and the voice acting is great! All and all, it's a very entertaining adventure game-I was a little sad when I was through with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2012
Amazon lists this right now at $12, but you can get in new at Gamestop since last year...and there are no DLC so no real need to buy it new.
This game is definitely not perfect, but I love it...It's my very first non Japanese RPG because other games like Skyrim and Oblivion bore the tears out of me.
My top 4 reasons to get this game...
1.The graphics are beautiful. Not realistic in the very human way, but beautifully animated. Some will obviously find fault with that and complain.
2.The controls are easy to use- a mix of sword fighting and magic curses. There are combos but no button mashing that makes you want to throw the controller.
3.The main character is not only a girl, but the daughter of Death who thought she was an orphan. She has kind of an empty personality...
4. It's a relatively open world, but you won't need to spend hours wandering through endless forests searching for a way out- there is a map in the corner for reference.
The negatives; there ARE glitches and bugs that haven't been patched. This gets in the way of not only progressing in the game, but also the all-important achievements. Where it got me was glitching out the boatman more than halfway through the game. Without him, there is no way to get to the island where the last treasure is hidden. I was so frustrated I put the game on hold. Other glitches I experienced were characters temporarily disappearing or getting stuck, but resetting the game fixed those for me.
The main character and her endless love for her dead boyfriend get really really old really really fast. The reunion scenes where they meet in the underworld are always the same and always pointless.
Despite the glitches, I would definitely recommend this game...I haven't found anything else like it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This game is underrated, most gaming sites gave the game a 6 or a 5..I really like this game even though it is very hard sometimes...mostly its those zuma warriors that hurt me alot...but other then that the game awesome.
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