cypher: (she's like a breath of fresh air)
[personal profile] cypher posting in [community profile] a_gamer_is_me
Up-front disclaimer: I am all kinds of fannish about video games. Almost all the fandoms I write fic for are games. This means that I wind up talking a lot about characters and relationships in my game reviews! ...I promise to put in some stuff about play mechanics too. Also I am kinky (and so is this game, seriously), so there will be a little bit of stuff in here about powerplay themes as they come up in the game. I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. ^^

So, Magna Carta 2! To answer the first two obvious questions: (1) it's for the Xbox 360 (and so far that seems to be the only system it's on -- only time will tell if it turns out to be one of those games that releases for the PS3 a year later). (2) You do not need to have played the previous Magna Carta game on the PS2 to follow the story -- it inherits the name, the character designer, and a few of the themes, but doesn't share a world or characters.

Genre: this is an RPG -- JRPG-style more than western, though it originates in Korea, not Japan; the story is fixed, rather than branching based on player choices -- think Final Fantasy, not Bioware. The story comes down on the more-political end of the scale, for the genre -- there is a civil war going on in the country of Lanzheim, sparked a few years ago when the prime minister staged a coup, killing the reigning queen and assuming the throne himself. He had the princess imprisoned, but she managed to escape and has rallied troops to try to retake her throne. The main character -- stop me if you've heard this one -- is a boy who's been living in a peaceful village on an isolated island, untouched by the war...until now.

The major criticism I've seen of the game seems to be that it's "unoriginal," but I think that's selling it short and also not acknowledging that genres are genres for a reason. Are there elements in the plot, and character types, that will seem familiar to long-time RPG players? Absolutely. But are they cool, engaging iterations of those types, put together in an enjoyable way? Absolutely.

Zephie, the princess, is one of my favorite fighting-princess types ever; she thinks about the political consequences of her actions, and about her responsibilities as a commander of troops, and her determination just rocks my world. And Juto is a really cool take on the amnesiac hero, too -- he has these moments where he gets to narrate for the audience a little bit, and it sort of kills me, hearing him fumble for words to try to explain emotions he doesn't really understand. Like a lot of games in the genre, MC2 ships its main male and female characters, and it handles the development of their relationship really well, moving through tentative alliance toward trust and through crisis. And it does so without depriving Zephie of her power. Quite the contrary -- Zephie and Juto's relationship has an explicit power difference in it that both of them seem comfortable with, and they get more comfortable with that as they get closer together, instead of trying to erase it.

Their supporting cast is pretty rad, too, to be honest. The villain has good, messy, understandable motivations -- he thinks he's doing the right thing and it's not just megalomania speaking; there's an argument to be made for his side. The rest of the player's team is filled out with likable characters who have good dynamics with each other -- they're also not shockingly new types (the spitey fire mage who sets himself up as Juto's rival, or the stoic guardian who will do anything to protect her princess -- I ship everybody with Zephie, omg), but they're well done and they mesh well together. There's a snarly, dangerous boy on the villain's team who makes me giddy with fannish glee at his brittle ferocity (and amazing mind control potential).

Have I mentioned yet that everybody's gorgeous? I can't read Korean, so I can't comment on the text on this page, but there are lots of lovely images -- scene paintings, screenshots, and renders of all the major characters (scroll about halfway down for those).

*cough* I said I would say something about the battle system, didn't I?

It's fun to play with! It's real-time but not super fast-paced (which is a blessing for me, because I seriously don't have the coordination for super-quick button-mashing combos); you control one character at a time and two other members of your team act via AI. The system rewards you for switching party members on the fly in the middle of battle -- that allows you to deal extra damage and cover for each other's moments of weakness -- and when you get far enough you can unlock fabulous combination attacks for people. It took me a little while to get the hang of switching off in party combat (and combat at the very start of the game, when you don't really have a party together yet, is a little awkward), but it was a lot of fun once I figured out what I was doing.

Also, the princess's signature move is soul extraction. How hot is that? rowr.

So yeah! The story is cool and playing the game is fun and I love the characters so much and just about the only problem I have with this game, really, is that I wish I had more people to squee over it with. \o/

Date: 2010-04-30 01:02 am (UTC)
lassarina: (Agreian - General Bad-Ass)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
I started it this weekend! I am on my way back to Abaret post-Cota Mare. I am enjoying it, but I can't help wishing I could take the mechanics of this game and fit it into Magna Carta: Tears of Blood, because I would dearly love to replay that.

But I am excited to keep playing MC2.

Date: 2010-04-30 01:27 am (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
Ha, I knew upon seeing Elgar that he was going to be one of the characters to ping the hell out of you.

So far I like Zephie and am neutral toward most of the rest, although I am absolutely dying to get to Rue because I am pretty sure I will love her forever.

Date: 2010-04-30 01:32 am (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
Heee! I bought the DLC back when I bought MC2, so I started and got Zephie in my party and opened up the equipment screen. Then it was like Y HALO THAR RIDICULOUS 200+ SPIRIT WEAPON. I, um. I am going to be so royally fucked when Chaining starts to MATTER because I am no longer painfully overpowered and finishing boss fights in 3 hits. But for now it's so fun to squash things.

Date: 2010-04-30 08:30 am (UTC)
schattenstern: Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender, smiling (Avatar - \o/)
From: [personal profile] schattenstern
Yay Magna Carta 2 squee! Now I can just point people who ask me why I like this game in the direction of this post and say, here, that's why. Reading your reasons for loving this game (which reminded me why I love it too) also provided me with exactly the motivation I needed to go back to it and finish it up; I just have six or seven more sidequests to do before the final dungeon/boss/etc. until I've finished all of them. Yay! ...but I don't want it to end. :(


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