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Magnacarta 2 review

Solid
AT A GLANCE
  • Simple, effective mechanics
  • Decent borrowed ideas
  • Real-time combat
  • A husk of a world
  • No Japanese voice options
  • A by-the-numbers JRPG

Take an amnesiac hero who discovers his true inner power within the first hour, a sprawling world ripped apart by warring factions, a twee supporting cast with surprisingly clear gender distinctions (in true ‘JRPG’ fashion the girls all have child’s faces surgically implanted onto adult bodies) and a cast of amateur voice actors. Enchanted Arms? Infinite Undiscovery? No, this one’s Magnacarta 2.

The hook here is the combat. Like Infinite Undiscovery, fights occur in real time. Left trigger toggles between movement and combat modes, where attacks and signature techniques are mapped to face buttons. Scraps come close to action-adventure territory, but limitations, such as cool-down times for overenthusiastic attackers, prevents total genre abandonment. Though fun at first the discovery of chain links and chain breaks (the ability to replenish party stamina by switching between your trio to send multiple characters into overheat mode) makes battles very one-note, even when the various combinations are factored in.

The rest is nothing new. Sure, magic’s called ‘Kan’ and money is ‘Sid’, but everything else in RPG land is as you remember it. Not that the borrowing malarkey is all bad. Remember Final Fantasy VII’s materia? Softmax has squeezed a similar idea into the equipment enhancement system. Weapons have associated Kamond boards with slots for upgrades, and though the super-simplified skill trees and the chain systems are basic enough for genre virgins to grasp with ease, the potential for combo-tinkering will please even the most indoctrinated RPG connoisseurs. A shame then that the world itself is so hard to care about. Incongruous cut-scenes tell a confusing tale in desperate need of editing for clarification purposes, ruined further by truly abysmal character design.

While Magnacarta’s tale is uninteresting, its stolen ideas do evoke memories of better role-players past. For that reason it’s a ‘lite’ RPG still worth a go while there are no better examples of the genre on the horizon, but only if you’ve already exhausted the alternatives.

Oct 13, 2009

More Info

Release date: Oct 13 2009 - Xbox 360 (US)
Oct 16 2009 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: SoftMax
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
16+

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7 comments

  • Backfire001 - November 12, 2009 2:48 a.m.

    Lost odyessyyyyyy.....
  • Craza - October 23, 2009 4:36 a.m.

    There's also Star Ocean and Eternal Sonata. So that's four so far that I think were pretty good... I did kind of like Last Remnant, but Eternal Sonata kept my interest more than Last Remnant.
  • Craza - October 23, 2009 4:32 a.m.

    I really liked Blue Dragon as well. Sad thing is, is that it's just one of a very few good JRPG's on the 360. But, don't forget Tales of Vesperia. That was pretty damned good, too.
  • gambit13 - October 16, 2009 10:28 p.m.

    I picked this game up recently and so far so good. If you want a good JRPG pick up Blue Dragon. There is hours of gameplay and it's your traditional RPG. It has a cheap price and its fun.
  • zayleffein - October 13, 2009 10:25 p.m.

    @ Magical, I agree completely. I think we are all waiting patiently for XIII. As for this game... it looks alright but the standard of graphics nowadays pretty much guarantees any game will look pleasant at least, the uninteresting story loses me completely.
  • Maxstats69 - October 13, 2009 10:07 p.m.

    The JRPG genre is dead. No one is trying to do anything different. Western RPG developers are trying new and different ideas and seem to make customization a number one priority. JRPG developers are doing the same thing now that was being done on the snes 15 years ago. It's time to move forward people.....
  • MagicalSarai - October 13, 2009 10 p.m.

    Dang... they keep trying and failing to bring a decent JRPG to the 360. I mean, yes The Last Remanent and Infinite Undiscovery were good, but I'm still waiting patiently for FFXIII... I have very good feelings about it and it's actually coming to the 360 which is a major stroke of luck. I may rent this game in the future, but for now I'm happy with Brutal Legend.

Showing 1-7 of 7 comments

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