Dark Cloud
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
SCEA
Developer
Take 5
Genre
Action/RPG
ESRB Rating
Violence, Comic Mischief
Grade
The Good

• A fun game with a lot to do
• Georama system and random dungeons allow for greater customization

The Bad

• Battle system may be a little simple
• To much time using items to repair weapons and quench thirst

 
Grade
B+

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.

Graphics
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.

Sound
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 some players.

Gameplay
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.

- - Kinderfeld

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