Review by SXITH

"Jade Cocoon 2 Flexes a Playable and Enjoyable Journey"

By popular belief, a system will not reach phenomena-status unless it gives rise to every kind of genre. It isn‘t a ham-fisted deduction to assert that Sony’s unwavering PlayStation came out on top, smashing the Sega Saturn and N64 into smithereens. Their current powerhouse, the PS2, has yet to be outperformed. Thus, it’s not another speculation to believe that Sony’s success is due on the behalf of a certain genre. What’s now an essential ingredient for gaming diets everywhere, RPGs determine fates. As the eagerly-awaited spectacle, Final Fantasy X, closes in ever so slight, Genki’s Jade Cocoon 2 will clearly fill in the gap. Released about the same time with Square’s Goliath, Jade Cocoon 2 struts the muscle of the PS2 harness and flexes a playable and enjoyable journey.

I’ll be quick about it, “pika, pika,“ is finished, Pokemon is at last. . .dead. Now stop comparing it to Jade Cocoon’s awesome rudiments to that nauseating craze. Genki’s previous attempt was all about an extremely glossy monster-breeding simulation, and round two remains unchanged. Where others flopped, JC2 hypnotizes gamers inside an experience none can rival. Modifying the previous monster-raising system, plunking great innovations, and keeping an authentic structure to its predecessor, the follow-up soars well beyond the first. Simply among the most enthused RPGs this year, the 3D atmosphere sizes up a faintly tricky learning-curve that may overshadow the great depth this RPG endorses.

The first game ended when protagonist, Levant, cleansed the Forest from its wicked aggressors. With his village mending wounds from the ordeal, the Cocoon Master gained immortality. Centuries have dragged by and now Levant is proven to be a critical guide to our newest hero. Enter Cafu, an aspiring Beast Hunter. Taken by the art of capturing and playing God with monsters, Cafu has unexpectedly been cursed as a demon himself. Now time is his own future slayer, slowly it bleeds out his human existence. Branded as the Seeker of the Orbs, Cafu must scour uncertain mazes of woodland and snatch particular orbs to reclaim his true self. Feral walls of wild beasts must be tamed, grown, bred, brought onto battlefield as allies, and go deeper in the elusive forest to prevent Cafu from unavoidable doom.

Revamping all the nooks and crannies from the original, there is still an elegant bag of surprises. Once into the game, Levant bequeaths Cafu with an amulet to control two friendly critters. In combat, the amulet has a total of eight openings for your creatures to be planted on. Leveling up Cafu’s stats and his reputation at town earns additional slots. Battle, menu-based, is focused on Cafu and the adjacent challenger who are surrounded with a ring of their own monsters. Behaving like a rotating wheel, if there is a hole in the shield of monsters, both Beast Hunters are open to damage. Dishing up some strategy degree, each monster keeps an elemental makeup (Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth). Working almost via-rock-paper-scissor style, combat accelerates chunkier as you advance through your journey. Dipping you in a series of engrossing fights, Jade Cocoon 2 goes around the Turn-Based dud.

JC2’s chief point is its respectable monster-raising system. Adding bucket loads of involvement, you must perform a sequence of undertakings to modify, collect, and form a monster of your own zest. Staying true with the concept of amalgamating two creatures to share parental traits, JC2 also has the option to let newborns be bred endlessly. It’ll take continual experimenting to model a flawless pedigree. Collecting monster eggs require Cafu to trek within the woods. Featuring better, prearranged areas, you are to mostly penetrate giant plants and furrow for their keyspores. Serving as keys to open subsequent, accessible areas, the exploration level is huge. Yeah, it’s linear, but the direction in the game is still far better than the often puzzling original. Customary procedures of moving between town to town, gathering information, and throwing a bargain of vast voyages, Genki’s second effort is a virtual textbook on “How to Create a True RPG and Monster-Breeding Simulator Done Right.”

The graphical department is breathtaking. If you thought Pikmin for the GameCube was the mind of an alcoholic, Jade Cocoon 2 is the mind of a Sci-Fi writer. “Big” isn’t fit to express how large this RPG is, extraordinarily gigantic is more like it. Geared in a watertight execution of polygons, the environment bolsters nicely with the sprite-based characters. Integrating anime-style characters, the uncanny look on this game is mesmerizing. Beaming with shady, yet delicately dazzling eye candy, the emphasis on creativity doesn’t bog the game down. From house to towns, from caves to never-ending flora, Genki illustrates how much flair they can achieve graphically. With a technically advance face-lift, JC2’s soundtrack is just as rich. In tides of duel and all over between, the tracks are relentless and tasteful. Swallowed in a convincing 3D realm, packed with 200 cut-scenes, and speaking in full English voice-overs, I know where my fifty bucks went.

Localized with high-quality text, Ubi Soft was right to publish JC2. It‘s just an attachment of great gaming from beginning to end. Heaving with a barrage of slick-looking animated characters and flowery special effects, this title could be a tad bit of competition against the fearsome Final Fantasy X. It’s just THAT good. Teasing you with two hundred different types of monsters to discipline and an easy to learn battle interface, Jade Cocoon 2 has all the trappings of an RPG which shouldn’t be missed under the Holiday flood.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/11/02, Updated 01/11/02

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