Alundra 2 Review

For PlayStation

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Good
   Alundra 2 is a unique and enjoyable game, but it's not quite good enough 
to make a noticeable bang in the world of RPGs.  The biggest problems with 
the game are its outdated graphics, tedious puzzles, and horribly-designed 
boss battles.
   Alundra 2 has completely polygonal graphics (unlike the original game), 
but they're not well-done polygonal graphics.  The poly counts on the 
characters don't seem to be very high, and in some ways the original game's 
distinct 2D graphics are more attractive than the sequel's.  The character 
models are similar to quality to the three-year-old Final Fantasy 7.  They 
don't look bad, but they do make the game seem older than it actually is.
   I'm not the slightest bit turned off by the fact that Alundra 2 has 
real-time combat rather than the turn-based combat traditionally found in 
most RPGs.  I have fallen in love with lots of action/RPGs over the years 
(including Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore), so I certainly don't 
have a grudge against this kind of game.  The biggest difference between 
Alundra 2 and the aforementioned games is that Alundra 2 has many more 
puzzle elements.  Every single dungeon has tons of puzzles, and after a 
while you just want to get on with the action and story line rather than 
moving a bunch of blocks around to open a door. 
   Unfortunately for the game's long-term depth, the bosses are nowhere 
near as difficult as the puzzles.  I don't like how a lot of the bosses in 
the Final Fantasy series have weak points that can be exploited for easy 
wins.  This is way more out of control in Alundra 2 than it is in any of 
the Final Fantasy games or any other RPG.  The bosses go through the same 
patterns for entire battles, and all you have to do is counter with a 
repetitive pattern of your own.  You can practically close your eyes and 
still beat a boss once you've figured out its weak spot and pattern.  I 
think most gamers will agree that when you're in a boss battle and there's 
no way in hell that you can lose, it's not a very challenging or fun 
   Another big problem with Alundra 2 is its character designs.  The 
personalities of the characters are nicely developed in the story line, but 
they look way too generic.  Even the main character looks like your average
RPG hero with an average-looking sword and an average-looking hairstyle.  
I wish the developers had been a little more original when it came time to 
design the characters.
   The only thing that makes up for all of this game's flaws is the well-
crafted story line.  The story is the most important thing in any RPG, and 
this story is almost good enough to make Alundra 2 a must-have game despite 
its many flaws.  I like how the story line isn't too childish (like 
Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon) or too serious (like Final Fantasy 8).  The 
outdated graphics rear their ugly head in the cut scenes that convey a lot 
of the story line, but the story itself is great.
   I can look past this game's outdated graphics, but it's a lot harder to 
get past the annoying puzzles and easy boss battles, especially when there 
have been so many other good RPGs released in the past year.  Alundra 2 is 
still worth playing all the way through because of the story line alone, 
but only if you have already finished Lunar, Final Fantasy 8, Grandia, and 
Suikoden 2.

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