Review: Dark Cloud 2 (PS4)

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Title: Dark Cloud 2
Format: PlayStation Network Download (3.14 GB) / DVD Disc
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Original PS2 Release Date: February 17, 2003
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Level-5 / SCE Japan Studio
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: T
Dark Cloud 2 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:
Much like my review for Dark Cloud, I am going to focus mainly on the conversion for the PlayStation 4, and this time only hit on the game mechanics and changes briefly.

You start the game as Max, a young mechanic looking forward to going to the circus. This is your starting point to a very large story where it is Max’s job to once again rebuild the outside world.

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Combat works very much like it did in the original game, along with the same dungeon crawl as well. The combat in the sequel is identical to its predecessor, so it felt very natural and like coming back to a familiar friend.

Unlike Dark Cloud, the combat is not helped by a faster frame rate. It felt clunky and not as smooth as the first game. Other then that complaint, it was basically identical. There are several new concepts that are tried out to varying degrees of success here in the sequel.

You now have only one other character you can play as which is the Princess. You can build equipment to help you through the story with the invention system and modifications to the weapon upgrade system from the previous game.

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The Georama system in Dark Cloud 2 has seen changes as well. You no longer find Geospheres in the dungeons, but the majority of these spheres are dropped from enemy encounters. It feels like the geo-system is taking a back seat from the original Dark Cloud.

You start the rebuilding of the outside world after you complete your first dungeon, unlike the first game, as you’re rebuilding your town as you go along. It was fairly disappointing to me as the geo-system was my favorite part of the original game.

… Nostalgia is a tricky thing …
Visuals:
The graphics saw the most changes from the original game. This time the game is completely cell shaded and looks great. Gone are the full polygon models and the game is better for it.

The one big problem with Dark Cloud 2 is during the cutscenes. Early on they had a lot of screen tearing going on. I usually try to overlook these issues, but they ended up taking me out of the moment and became a distraction.

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Audio:
As with the first game, the music is pretty good, if not repetitive during the longer levels. The real change in the audio, and a welcome change from the original, is voice acting.

Most of the dialogue is voiced this time around and, with a few small exceptions, townsfolk have no voice work done. For the most part the voice acting is excellent and a welcome addition to the franchise.

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

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Conclusion:
Nostalgia is a tricky thing. I remember Dark Cloud 2 being so much better than Dark Cloud. After going back to these titles in the last two months I have to say Dark Cloud 2 is not as good as the original, and this pertains to the conversion as well.

Combat is not as smooth and the graphics do not seem to pop as they did with Dark Cloud. In addition, the issue with screen tearing makes me wonder if Dark Cloud 2 needed more than just a polish.

Score:
6.5

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

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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 🙂

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