After the success of Dark Cloud, Level-5 made a sequel. As opposed to taking place directly after the events of the first game, Dark Cloud 2 barely shows any connection to Dark Cloud other than in name. This isn’t necessarily a negative though as a direct sequel wouldn’t have made much sense. You start the game as an aspiring child inventor named Maximilian (Max). He works with elderly friend Cedric in a mechanic shop. Everything seems pretty average about this setup except that there is no contact with the outside world. Max attends a travelling circus and ends up getting sucked into a series of events that changes the course of the world. An evil emperor named Griffon has destroyed pretty much the rest of the world’s settlements so that no one can oppose him and he can rule in the future. Now Max must set out to restore these settlements, called “Origin Points,” and restore balance to the world.
Max is gifted with a special red stone called the Atlamillia, similar to the same stone seen in the first game, and is later joined by a young girl named Monica who posses a blue Atlamillia. Between the two stones, the duo are able to travel back and forth through time to restore the “Origin Points” that Griffon destroyed. The restoration of towns is similar to the way it was done in the first game but much more involved. You still place down building and have villagers live in them but this time its all manual and up to your discretion how the towns look. While you could rearrange the towns in the first game, this game has you build everything from scratch. By everything, I mean everything, you literally have to craft the fences, buildings, chimneys, and even trees via the Carpenterion. Needless to say, you could spend many hours just making each town exactly how you want it.
A very interesting thing that Level-5 did with this game is put you in control of who lives where and puts you in charge of recruiting them. Every recruitable NPC in the game has different requirements that you must fulfill to recruit them. Some are pretty simple and easy but others could take you until you are more than halfway through the game before you can finish their “missions.” Some towns require you to have specific villagers live in them for you to get them to 100%. Along with helping you 100% towns, each NPC also will sell you different items and has different abilities for you to take advantage of.
Combat in the game is still pretty simple but they have changed a little to accommodate only having 2 characters. Max uses both a blunt weapon (wrench or hammer) and a gun, while Monica uses a sword/dagger and magic bracelet. Along with this, Max can use a robot named “Steve” and Monica can transform herself into a plethora of different monsters. This works out fine but I still prefer having multiple people all with different abilities like you saw in the previous entry in the series.
One of my favorite aspects of this game is the invention system. As you progress through the game, Max can take pictures of different objects that he can use as “ideas” to help him invent different things. You can invent everything from a piece of cheese to some of the best weapons in the game. As far as the invention system goes, its almost flawless and the only complaint I have is that its mostly just random guessing to make things and, aside from a few notes scattered around the world, no real direction in how to invent things.
There are tons of “side-quests” in this game as well. There is a golf-like mini-game (which I suck at) called Spheda that can be enjoyable when you want to relax a little after finishing a dungeon. Fishing also makes a return but is a bit different as you can do it anywhere where there is water now. Lastly, you can take your fish that you catch to two different competitions, a fishing competition and fish races. Dark Cloud 2 is definitely one of the hidden gems of last generation. The game has a good mix of adventuring, dungeon crawling and town building that come together to make a pretty stellar title. If you have yet to try out this title, I highly recommend checking it out.
- Fun dungeon crawling
- Town building is very in-depth this time around
- The invention system is a great feature
- Only 2 playable characters
- No real direction in the invention system