Despite myself not being a huge fan of Japanese role-playing games, I have to give Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) credit. In a time where even new first-person shooters can be considered a gamble in the video game industry, NIS is still deciding to translate and distribute JRPGs alongside other stat-oriented Japanese games so that the rest of the world may enjoy them. I swear, the American divisions of that company must contain some extremely passionate individuals, because they surely can’t be doing it for the money.
As for ClaDun X2 as a game, I feel a bit conflicted. The game is very fun and definitely not a boring dungeon crawler by any means, but it lacks a tone that makes any game outclass peers of its genre. Partly does its attempt to outclass other dungeon crawlers fail because of the game mechanics, but the majority of the blame can be put onto the story and investment of the player within the world. Those last two aspects of the game are not done poorly or below average, but they fail to be ambitious in any noteworthy way.
|Truly fearsome weaponry|
The dungeons that the player will be traversing are varied enough to a point. There are two types of dungeons; random dungeons and campaign dungeons. Random dungeons are self-explanatory; they are randomly-created dungeons. The random dungeons feel narrow and constricted, with what seems like a very straight-forward path to the next random dungeon and dungeon exit. Campaign dungeons, on the other hand, were more of a 65 percent to 35 percent split between open dungeons and constricted dungeons. However, being pre-made dungeons meant they would obviously eventually come to an end. Some of the campaign dungeons did take advantage of being pre-made by containing extra, higher-level areas to lengthen the replay value of them, which was a nice added touch.
I feel I have an obligation to also mention the sound and graphic designs. The music in ClaDun X2 varies from gorgeous to good, with some tracks have beautiful changes between real instruments and others having good if stock compositions. The graphics are a mix between detailed backgrounds and pixel-art characters/enemies. The contrast not only makes identifying enemies from walls really easy, but it also gives the game a sense of style not easily found in other games.
At the beginning of the game, the only real goal is to complete dungeons for the sake of doing it. In fact, the game flat-out says to the player that there is no hope of any advancement or discovering any new place that is not filled with monsters. When I understand I am essentially running through dungeons for no reason other than to complete dungeons, it really takes something to make me rework my mindset. And the game never does that; the story shift, while interesting, did not make me rethink what I had been doing, mostly because I still needed to complete dungeons for no real reason. Needless to say, the game made me grind so much such that I could not really change my drive that made me play the game.
I wonder how this compares to Legasista. They're essentially the same game, as far as I can tell, but I wonder if anyone who has played both can do a comparison for us?
I reviewed the PSP version of ClaDun x2, and am currently working on Legasista. I'll get back to you in a couple of days 😉