Culdcept SagaCuldcept Saga is a video game developed exclusively for the Xbox 360 video game console. It is the first entry for a Microsoft console in the Magic-meets-Monopoly game franchise that included previous installments on the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Sega Saturn and Dreamcast.
A demo of the title was made available to Xbox Live users on December 4, 2007. The demo includes two different pre-made card decks and supports both single player gameplay and local multiplayer for up to four players. Initially released in Japan in 2006, the full game wasn't released in North America until more than a year later, in February 2008.
Culdcept Saga PlotWhile the plot is mostly peripheral to the gameplay, the game's story concerns a young man who is sold into slavery in order to provide economic relief for his struggling village. While departing the village with his new owner, the two encounter a mysterious woman carrying a deck of magical cards which respond powerfully to the young man's presence. As the woman, Princess Faustina, pleads with the slaver to release the boy (whom she refers to as "the savior"), all three are set upon by a bandit. It is here that the young man, controlled by the player, learns that he is actually a Cepter, a powerful individual who can control magical cards. Using cards borrowed from Faustina, he overcomes the bandit and begins his journey towards becoming a master Cepter.
Over multiple battles, the player must earn his or her freedom from slavery and then join with Faustina in order to defeat numerous adversaries and restore peace to the land.
Culdcept Saga GameplayAs in Monopoly, players in Culdcept Saga roll dice and move around a game board, attempting to claim spaces and assess fees against other Cepters who land there. Unlike Monopoly, squares are claimed by summoning creatures to guard them, and players who land on them can opt to challenge this creature with one of their own rather than pay the toll. If successful, the challenger claims ownership of the square. The winner of the game is the first player to return to the starting location after amassing a sufficient quantity of magic/mana.
ReceptionCuldcept Saga has sold 27,960 copies in Japan as of November 30, 2008. Culdcept Saga generally received scores in the "fair" range from the gaming press, with scores from unofficial player reviews being somewhat higher.
IGN rated the game "Passable", with a score of 6.5/10, commenting that game length can be quite excessive (4+ hours for a single match with multiple opponents) and that the game never really moves too far beyond the core "roll dice, play creature" mechanics. However, they later named the game one of the "hidden gems" of 2008. GameSpy shared concerns about the lengthy time required per match, and noted that the game could be quite frustrating when luck wasn't on one's side, although the review did note that the game included a "clever mix of strategy and good old-fashioned luck". Overall, GameSpy awarded the game a "Good" rating of 3.5/5. Both reviews expressed dismay and confusion over the way the game routinely shows what cards are in player's hands, observing that this limits elements of strategic surprise. 1UP, however, gave the game a solid B+, praising its depth and online play. GameSpot nominated it for Best Game No One Played. Gaming Target selected it as one of their "40 Games We'll Still Be Playing From 2008."
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