Contact: A Prelaunch Guide
Contact is looming, so we bring you this in-depth prelaunch guide, in lieu a more traditional preview...
Atlus' localization of the Grasshopper/Marvelous postmodern RPG Contact is due out in the States in just over a month, and we've just gotten our grubby hands on the final version of the title. Rather than provide our readers with a traditional preview, which we have already done, we instead have decided to put together a mini guide to this quirky adventure's first few hours, to better acquaint gamers with what they can expect.
Outfits & Skills
Terry has a handful (seven) outfits to discover and change into over the course of the adventure. Besides changing his physical appearance, they give stat bonuses, access to new special abilities, and access to new weapons. The system brings with it some interesting and unexpected strategy choices. Early on the Fruit Knife weapon features more attack power than other weapons, but can only be used in the Mr. Cuisine outfit, which lowers Terry's Stamina (HP), for example.
At this early state we have access to three of the game's seven outfits, so read on to find out their strengths & weaknesses, and the skills they provide.
Mr. Cuisine: Besides allowing Terry to cook when he's back at home base (my failed attempts turned the raw food I'd found into coal), the Mr. Cuisine outfit gives Terry a + 50 level Anti-Fire skill boost. A - 2 Stamina handicap lowers HP, however. The outfit's Level 1 skill is Gut: "Strikes thrice and may result in some food." The special attack requires a cleaver (which I don't yet have), however.
Knuckle Mole: This outfit gives Terry a + 6 level Stamina boost, significantly increasing HP. The difference is over 25% at my current level. It also provides a +20 level Anti-Earth boost. The level 1 skill is Rock: "Chuck rocks at the enemy."
Aqua Shot: Aqua Shot gives a +2 level boost to Stamina and Wisdom, and a +20 level boost to Anti-Water. The level 1 skill is Trickle: "Spew a stream of water." For massive damage, perhaps? After you've flipped the enemy on its backside, of course.
Skills level-up in the same way that everything else does - use any individual skill enough and you gain access to the next. There is no "tech tree" to speak of. You could presumably only have access to 1 Mr. Cuisine skill but all 8 Knuckle Mole skills, if you used them every time.
In addition to the skills outfit-specific special attacks, Terry also learns special abilities tied to the game's three weapon varieties - Slash, Strike, and Punch. Some seemed to be learned as your level with that weapon type increases, while others seem to be opened up as you use them:
Dual Flash: Quickly slash twice in a row.
Parry: Always active. Completely nullify a foe's attack.
Power Strike: Deals double damage
Armor Break: Always active. Reduces a foe's attack.
Body Shot: Goes straight to the liver and continues to inflict damage steadily.