Lost Kingdoms 2
Game Info
Platform(s)
GameCube
Publisher
Activision
Developer
From Software
Genre
RPG/CCG
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Comic Mischief, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Improved graphics and audio
• Lots of cards to collect

The Bad

• Could be longer
• Voice acting is weak

 
Grade
B

The story behind Lost Kingdoms 2 is set roughly 200 years after the original. This time around, players take on the role of Tara Grimface, an adept who carries around a runestone which allows her to turn cards into monsters on the battlefield. As a part of a group of thieves in search of more runestones, she becomes involved in combat as the story unfolds. While the story is not exceptionally deep, especially considering the length of the game, it does a good enough job to keep you playing on.

While the game is presented like an RPG, where Tara gains levels through defeating monsters, the basics on the game are based on CCGs (collectible card games), where you go into each stage with a pre-assembled deck, constructed of cards of different types and attributes. Limited to a deck of 30 cards, you're dealt four cards, each to a different face button, which can be used during the stage when you are faced with enemies. You have direct attack cards, monster summons, assistance cards and even cards that allow you to turn into certain monsters, which is necessary to get through certain sections. To use the cards, you need magic points, which seem to get drained quickly. Luckily, enemies drop gems which can be picked up to refill your magic. If there aren't any gems around, look for the blue fairies, which when caught, can add cards back to your deck, give you health or magic points.

Along with the basic use of the cards, players can use the Right Trigger to discard cards back into your deck. Also, when you use a card while holding the Z button, they'll be summoned in a more powerful state. Since cards are based on a rock-paper-scissors format of elemental strengths and weaknesses, this can help in pushing a battle in your favor.

While the battles are a major part of the game, the real backbone is the collection aspect. At the end of each stage, you'll be rewarded with new cards, and there are a number of chests in each stage to be opened. Also, you can visit a card shop to upgrade your cards through experience points that they gain during combat into more powerful incarnations. You can also create a variety of decks, which you can always try out in the versus mode.

Visually, Lost Kingdoms 2 is built on a solid engine that provides a fair amount of detail. While it's no Final Fantasy X, Lost Kingdoms 2 does look pretty good, even with some repeated textures and some weak, and even boring, monster animations. With everything playing out in real-time, you'll find the game world immersive enough, even though I would have liked to see better visual and lighting effects. Compared to the first game, the visual package is a nice step up.

The audio package, while not great, is a fair grade better than the previous incarnation. Both the soundtrack and sound effects, while not spectacular, do a fair bit better at keeping you going without being an annoyance. The voice acting, while it comes in small bits, is laughably weak. Luckily, it can be ignored for the most part.

First and foremost, Lost Kingdoms 2 could be longer. While you can go back to previous areas, and it's recommended to build levels, the basic story could be beaten in anywhere from 10-15 hours. Also, the card system, except for a few additions, really isn't changed too drastically from the original.

If you enjoyed the first game, by all means, go out and get this game. It's better than the original, even if it does need to be longer and the story could be more fleshed out. If you like Magic: The Gathering or want to try out an RPG that's different than the norm, at least give this game a rent.

- - Kinderfeld

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