Monday, October 19, 2009

Xbox 360 Impressions: Magna Carta 2

So, Magna Carta 2 just showed up on my doorstep complete with 360 Faceplate, Art book, and, um, a bigger art book. Before cracking the game open my initial impressions were, "Hey! Bewbs! Sexy legs!" I mean, just look at the art direction by Kim Hyung Tae...

Unfortunately the game's graphics don't actually match the perverse finesse that Tae can bring through his illustrations. Still, the graphics don't seem to be all that bad. A little bland, some choppy animations, and it's a little soft on the details, but it's not "bad" looking. The cut scenes are rather underwhelming though, and I can't help shake the feeling that this game was in gestation for a while. Things just seem kind of dated from a visual standpoint. The audio, however, is pretty solid. With a dub that's holding up pretty well (full of English anime dub vets such as Steve Blum, Laura Bailey, and Travis Willingham) and a decent RPG soundtrack, this piece of the puzzle fits just fine.

Now, this is a long haul kind of RPG, I'd imagine. Considering I'm only a couple of hours in please keep in mind these are just my initial impressions of the game. And those initial impressions are... it's kind of boring.

Some games just grab you right out of the gate and others are a slow burn that take their time drawing you in. Magna Carta 2 is the latter.

You start off as an amnesiac named Juto living on an island. The big mystery is you have some fear of real swords and resign yourself to weilding a stick (it's not that big though, and Juto doesn't talk softly). Shortly after the game picks up and you kill some crabs with your wooden sword (generally you need medication to get rid of crabs, but I guess a piece of wood works as well) all hell breaks loose. It would seem that the island is smack dab in the middle of two opposing military forces, originally named North and South. Seriously, whoever came up with that one is a genius. Well, the island has something on it known as a Guardian that the North wants, and the South wants to prevent them from having.

From the South area a princess with a name that eludes me right now (she's the sexy girl above) and a massive beastly guy named Argo come to town for some directions. One thing leads to another and Juto is playing tourguide for these two. It would appear that his friend Melissa has headed off to the caves where the Guardian is, and that's where the Northerners are, so yeah... Well, Junto tweaks during a fight against the Guardian and gives us a hint at the past he can't remember. Queue up some dry conversations, another battle, and the death of someone close to Juto (I'll give you a hint, it's not Santa Claus), and the game sets you on the path to confront the North as a part of the South. Like I said I'm only a couple of hours into the game and none of the story is really popping yet.

The gameplay is pretty straightforward, action-RPG fair as well. You run around a world map and take on quests similar to what you would do in an MMORPG. You can also enter and exit combat at any point when you come across an enemy. This is fine as well, but nothing original really. You also have standard attacks that fill up a guage which allows you to use special attacks. If you use too many attacks without giving your character much of a break then you'll enter something known as Overdrive, which increases power, quickly followed by Overheat, which freezes the character for a time. This can be exploited once you use other party members and you can string together attacks and increase damage. There seems to be some potential here, so I look forward to getting into that some more (after 2 hours I JUST got to a point where I have other party members to use).

I'm really just barely scratching the surface of what this game has to offer, but right now I have to say that I'm not really feeling it. I mean, it's not bad, but it's not exactly something that's making me feel the pull to go back and play. Hopefully that opinion will change as I get further into it and explore more of the world, see the combat system more, and some of the story unfolds. Until then, leave this one on your radar if you enjoyed the first game on the PS2, or if you're just looking for a new RPG. Then again, with Dragon Age: Origins just around the corner Magna Carta 2 may not really take off with the populous.

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