583rd played so far
Platform: Playstation 2
Year of Release: 2002
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Although billed as an action RPG, the main thing that stands out about this game before really playing it is that it is supposed to have city building elements. Now, we recently got that in Fallout 4, but it was a weird unique feature there and not something that usually features in the game. You might influence a town by your actions, which might change what’s available, but not to the extent implied here.
Dark Chronicle – and the semi-predecessor Dark Cloud – however have it as one of the features, which sounds weird to me. What’s going to be the point? Will we get a chance to find out before we’re sick of the game?
One of the big surprises for me early on while playing the game is how randomly generated the randomly generated dungeons are. They feel Rogue-like, perhaps not in the depth of gameplay, but certainly in the way the levels are put together, and how you get smaller floors as part of a bigger dungeon. In this case, there are fewer floors than the gargantuan Nethack, but there are many more dungeons to go through instead. The dungeon crawling is more Diablo with a JRPG sauce instead, with plenty of story happening between floors the first time you go through.
The game soon starts introducing its other elements. Aside from some QTE bits, the first thing we get is taking photographs to start inventing items. By taking a picture, I think the item becomes available for use to put things together. The game length is such that we didn’t get too deeply into that yet, but it feels pretty promising to allow for some future building options.
The main flaw of the game that got me in the end is that the dungeon sections didn’t get that interesting, with boss fights just getting tedious after a while. Because – at least in the stages I got to – the dungeons don’t get quite as mixed up as you’d hope, and several enemies become a real chore to deal with, I lost interest with that part of the game quite quickly. It’s possible that with some rebalancing there, it would have gone on my to play list, now it’ll linger waiting for me to find time for it again.
I don’t dislike this game, but the tedium it brings is one I don’t appreciate as much these days. It has a lot of promise, with a lot of different things going on – perhaps too much sometimes to stay focused – but it works well enough as it is.