Review by FwugRadiation
"Brandish 2 - Total crap... or... well, okay, it rocks."
Let me get this out of the way. This review is going to be biased. Biased by how awesome Brandish 2 is. A lot of people think Brandish is a disorienting piece of crap. I appreciate that, if people don't like a game that's totally okay with me. On the other hand, I love Brandish. So here's MY opinion.
I'd beaten Brandish. What else was I supposed to do with my afternoon? There were two things: act like an idiot or play a sequel to a game in Japanese. So I did the second one. And I was very pleased by the results. Now I'm gonna go into that crappy "graphics picture sound purple" thing that reviewers do.
GRAPHICS 9.7/10 - The first Brandish suffered from problems of enemies looking like flying pickles or blue jello. Brandish 2 just looks at the first Brandish and blows its face off into space. Brandish 2's sprites are much more lush and a lot more well animated than the first Brandish (although tile-based animation is still stiff) and some of them even have more than 16 colors! No more cramming an entire set of enemies into one palette for Falcom! It's awesome all the way. The only real problem with the graphics is the lack of variety between floor tiles, walls, etc. for a given area. This is remedied by having a lot of freaking areas. So yeah. In addition, all of these areas are really interesting-looking and have unique themes, so you're not gonna get bored of the boring brown dungeon of doom anytime soon.
Now you're probably wondering about those anime cutscenes from the first Brandish. Well, those are back. Take those, and double or triple the colors they use, make it so they're much more detailed and fine-tunes, and add in the fact that the peoples' mouths move when they talk. YOU WIN.
MUSIC 9.5/10 - Unlike the completely unatmospheric random awesome music from the first game, the music in this game is a lot more fitting. But don't fear! There are still a few uncharacteristic tunes. Shop, dying, castles, caves all sound great, sort of like remixes of the original Brandish's music but different enough to give you a lot of variety.
Prison (the first level) is just one of those awesome tunes that sticks in your brain like a peanut-butter-sandwich made of ninjas, while the Master Ninja's battle theme and the final boss's battle theme pump epic battling into your bloodstream. At first I had a gripe with this game's Fortress music, as it was fittingly creepy for a creepy level instead of the uncharacteristic final level synth, but... it's still good music, and later I got what I wanted! The only real problem with the music is that there isn't a new battle theme for every boss... but you can't really expect that with as many bosses as this.
GAMEPLAY 9.4/10 - Just want to say: the glaring flaws from the first game are here, and if you hate the setup for this game it will totally decimate the score, bringing it down to a 3 or a 4 or some other very, very low number. So if you don't enjoy Brandish... just... sorry. It's the same.
The point of the first Brandish was to explore five huge dungeons and get to the surface. The point of Brandish 2 is that Varik is captured and his legendary sword, the Planet Buster is stolen and he's thrown in prison. This results in him adventuring ten-or-so two to six level "bite-sized" dungeons, some of which are actually outside! And there are NPCs! And stuff! So that's really totally sweet, right there, kickin' radburgers, no more "I'm stuffed in a dungeon get me out." Now there's a lot of variety, so no more complaining about that.
Brandish 1 had major problems besides that where you couldn't combine items or rearrange your equipment before you got the dimensional box, the game moved at a clunky pace, etc. Brandish 2 fixes these problems by picking up Brandish and chucking it out the window.
Brandish 2 has an equipment screen so you can combine equipment at will and equip stuff whenever you want to. But what's the point of having an equip screen when you can only equip a sword, a shield, and a piece of armor?
Answer: You can equip a lot more than that.
Two freaking shields, if you want. Two swords if you're crazy. Heck, forget swords! Throughout your journey you'll get two-handed hammers, axes, and a variety of knuckles. Clunky movement is toned down by making 4 playable game speeds and making everything very, very smooth compared to the first Brandish. Jump, jump, turn, strafe, jump never felt so good.
Combat has not been refined too much, but it feels more fun than the first Brandish. Spells aren't that useful (with the exception of the vastly overpowered teleport, thunderbolt, double, and barrier spells) There are a lot more monsters than puzzles (one of my only gripes with this game), and this game is a lot tougher than Brandish 1. If you ever want to escape the island with your life, you're going to have to buy a lot of Potions of both varieties and Elixirs, as resting will probably get you killed in the later stages of the game. Bosses are bigger and better than ever, and manage to have some interesting variety, although there are still a few "dodge and hit" bosses. The last boss has an amazing attack variety and amazing music but still blows huge chunks, however, as... well... killing you instantly? Thank goodness for rings of life.
VERDICT 9.55/10 - If you loved the first Brandish, you'll love this one as much or slightly less, depending on how big a factor the puzzles were. Go out there and get it. And there's no translation patch. Forgot that.
If you hate Brandish, this game will probably just be a shinier version of the pile of crap you played earlier. So I suggest you just download a ROM, check it out, and buy it if you like it. Rockin'.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/09/06
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