Review by THAguyINgta3
"A "true sequel" !"
The first Dark Cloud was surely a blast to play. A lot of ingenuity must have been put into that game because of its ability to draw people like me into it. It was almost two years ago that that game came out and now, the developers, have brought us Dark Cloud 2. Is it safe to say that Dark Cloud 2 is a “true sequel”? Damn straight it is. Dark Cloud 2 dwarfs the first game in every single aspect including those tiny little details only microscopes can see.
What made the first game so famous was its “geo-ramma” feature. This basically gives you the ability to rebuild the world, which was destroyed. This is where the ingenuity kicks in. The rebuilding part was incredibly addicting (I felt like I was playing The Sims). Amazingly, the developers made it better. Now we have more freedom in arranging the buildings, rivers, fences, trees, etc. Not only can we format the town in our own way, but we can also change the colors. One part though that was changed was the ability to bring people back and place them into their respected homes. Now, in Dark Cloud 2, we must bring people from a town into their new town and house by completing mini side quests just for them like delivering bread, etc.
Like the first title, your characters don’t gain any experiences from battle. What does gain experiences and levels are your different array of weapons. Other than the geo-ramma feature, this is what sets Dark Cloud 2 differently from your normal Role playing game. Your weapons also have hit points. The more you use your weapon, the more damage it gets but can evolve to different and stronger weapons. Originally, in the first game, if your weapon broke, it disappeared. This was very frustrating. Now, in the sequel, your weapons still break but it won’t disappear. It will just be un-useable until you fix it.
The story in this game is very enchanting. It is way better than the first game and yes, you still have your usual “an evil, powerful enemy has destroyed the world and it’s your job to fix it” story but it is very enriching. The two main character’s plots eventually meet in this game and have their certain predicaments bunched together. Beautiful cut scenes give it a Final Fantasy touch, but tells the story of a young boy and a young girl very well.
One thing that gave the first game some flaws are its monotonous dungeons. This didn’t make the first game un-enjoyable but simply was a cause for making a game not “perfect”. The dungeons were very plain looking and sort of like a chore when you’re exploring it. The sequel, fortunately, doesn’t have this problem. In the sequel, the dungeons are very vibrant and detailed through every single aspect. Yes, you are still given that task where you must find a key in order to get out but now it doesn’t feel like a chore but more of a blessing.
The sound department, in the sequel, was also changed. In the first game, cut scenes only featured text words to tell the story and while you’re exploring. But in the sequel, great voice acting was added. We can all thank Sony and the developer for this, not to mention the actors who did the voices. One let down for the voices is that the sound coming from the characters are not in sync with the mouth movements. This sort of gave it a Final Fantasy X feeling, if you know what I mean. The music in the game is very whimsical which makes it perfect for the game. Right from the dungeons to the towns, you will enjoy the pleasant tune playing in the background.
The visuals were also changed from the first game. The developers decided to give it a “cartoony” look by making the characters cel-shaded rather than in 3-D models. This I can deal with but many will not, unfortunately. But the towns, enemies, and even the geo-ramma feature all look incredibly perfect for the game. You’ll feel like you’re watching a cartoon with a great story.
The mini games have also been revamped for our enjoyment. The fishing game was changed slightly and, in my opinion, is better than the first. New games were also added such as Golf and Fish Racing. These games didn’t make this title bad but made it more loveable. Another new feature added is the ability to take photos. This is one of the most addicting parts in this game. You take pictures of particular items and try to think of combinations to put your pictures together to invent new items for your character or your trusty robot named Steve. This Robot is one of the playable characters in this game. These little things add a lot of replay value to your gaming desire.
Final Word: This title truly does live up to the title “a true sequel”. The developers deserve a pat on the back and more for Dark Cloud 2. Not only did they succeed in making an addictive game, but they succeeded in these new features they added. This game will make you proud to own a PlayStation 2. Dark Cloud 2 is definitely one of the “must-own” titles of 2003.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/21/03, Updated 02/21/03
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