Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Role-Playing Grind: MagnaCarta 2

First published at October 07, 2o10

The RPG grind continues. Picked up this new for about 15€ and shelled out for the DLC before starting play. 400msp for 240 extra GS and a huge in-game advantage up front. More on that below.

Not technically a JRPG, but the term fails on modern games anyhow. Believe it or not, but there are other countries besides Japan making RPGs with pointy-haired girly-men. Korea is the culprit in this case, so Asian would be more fitting. I now coin you ARPGs, or simply ARGs (Roleplaying is one word no?), and come to think of it, that's the perfect feeling one has when grinding out Trapezohedrons, Unobtanium or similar for that hateful last achievement in a 150 hour game that refuse to end.

So, this ARG have it's ups and aaarghs. I'll break it down in the good, the bad and the ugly:

The good:
- It's not 100+ hours! Even with the DLC and ekstra achievements, the total of 1240 GS is done in roughly 35-40 hours depending on much guidance you choose to use.
- There is practically no grind. None of the bosses or battles offer any type of challenge even when you fly through. If you do take the time to grind some ekstra gold or levels towards skillpoints and items, you'll be overpowered in no time.
- Graphic-wise it's on par with everything else.

The bad:
- It's so generic it hurts. From the story to every little twist, to the awkward dialogue of sighs and moans, the settings and characters, it's very hard to resist just skipping what can be skipped.
- I did just that I admit, after the first few minutes I skipped my first dialogue and was hooked on the timesaver. 40 hours of skipping every dialogue bit, and I still felt I didn't miss out anything storyrelated. That says something about filling up an RPG with hours and hours of spoken dialogue when the story is so predictable and generic you CAN skip it.
- The reason for skipping all that I'm afraid, is that the whole of MagnaCarta 2 is sadly so boring, that I don't think I could have completed it without taking some shortcuts, and using the few video sequences as bathroom breaks and coffee refills.
- Downloading the DLC before you start play will give every character an uberweapon-of-doom that is twice better than the last weapons you find without the DLC, ready for use in the tutorial and onwards. Meaning you'll one-hit-kill EVERYTHING from the tutorials and then on for 20 hours at least. The result is total apathy when it comes to combat, and when you reach the end and are forced to use the combat tricks and combos you learned several days ago, prepare to make irritated googles on tutorial questions.

The ugly:
- Nothing about Magnacarta 2 is really so ugly that it stands out. Then again, nothing ever shines either. The only thing could be that the lower middle screen is filled with your battle meter, of wich you need to keep a very close eye on unless you "overcharge" and go into a cooldown period. I know I can turn it off, but instead I suffered through - whenever a friend logged on, the notice placed itself neatly over the battlemeter to screw your timing and go into cooldown. Another great way to refill the coffee cup.

The Achievements:
- Nothing to it, but with the DLC you are looking at some serious collecting and tracking of stuff. Complete all missions, find all weapons for all characters, and some other easier collectables. Nothing bad, but unless you track everything throughout, you are likely to miss one thing and screw everything. The rest is either story related achievements, and some skill allocation ones. For an ARG this bland, I actually commend it for a good achievement setup. Any misteps here would simply rocket the whole experience into oblivion.

To sum up, easy on the ride, easy on the eyes, easy on the challenge, easy on the time, and easily boring.

Updated: A few spelling oddities and a mention of the now amusing battlemeter / friend logged on clash.

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