|Violence, Comic Mischief
| The Good
A fun game with a lot to do
Georama system and random dungeons allow for greater
| The Bad
Battle system may be a little simple
To much time using items to repair weapons and quench
Dark Cloud is Sony's second foray into the RPG genre,
but the first for the PS2. It is a story of Toan, a young
boy who must rebuild his world after a dark genie is released
and lays waste to it. In his quest, he is aided by the Fairy
King, whose magic seals away parts of the world in orbs, known
as Atla. During this quest, Toan gains more allies and uses
the Atla to reconstruct the world, piece by piece.
Dark Cloud's strength lies in that there's so much
to do, a player can just go from one element to another. First,
there's the dungeon crawling, where you take Toan, and later
his allies, through floor after randomly generated floor,
looking for items, special chests and Atla orbs. All the while,
you build up the ABS gauge, which will allow you to upgrade
and evolve your weapon, making it better. The weapon's system
is very reminiscent of Vagrant Story, allowing you to attach
gems and make weapons into newer and better ones.
Also, when you're through hacking and slashing, you can go
up top and start putting your villages back together. This
doesn't just involved placing a building here or there, you
actually have to place the people who live there, ask them
what goes in their home and then see if they have any special
requests (Toan's Mother asks him to move the house so that
it's facing the sun in the morning). The more you finish these
requests, the more special items you gain. Also included is
a fishing mini-game and a duel mode, where the player has
to time button presses like a dancing sim.
While Dark Cloud may not be overly detailed, it's
strength is that it's both consistently good and that it makes
use of some great visual effects. Fire gives off heat distortion
and looking up into the sky will shoot off lense-flares. The
first player camera mode is also a great addition for moving
around areas where the camera might be a little unforgiving.
The music is well-done, but can get monotonous after a
while. A greater variety of musical tracks, especially in
the dungeon would have helped. The sound effects are well
done, and the sounds of monsters off in the distance may help
Dark Cloud is fun. The characters you interact
with all have personalities all their own and then are some
comical effects. The combat system, while easy to learn, can
be a little limited. The biggest drawback to the game might
be the dependency on too many gauges and items to refill them.
There's a life gauge, ABS gauge, Weapon HP gauge, Thirst gauge,
and... Well, there are probably just a few too many.
If you don't enjoy this game, then you may be looking too
hard for the next best thing. Take a step back and enjoy the
ride. Even people who don't like action/RPGs might do themselves
a bit of good just to rent this one. This game can be as simple
or deep as you want. Even though it isn't the "Zelda-killer"
everyone thought it would be, it's still worth a play.