RPGamer Preview: Evergrace
Action RPG fans, get ready- this new title from the creators of King's Field will be launching with the PlayStation2 this October.

Platform: Sony PlayStation 2
Developer: From Software

When the PlayStation 2 launched in Japan last March, few developers had as many titles available for the new system than From Software. While Square was working on creating sports games such as All-Star Pro Wrestling and Driving Emotion Type S for PS2, From Software had not one, but two RPGs on store shelves- Eternal Ring and, shortly afterward, Evergrace. While the North American launch of the PS2 will boast more RPGs than its previous Japanese launch, Eternal Ring and Evergrace will still be launch titles.

Evergrace is an action-RPG originally developed for the PlayStation. At some point in the game's development, From Software decided to switch the game to the PlayStation 2 to take advantage of the new system's abilities. This is quite evident in some of the game's environments, as can be seen from the screenshots at right; lush, vibrant effects and environments like these simply wouldn't have been possible on the original PlayStation.

In Evergrace, you choose from one of two characters at the beginning of the game, each on their own quests for revenge. First, there's Yuterald, a sword master orphaned by assasins at a young age. You can also choose to play as Sharami, a neighbor and friend of Yuterald's. Each has a Crest on the back of one hand, the significance of which will be found later on in the game's story. Though each has different quests, their journeys do converge later on in the game. Save points will actually allow you to switch between each character's quest throughout the game.

Evergrace is an action RPG played from a third-person perspective. The controls allow you to walk, run, pick up items, attack, and perform special attacks. Special attacks vary depending on what weapon you're wielding, and to a notable extent you can customize your weapons. Gems, called Palmira, can be equipped onto your weapons to change their attributes. For example, equipping a Fire Palmira onto a sword creates a type of Fire Sword, which has its own special attacks. Palmira are also used to give protection from elements (which may be necessary to solve a certain puzzle in a dungeon) and for magic spells.

There are two noteworthy features in Evergrace. The first is that the game will be a DVD-ROM rather than a normal PlayStation2 CD-ROM. The extra space provided by the DVD-ROM format is being used for all of the game's voice acting, and there's quite a bit of it, in fact. The second big feature is what is being called the "Dress-Up System", whereby any item that you equip will be visible on your character- you'll actually see him / her wearing it in the game. This isn't a new feature, but Evergrace takes it further than most games by providing you with any number of items to wear, including buckets and rabbit ears. What you wear can actually have an effect on gameplay; for example, shopkeepers may give you a discount on items if they like your outfit.

Evergrace will be available on Oct. 26 for the PlayStation 2.
  by Jimmy Avistetto
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