The Mark of Kri
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
SCEA
Developer
San Diego Studios
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood and Gore, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Looks like a Disney movie
• Nice variety of combat
• Great soundtrack

The Bad

• Noticeable load times
• Some linearity
• Collision detection issues

 
Grade
B+

In The Mark of Kri, you are Rau, a young warrior who shows great skill in defeating bandits and is drawn into searching for the six signs that compose the Mark of Kri, a powerful spell that long ago was broken up and given to six families for safekeeping. Once assembled, the Mark grants immense destructive power, but was separated in hopes of keeping it from falling into the wrong hands. The story is told through a series of cutscenes and illustrate pictures that look similar to a Disney or Don Bluth feature.

Graphics: The Mark of Kri is designed and built to look like a playable animated movie, heavy in native influences - most of which are a mixture of Native American, Incan and Mayan. The characters all have style and personality and are animated well. The levels are exceptionally detailed and show a similar level of depth and style. The cutscenes and illustrated story parts are wonderful to watch. There are a few minor rough edges, and you can tell that the distant fog in the levels hides some pop up, but neither ever really effect the game in any degree. There are a wide range of animations for Rau, so you won't grow tired of pulling his special moves.

Gameplay: The Mark of Kri adds a lot of variety in the gameplay. By the time you reach the third area, you'll have more than enough options to give you a choice in how to get through the stage. Initially, you learn how to use the combat system, where three attack buttons (X, Square, Circle) are assigned to different enemies and you use the right analog to either select enemies to focus on, or click the R3 button to deselect them all. If you are only facing one enemy, you can pull off combos buy tapping the unselected buttons as modifiers. Don't be surprised to be one on ten and having to select new enemies when you drop one in the middle of combat. Along with basic combat, you can use the bow to kill enemies at a distance and stealth attacks, where the player will sneak up on an enemy and deliver a deadly blow without the trouble of combat. One of the nicer features is the ability to use Kuzo, Rau's raven, as a second sight, like in The Crow. Send Kuzo to throw a distant switch or have it perch and look around to gauge the enemies. Along the way, you can pick up a variety of powerups, including Save Scrolls, which allow the player a limited number of saves throughout the level when and where they choose.

The Inn plays as a hub level, where you gain your next mission to further the story, gain access to training or access items that you have unlocked. To unlock new arenas, you'll need to complete a variety of game basics in each level. None of the game basics in each level are ridiculously hard and most help you hone your skills. In the arenas, you will be given the option to beat the Time Attack or Body Count to unlock new costumes.

Audio: Much like the graphics, the voice acting is played up like a feature film. Each character has a good bit of personality and the lines are delivered well. The music is great and shows a high quality aspect to the game that gives the players great setting. With the nicely done sound effects, the audio portion really gels as a strong cornerstone of the game.

The Bad: Unfortunately, not everything is top notch. There are some noticeable load times between areas and even in the Inn when you want to access items you've unlocked. While it can be ignored for the most part, there is some collision detection issues, most of which is noticeable in the Inn, bumping around the furniture. For the most part, the in game camera is good, but don't be surprised when it decides to swing above you when moving through an area where you want to keep your eyes forward. The enemy AI is fairly non-existent. For the most part they just wait around for you to show up and if you flee from combat, they'll often hang around and wait for you to return. And, finally, once you've beaten an area, you'll know where all the enemies are and what their patterns are, which can cut down on the challenge in later run-throughs.

Despite some minor issues, The Mark of Kri is good fun. Don't be fooled by the Disney-esque look of the game - underneath is a brutally violent action game with a lot of depth in the combat system. You can choose to tackle each level differently. Don't want to fight it out? Sneak around and pick enemies apart with your bow or stealth. Don't want to waste time? Rush in and hack away. Either way, you'll be glad you got this game.

- - Kinderfeld

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