Review by LordShibas
"About the same as the first LOH game, with a few minor improvements"
I'm back with another review for another Legend of Heroes game. This Time, Legend of Heroes 2. I finished LOH 1 a short while ago, and I found this game to be pretty comparable in overall quality in general.
First things first, not a lot has changed in LOH 2. Battles will be conducted the same way as they were before, menus are identical to LOH, and the items and spells are pretty much the same as well. It's kind of a good thing, since anyone who has played LOH will be able to jump right into LOH 2. Just to let you know, this review will have a lot of comparative analysis with my LOH review.
The game starts out simple enough, Jurio and Christina are 2 young adventurers about to make their pilgrimage to become adults. Upon leaving the village, they face many trials and tests which they must overcome to further the story and reach the final destination in their pilgrimage. As you can imagine, things escalate from there, and the fate of the world ends up hanging in the balance. (big surprise there)
Much like the first LOH game, the graphic in LOH 2 are nothing special. It looks almost identical to LOH and I noticed few, if any, graphical advantages that LOH 2 has in it's favor. It looks like an early generation PS game, but the graphics are not really the highlights of the LOH games, so it can be forgiven. Spells look a little bit better, but you will hardly notice, since most spells take too long to cast and you will get the same results by melee attacking with all characters, including your mages.
The story is one of the better aspects of LOH 2, and despite there being some serious downtime in the story, it kept me interested, and the Moonlight Witch ends up being quite the mysterious figure which you will want to learn more about. They story is pushed along by a pretty good cast of characters that have opposing views on life and ways to handle different situations. I really liked some of the interactions between Jurio and Christina, the two main characters. Being friends since childhood, they often make funny and sarcastic comments to each other which made me laugh quite a few times. Seeing Jurio pelt Christina with jokes about how bad her cooking sucks while she is getting ready for the food festival had me cracking up. There are a few funny interactions like this, but they mainly take place between Jurio and Christina. Another highlight is when Christina makes fun of Lodi for wearing shorts while he battles with his sword.
The story is nothing new, but fresh enough to keep you interested. It's also not as drawn out as the story in the first LOH. The first one seemed to drag on and on at certain spots, but LOH 2 cuts to the chase in most scenes, and gets you to where you need to be next pretty quickly.
Sounds and Music
Not much has changed here either. The exact same sounds and affects that were used in the first LOH re-surface and provide the same satisfying, yet un-inventive experience. The music tends to be a step above the previous game, but quite honestly, I didn't pay too much attention to the music on either game, maybe it's because I played LOH 2 most recently.
The gameplay in LOH 2 has not changed at all from LOH. Sorry to sound like a broken record at this point, but I can't stress enough about this game borrowing directly from it's predecessor. The battles are conducted in an area based field kind of like Lunar. So you have to travel to the enemy before you can hit it, which usually is not a problem. This system is fine for melee combat, but I found it pretty annoying for magic use. Since you can only cast spells in a certain amount of space surrounding your character, you will not be able to launch a spell right off the bat, hitting multiple enemies. You will need to walk over to them first, and them you can cast it next round. It's pretty annoying and almost renders magic useless. You will spend most of your time melee attacking.
One big thing that was fixed in LOH 2 is the analog nub control. It was terrible before, but now it's manageable and I navigated the entire game with it, which was nice.
You are still able to see the enemies on the battlefield and avoid enemies if you need to, which is nice, but most stuff that is too weak will run away from you anyway. Another change to this game is the grind factor. LOH 2 is no where near as grindy as LOH. There is some leveling involved, but you tend to go up levels faster, which lets you progress faster. There is also a serious cutback in backtracking in LOH 2. LOH was terrible for backtracking, LOH 2 keeps you going forward and doesn't make you run across the same terrain over and over again to go talk to NPCs.
Speaking of NPCs, the translation in LOH 2 is much better than the translation in LOH. While spotty in some areas, most stuff makes sense, and you should be able to figure out what to do next, un-like LOH.
There is also a serious lack of boss fights in this game. I think there were 3 the entire game. It's not a big deal for a game which thrives off of it's story, but you almost miss that urgency that comes with good boss fights later on in the game. I found the last boss fight to be one of the easiest I have ever come across in my life, and it almost seems like a joke fight.
So, who should play this game? If you finished the first LOH game, I would say pick this game up and give it a try. It's old school turn based RPG goodness with little flare to differentiate it from the rest of the RPG games out there.
While there have been some improvements to the game, I simply cannot justify giving this game a higher score than it's predecessor.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/01/07, Updated 03/09/09
Game Release: The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (US, 06/20/06)
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