Maken Shao
   Atlus' first-person adventure Maken X offered a unique premise: Take control of an evil sword and travel around the world by "Brainjacking" into the minds of your enemies. Control issues and stilted story presentation held back the 1999 Dreamcast title from great success. But the unique premise and impeccable style proved compelling enough to yield a retooled PlayStation 2 version now titled Maken Shao.
Hey!  Listen!
Locked on to an enemy

   While not quite a full remake of Maken X, Maken Shao incorporates enough improvements that it's certainly not just a port. Most dramatic amongst the change is the switch from a first-person perspective to a third-person one. When the sword Deus Ex Machina possesses a new character, he or she will now remain on screen. The Zelda 64-style Z-Targeting system, returning from Maken X, allows players to lock onto a specific enemy and rotate around it.

   Maken Shao also introduces a new gameplay element: the "Image Flare System." Defeating enemies will yield "image" items; in Maken X, these were used solely to level up Deus Ex Machina so that it could Brainjack into stronger characters. Maken Shao adds a new twist: nabbing enough images also opens up new skills for the sword's current host. None too surprisingly, Maken X's audio visual components have been tuned up for the remake. New lighting and motion blur effects have been added, and the soundtrack has been remixed in Dolby Surround.

Main screen turn on

   In spite of all the upgrades, however, fans can still look forward to the same basic adventure; according to Atlus, no major changes to the plot will be made. As Deus Ex Machina, players travel around the world to such locations as Hong Kong, Athens, the Forbidden City, and the Taj Mahal, with the plot branching in several directions depending on which characters you Brainjack into. However, in another bid to inject more personality into the title, the static black-and-white images that comprised Maken X's story sequences have been replaced with fully animated real-time cutscenes.

   Maken Shao's North American release prospects are sketchy. Atlus licensed Maken X to Sega instead of translating the game itself; Atlus' rocky relationship with SCEA may rule out a similar intervention. And with no sign of the game on Atlus' 2001 Electronic Entertainment Expo, it's quite possible that the game will never make it across the Pacific.

Preview by Fritz Fraundorf, GIA.
Maken Shao
Developer Atlus R&D1
Publisher Atlus
Genre Adventure
Medium DVD (1)
Platform Sony PlayStation 2
Release Date  06.07.01
Maken Shao Japanese release date announced
124 new screenshots
Maken X artwork
Japanese box art - regular and limited editions