Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Magna Carta 2

Enter the world of Lanzheim, a beautifully rendered world from a Korean development group. Magna Carta 2 is the third in the series, and is exclusive for the XBox360.

The good: Beautiful graphics. The world is rendered lush and the characters in the story are very stylish, though the style and modeling of the characters takes a little while to get used to. Effects such as spells are quite dazzling in their own right, but it might take a few playthroughs to see all their skills. The cinematic scenes are well rendered and interesting, but not too many to take away from the game.

The music, while not stellar, is of good quality and appropriate to the mood. From the quiet nature town of Cota Mare to the battlefields of Dunan Hill, the music matches quite well and doesn't get too repetitive. The sound is also of high quality.

The game play is quite absorbing, though at times one can feel the battling getting stale. Encounters occur in real-time, so no sudden random encounter battles from other RPGS such as early Final Fantasy games. There is some challenge overall, but this has more to do with trekking across wide stages without getting to save (sometimes 45min between such). While not unusual for RPGS, it makes playing in discrete chunks more difficult.

The story overall is about as standard as one can get for an RPG. Amnesiac hero. Check. Displaced princess. Check. Overly perky sidekick. Check. In fact they could have renamed it "Basic Elements of Japanese RPGS." This isn't to say the story is bad, but it is rather predictable (although there was one twist I did not expect). On the bright side, I felt that the game had very powerful pro-life tones.

The moral: Overall I was very pleased with the story from a pro-life perspective. While it does trip at the finsh line with a reference to relativism, the games conveys a sense that all life is precious, and that the forced sacrifice of some for the benefit of all is not right. There is also touching moments where the origin of one character is from immoral circumstances (according to what is possible in the world), and this character requires both redemption and validation that the character has worth despite how the character came to be.

Some mild language, provacative costumes for some of the female characters (apparently good women don't wear much clothing), and violent imagery (though no blood or gore if memory serves).

My rating: 8.0 - Teens and up.

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