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Kameo: Elements of Power

Developer: Rare | Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 11/07/05 | Genre: Action

Kameo: Elements of Power is a game that many felt would never be released. Originally palnned for the Nintendo 64, this title spent multiple years at Nintendo's E3 booth. A year after Kameo was first shown at E3, the game was moved to a GameCube launch title. Unfortunately Rare did not finish the game for the GameCube launch and the title became heavily delayed. When the decision was made to allow Rare to be sold off to Microsoft's First Party Games Division, Kameo was set to be an Xbox title. The game looked and played very well on the Xbox but for some unknown reason, Rare would not ship the game. Three console generations after the game was originally set to release, Kameo: Elements of Power has finally arrived. Was it worth the wait? Surprisingly it has.

Due to all the delays and moving three console generations later, I wasn't expecting to be excited about Kameo: Elements of Power. I wasn't alone either. Most gamers I spoke to during the long Xbox 360 release lines had very negative things to say. Only a handful of players were actually planning on trying out the game. I will admit that despite my worry about the quality of this game, there is nothing to fear. Kameo: Elements of Power, is arguably the best title Rare has made since the Banjo days on the Nintendo 64.

Kameo: Elements of Power is an Action/Adventure title. There are several elements of the game that make it look and feel like a platformer but this game has almost no jumping in it at all. In fact, the main character, Kameo, can hardly perform any actions by herself. To do 99% of the tasks in the game, players will have to transform into one of ten forms that you will obtain during your quest. Up to three forms can be mapped to the controller at a time. To switch between the forms you just hit the X, Y, or B buttons. The A button will revert you back into your normal form as Kameo. Each of these forms has its own unique skillset, look, and gameplay style. Even though only three forms can be mapped at once, players can hold down one of the buttons to select a different form or remap the buttons from the menu screen.

Upon beginning your adventure, you will begin to learn about your family being kidnapped by your evil sister. Instead of completing training to learn all of the skills needed to rescue them, Kameo jumps right into harms way. If players only play the first level, they will get an unfair viewpoint of Kameo. This is almost exclusively action oriented and has very few adventure elements or time between battles. Another bad thing about this first level is that the game throws you in to the world of Kameo with very little instruction as to how to utilize your powers for the three forms you have available. If you can get the hang of the gameplay and make it through this first level, the real fun begins.

I don't mean to spoil the story, but Kameo loses all of her powers after the first level and she must enlist help in order to regain her abilities. This will lead you on a linear quest that is filled with incredibly smooth action sequences, intelligent puzzles, enjoyable adventure elements, and some of the most satisfying boss battles you have played in years.

Not only is the gameplay good but Kameo looks incredible. However, I must stress that you really need a 1080i or 720p HDTV in order to see the beauty of this game. Like all Xbox 360 titles, Kameo looks decent on standard definition but stunning on a HDTV. If at all possible, you must try this title out on a HDTV. Kameo and the rest of the Xbox 360 lineup are reason enough to upgrade your TV. You won't be sorry.

Besides the need for a HDTV, the other big flaw in Kameo is the length of gameplay and a lackluster multiplayer mode. Expect to spend about 10 to 12 hours in Kameo: Elements of Power. This may not sound like a lot. However, Kameo is a showcase for the power of the Xbox 360 and it is the best Action/Adventure game I have played in a very long time. This makes the game worth playing and is the only reason Kameo doesn't get a perfect A+.

The other flaw in the game is a very uninspired two player mode. Players can relive certain big battles in a split-screen, two player mode once you have gone through that particular section in the single player game. However, this multiplayer mode is offline only. There is no way to utilize this via Xbox Live--a very big mistake. If you do play through this two player mode, you won't find a lot of incentives to keep coming back for more. The game plays exactly like the single player version except you will normally get split up with your buddy and waste too much time trying to keep up with each other.

Overall, Kameo: Elements of Power is an excellent title despite a few minor complaints. This game has far exceeded my expectations and gives me faith that Rare can, and will, develop several more hit titles on the Xbox 360. If you enjoy Action/Adventure games, Kameo is worth a spot in your launch library.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 11/29/05
ESRB Details: Animated Blood, Violence

Screenshots for Kameo: Elements of Power

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