|a game by||Activision, and Working Designs|
|Editor Rating:||5.9/10, based on 3 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.3/10 - 8 votes|
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You are Flint, a renegade swordsman who is seeking revenge on the pirates who killed your mother. Alexia, the Princess of Varuna, seeks you out to help with her quest to save her father, the king. He has been abducted and replaced with a wooden puppet under the control of a sinister Baron. In an epic struggle between good and evil, you will fight pirates, strange beasts, evil sorcerers, and solve challenging puzzles to save the realm and its king.
Alundra 2 is an action role-playing game with a nice dose of puzzle-solving and is leaps and bounds better than the original Alundra. The gameplay is better, more controllable and more interesting visually, and the story is far more engaging. Overall, it boils down to some leveling up and character development as well as a lot of puzzles based on moving and stacking blocks. I must say that the big irritation in this game is its lack of being a sequel -- while it is called Alundra 2, it has nothing at all in common with its predecessor. The dream-warrior Alundra isn’t even in the game and nothing is carried over -- the game really bears little resemblance to its predecessor. I felt a little let down that this wasn’t actually a sequel at all.
Being an Action RPG there are a fair number of puzzles in Alundra 2. In general I didn’t find any of them very difficult or obtuse. The puzzles consist of "hit the switch and run" or "stack the boxes" type puzzles. Although they were neat, none of them had me pulling my hair out, and that really disappointed me. I never considered myself good at those types of puzzles and generally miss the big hints on how to complete them. But no puzzle in this game even had me worried.
I was very impressed with the level design in this game. The dungeon layout and graphical quality are quite good. In general I didn’t have any problems angling the camera to get a better view of things. There are a few opacity problems with the moving camera but most of those were minor and rare. In addition to good level design, I found that the boss fights were pretty decent too. They were pretty hard in Normal difficulty mode, but not impossible. For the most part you will die one or two times just trying to master the Boss’ attack pattern and then be able to pummel them mercilessly. The main issue with Boss fights and regular monster encounters is that they take a long time and they are difficult for artificial reasons. For instance, in one fight I got locked in a room and had to kill the bad guys, but they shot fire that seemed to hit me from five feet away, not the distance from which they were actually firing.
There are a number of points in the game when you get to play a sort of mini-game. These mini-games are really fun. Some examples are a rail-cart type race that runs down the circular stairway away from a big nasty boss monster and Casino games where you can win special medals, collectible prizes or ultra-rare items. The only complaint that I have is that I haven’t found a way to replay any of them (except playing darts, which doesn’t really count as a minigame).
Graphics & Audio
While the voice acting is really quite good (as well as the translation), the music left a lot to be desired. I just got tired of listening to it. It wasn’t bad, but it just never did its job to add to the ambience of the game.
The graphics are pretty good for a Playstation game -- the system just does not have the power for really good 3D rendering. However, Contrail managed to pull off some decent animations and characters within those limitations.
If you are into the Action/RPG genre, this game is a must have. I was really impressed with the overall quality of the game as well as the translation job that Activision did with the script -- the dialogue was actually funny and always made sense, a serious problem with many translations of games that were originally done in Japanese. Alundra 2 is a solid game, a lot of fun, and is well worth purchasing.
Download Alundra 2
One of the first real Action/RPGs on the PlayStation in the U.S. was Working Designs' translation of Alundra. Crafted by some of the same people who worked on Genesis titles like Landstalker, it was an instant hit amongst RPG fans. Matrix Software and Contrail (the developer behind games like Wild Arms) have come together to craft the sequel, coming to the U.S. from Activision.
Gone are the 2D graphics of the original; they're replaced by a 3D world. If you're thinking this is a straight sequel to the first--it's not. Flint replaces Alundra as the main character, and the dreamwalking concept has been replaced by more straightforward action/RPG gameplay. When Flint finds out that an evil force is turning people into wind-up slaves, he and the princess Alexia take them on. Of course, there's an army of wind-up warriors and bosses just waiting for a good fight. The game's 10 bosses range from a psychotic wind-up cat, to a raging bull and other beastly burdens. But as in the first game, there's a pattern to their attacks.
Gameplay is much like the first--dungeons filled with puzzles. Some are obvious, some not so obvious (or frustratingly so). You'll have to throw switches, set off bombs and light candles to pass through. Since it's in 3D now, you'll also find yourself manipulating the camera quite a bit to get just the right angle on the action (you can also zoom in and out for better views).
Instead of the overworld from the first game, you travel to different areas via a world map, and eventually you will free a friend who'll help you get around. It's estimated that there's a good 40-50 hours of pure RPG gamin' fun to be had here, with over two hours of cutscenes and more than 60 hidden items. There are four types of spells, and you can summon elementals for each (kinda like FFVIII's Guardian Forces, but on a smaller scale).
Activision is preparing a new intro to the game for the U.S. release that was not in the original japanese release. They've also added an "easy" difficulty setting to make it less frustrating.
- MANUFACTURER - Contrail/Matrix
- THEME - Action/RPG
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
I was a big fan of the first Alundra. The story was interesting, the sprite-based graphics were beautiful, and the dungeons contained challenging, yet nonfrustrating puzzles. But as a sequel, Alundra 2 is disappointing in all three of those aspects. First, it has very little to do with the first Alundra. Instead of fighting in the dreams of others, the not-as interesting story of Alundra 2 features a more cartoonlike plot and setting, which takes a while to develop. Flint, the main protagonist, just isn't very interesting, nor is the main plot. You never feel any kind of attachment to the characters. Second, the graphic engine has made the switch to full 3D--not necessarily a bad thing--but the charm and appeal of the first game is lost in the transition. The control is ultraloose, and it's too easy to accidentally run into enemies and take hits. Finally, the puzzles that made Alundra fun aren't nearly as challenging here. The game does have its good points. The voice acting is well done (performed by some of the same actors who voiced MGS) and there are plenty of interesting and useful power-ups. The music is also well composed and fits the lighthearted style of the game. But ultimately, there's nothing here that's new or innovative. As a 3D action-RPG, this game isn't too bad. As a sequel, Alundra 2 disappoints.
Disappointing. That's the best way to describe this in-name-only sequel. The majority of the dungeon puzzles are uninspired, consisting mostly of standing on switches. Another problem is the collision detection, which is not nearly as tight as it should be. You'll often find yourself fighting against the camera while trying to avoid an enemy. Combine this with poor controls and you have yourself one average action-RPG.
This one started out slow, but it began to grow on me. Sure, it doesn't have anything to do with the first Alundra, but it's not bad as a stand-alone action-RPG. The camera was hard to negotiate at times, especially during the boss battles when it becomes fixed (no true analog control doesn't help matters either). But despite the problems, the interesting dungeons and colorful graphics make Alundra 2 worth checking out.
One wonders why they bothered to name it Alundra 2, instead of starting a new franchise. Almost nothing has carried over from its predecessor. Regardless of that, Alundra 2 is not a bad game at all. The story is somewhat interesting and the dungeons are laid out so that it offers a decent challenge. It's too bad the controls are unintuitive (why no full analog control?) and the collision detection is way off. Not great, but not bad.