Game Review - by Jean-Paul Gagnon
What can I say? I am addicted to this game. Fun Fun Fun. It's almost as good as the original, but different too. Have you played the original? Kind of reminded you of The Legend of Zelda right? Well Alundra 2 is finally beginning to separate itself from the stigmata of being a Zelda clone. There are similarities of course, but then there are always similarities between games that involve a young male hero and his quest to hack and slash his way across dungeons beyond imagining puzzles and the ken of mortal man to save the princess and the kingdom with the help from a few friends.
You play flint pirate hunter extrodinare on his quest to avenge his father. Soon however, fate intervenes and the simple quest of hunting pirates has turned into something far larger and more dangerous. Strange magic abounds in this world of Dragons and elementals. Your allies include the beautiful Princess Alexia, the children of the crown, (a freedom fighting organization made up apparently of the numerous progeny of the missing and suprisingly virile king,) the imprisoned swordsman Lord Jeehan, and the elementals which lend you their powers in your quest to depose the evil Baron and thwart the plans of the court magician Mephisto.
The game delves into wonderfully complex puzzles and terrifying traps. It also includes over 10 separate mini-games that range from darts to classic style arcade games to races to catching falling objects to whew a whole lot. The game is for a single player and takes up a block of memory card. From the options menu inside the game, players are able to adjust many different functions of the game environment. These include text speed and volume, and the options menu also is allows one to check on the status of the main character. The game world is incredibly dense despite being only a single disk long, and players will find themselves immersed hour after hour, often going back to get treasure they may have missed or playing a mini-game one more time to get the points they need to receive a certain item.
The gameplay is in a word, ADDICTIVE. The ability to change the camera angle and zoom in or out is a definite plus and for some puzzles a necessity. I often found myself redoing a certain trap or fighting a certain enemy just to see how it looked from another angle. Hack and slash can get old fast but the variety of enemies and the ability to achieve a more powerful combination of moves makes the experience fresh and interesting. The magic system is also a lot of fun allowing different colored elemental bolts to affect enemies and traps in different manners and to summon elemental warriors to clear the screen on higher levels.
The graphics aren't bad. But they weren't stunning. The pixilization rate is high for this game but there are times when you can tell that something didn't go right in the design department. The cut scenes are interesting in that they use the same game engine as the rest of the game just featuring more angles and a larger view of the characters. I wasn't exactly disappointed with the graphics they certainly are stretching the limitations of the PlayStation. It just is another instance where I can't wait for the next generation of games to arrive.
The sound is pretty good for this game. None of the songs are all that addictive to listen to, but they also don't get boring when you enter a room for the nth time to have another go at that puzzle. The voice actors in the cut scenes are right on the for my money. The use of different types of nationalities is really apparent in the voices and it just further serves to draw the game player into the digital world.
This game is great. I can't recommend this or the original enough to people. I was suprissed at what a departure this game was, but pleasantly surprised. Players will find themselves stuck to their seats with excitement and keep coming back for more and more. The humor is nice and clean and oddly enough actually funny at times. Not something I expect from most games these days. The enemies are often fresh and interesting and the storyline, while derivative in portions, still manages to feel fresh. A bang up job.