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Monday, February 12, 2007

Game Play: More On Dark Cloud 2

I clocked several hours with Dark Cloud 2 over the weekend. Chicago remains a brutal wasteland for people wanting to anything outside ... and I'm not even one of those people. There is still a fascinating compulsion to compare this title to Ocarina Of Time despite it's wide differences. It's not nearly was "wander" friendly. At times the game won't have anything for you to do except go and plunder old dungeons for challenges and figure out how to build up your villages. In fact, the cycle of "raid new dungeons, build village, revisist old dungeons" is so tight that it got a nod in the dialogue.

Only once has the game really annoyed me. While Ocarina would occasionally offer strangely obtuse puzzles (did that rolling Dodongo want to talk, need something or deserve a bomb?) - Dark Cloud 2 is largely blunt about its plot. Almost hammer-like as it repeats specific clues on where or what you should be trying to do. And so it was odd when I couldn't go any farther in a new dungeon and I had no idea what to do with the current village because most of the goals were still obscured.

Apparently, I was supposed to guess. I was certain I had done something else wrong - like not pick up an item or forget to try and take a seperate path. No, no, it was just being difficult. Very, very difficult. For instance, I needed to get a specific person and move him into a specific village. No way I would have thought of that. No way. So on the opposite end of clarity are these demands that I wonder if the game wasn't built with the old "let's find a way to sell more official guides" philosophy. Really, really annoying.

Fortunately - we live in the day of intertubes and now I know I can look up those hidden goals whenever. Otherwise, the game is still a delight. The combat is honestly some of the best you can hope for in an action RPG - some strategy and timing required. The landscapes are rich and varied and cutscenes often pretty entertaining. I just hit the spheda games (a golf variant you can play on some dungeon levels) and fishing tourneys - so there is even more to enjoy.

I really hope a Dark Cloud 3 hits s soon. It would definately be the kind of title to put a plus in the column for the PS3. Rumors persist, but I'll just have to see.

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