Dark Cloud 2 Review

I’m going to let you in from the start that I absolutely love this game. It is one of the best games I have ever played. Just writing this review makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This game may very well be one of the best RPGs for any system. If this game were a girl, I would marry it and then worry that I wasn’t good enough for it. It probably has the power to calculate the final digit of Pi. It helps little old ladies cross the street. It can whiten your teeth without any harsh chemicals. It actually won a Nobel Prize this year, but declined it. OK, maybe I can’t confirm all of these claims but Dark Cloud 2 does rock as a video game. That I can confirm and I will even give some supporting thoughts…

Dark Cloud 2 (DC2) is, of course, the sequel to Dark Cloud for the PS2. I’ve never played the original so all of the game elements were new to me but this didn’t hinder the enjoyment at all. DC2 is in the simplest form the story of a young boy named Maximillian who finally lives out his dreams of adventure. Boy, does he ever! He meets a beautiful girl, invents all sorts of stuff, goes fishing, battles a huge variety of creatures, time travels, builds cities, learns magic, plays a little golf (kind of), travels around the world (just in case time traveling wasn’t good enough), and lots more. This is one busy dude. And to think, all he wanted at the beginning of the game was to go to the circus.

Screenshots
Max and one of his inventions.

Max does make it to the circus and that’s when things get strange. I won’t go into too much detail because I would hate to take away from some of the enjoyment of the story. But let’s just say that not all clowns are good clowns. Soon our main man Max is crawling through the city’s water system and pops up outside of the city. Pretty quickly he meets up with the other main character of the game, Monica. Turns out that Monica is from the future and she has come back in time to make sure the future still exists. It seems that our bad guy of the story has been going back in time and changing history and if you’ve ever seen a Star Trek episode or Back to the Future you know how dangerous it can be to mess around with history.

Dark Cloud 2 is a long game and it might not suck you right into the story. It certainly did me, but your mileage may vary. For example, it was probably 30 minutes into the game until I actually got to seriously interact with the game. I wouldn’t have even noticed that it was that long except for the time counter when I saved the game. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun and I was really enjoying the experience. There are many cutscenes throughout DC2 and they do a terrific job of bringing you into the story and making the story very robust. As you go father into the game you meet more and more people who provide help in different ways. I admit that the idea of “storing” these people on the train that takes you from place to place is a little strange. It kind of makes you wonder what they are doing on the train when you’re off fighting to save the future.

One aspect of Dark Cloud 2 that I found very interesting was the Invention System. Max is the handy type, he does wear overalls after all, and is very bright. So it would only be natural that he would want to come up with some ideas and create or invent things. Well Max can do exactly that and it is handled through the Invention System. It works a little like this: Max has a camera that he can use to take pictures of different objects around the world. If Max combines just the right grouping of pictures together he comes up with an idea that he can then make into a new invention. A good example of this is Max’s very first invention of the power supply for the Ridepod (the Ridepod is a slow but powerful vehicle at Max’s disposal). Max takes pictures of milk cans, a belt and pipes. By joining these three pictures together Max get the “idea” for the power supply and is now able to figure out exactly what materials he needs to create it. Once you gather these materials you can build the power supply and give the Ridepod enough energy to be useful. As Max cruises around the world he gets hints about what kind of pictures he should take to help out with his ideas. While this feature can’t be used to invent whatever the heck you want, it is still a very unique aspect of Dark Cloud.