Review: Dark Cloud (PS4)

dark-cloud-review-banner-ps4

Title: Dark Cloud
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.05 GB) / DVD Disc
Release Date: December 5, 2015
Original PS2 Release Date: May 29, 2001
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Level-5
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: T
Dark Cloud is also available on PlayStation 2.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Dark Cloud was one of the strongest titles in the PlayStation 2’s library. It showed what the system was capable of. Thanks to Sony’s new initiative to bring back titles from the PS2 era, Dark Cloud has arrived for a whole new group of players.

The game is about a boy named Toan as he tries to rebuild his world from the devastating attack of the Dark Genie. He finds himself given the job to rebuild the world town to town, piece by piece.

Dark Cloud™_20151218162339

As with many games of its time, combat can be very difficult. You spend the majority of the time in the world’s dungeons. Each town has it own dungeon attached to it. You’ll need to enter it and free the dungeon’s master to move on.

There is a tutorial for combat which, unfortunately, does not start until the second floor of the first dungeon. The nice thing about the dungeons is that they are randomly generated and make replay a much more enjoyable experience.

… rebuild the world one part at a time …
Luckily the first dungeon is designed to hold your hand, but I would suggest learning the controls yourself to save time and to save yourself some pain. The levels get harder as you progress through the story and you can upgrade Toan and your weapons by adding special stones and eating your character’s favorite foods (Toan prefers donuts).

To help you through the dungeons, you will gather allies to join your battle. Your allies and their weapons are upgrade like Toan’s, and taking the time to upgrade them will greatly help you in your quest.

Dark Cloud™_20160106111009

The other big part of the game, and the one I found to be most enjoyable, is the Atla. These allow you to rebuild the world one part at a time in Georama mode. It’s a design choice we still do not see a lot of in today’s games.

The pieces are located in the dungeons, and when you pop back into town, the real joy of Dark Cloud begins. How to rebuild the town is left up to you as each house has pieces that need to be replaced. Also, the town’s residents request certain things that will make them happier. Each request comes with rewards which helps to move your progress forward.

… better than ever to play …
The story, even at the time of its initial release, was always the weakest part of Dark Cloud. It’s your typical “bad guy wins and it’s up to you to fight back and make things right”.

To be fair we still find storylines like this today which don’t hurt the game. Also with the move to the PS4 comes trophy support, while not a big deal to some people it can make Dark Cloud more fun to play.

Dark Cloud™_20151218162215

Visuals:
The biggest change to the game is in the graphics department. A resolution of 1080P and a constant frame rate of 60 frames per second makes the game better than ever to play.

With the the better framerate, combat animations are smooth and it’s easier to dodge and attack. Back in 2001 Dark Cloud pushed the PS2 hardware with bold colors and fully textured characters and buildings. With the new improvements it’s a good looking game even by today’s standards.

… a classic that should be revisited …
Audio:
The audio is a sign of the times with only a musical score and no voice acting. The music is decent although it’s not very memorable even though it’s repetitive at times.

It is somewhat disappointing that the same track plays in the same dungeon. I will say there are a lot of tracks for the game as you progress, but since I like to grind I hear the same dungeon music a lot.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Dark Cloud™_20151218164732

Conclusion:
This has been a hard review to write. How do you review a older game that has been reviewed to death, and balance it with a few new features?

Sony has really opened up the doors in bringing their back-catalog of PS2 games to the PS4. The updates really do this one justice and it definitely makes it better than it was.

As for the game itself, Dark Cloud is a classic that should be revisited or even discovered for the first time. The Georama game play is still fresh after all of these years, although you might find the dungeon crawl tedious at times.

At this price point I’d say that a visit to Dark Cloud will not disappoint.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg
Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Shawn Hiers

Shawn Hiers

Disabled gamer. Married Father of 3, and playing since the Atari days. I have a passion for all things Lego and an avid Toy Collector. I am also an huge Doctor Who Fan and can talk all things Who for hours 🙂

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook