Last year, we got ourselves a nice little dungeon crawler that was surprisingly deep in RPG elements with a neat action combat feel. That game was NIS’s ClaDun: This is an RPG! Now, we get our hands on the new version of that game ClaDun X2. NIS is touting X2 as a ClaDun game with two times the content. Does it live up to this claim? Let’s find out.
In ClaDun X2, you create your character that has entered the world of Arcanus Cella, a mystical land full of dungeons, monsters, and adventure. It’s an explorer’s paradise. There is only one problem: if you ever make it to Arcanus Cella, you can never leave. You are stuck there forever.
Your main character will recruit other party members that the player can create. The player can customize pretty much anything they want for the character, all the way down to the eye color. It’s actually pretty extensive for a 16-bit game. You can even choose how the characters act, and what relation they have to other party members.
The game is all about the dungeons. You will enter a dungeon, kill some monsters, find some treasure, and reach an exit. Some dungeon floors will only take you seconds to complete. In fact, there is even a target time for completing each floor. You will run into all kinds of monsters and enemies in the dungeons. They all have different stats and different styles of attacks. Depending on what equipment you have, you can run, jump, attack, use abilities/magic, and slide your way to the end of the area.
When not in a dungeon, you are back in the town. Here, you can gather information on the villagers, buy and sell new weapons and armor, create and customize characters, and enter random dungeons.
Random dungeons are the places you want to go to get the top tier items and to power level your party up to the max. In random dungeons, you can choose to either leave the floor and go deeper, or leave the dungeon altogether. By going deeper, you will enter certain gates that may ease your exploring by healing your party, making the monsters weaker, and many other things. Then again, there are some gates that will do almost the opposite.
The magic circles make their return from the first game. For those of you who don’t know, magic circles are what power up your main character. You only use one party member in a dungeon. The rest of your party are basically shields for the main character. Each character has magic circles that the player can place party members in, using a specific order. Each area will have slots connecting to it. These slots are where the player will place artifacts that will buff up the main character’s stats. So if I have “Bucky” as the main character and his magic circle allows for one extra party member, I can place “Arnie” in that area.
The slots for that area allow for a defense and attack artifact. I can place a DEF artifact in the slot and Bucky’s defense will go up +2, but I can only place enough artifacts in slots that my sub-character will allow through mana. So if Arnie only has 4 mana, and the defense artifact requires 3 mana while the attack artifact requires 2 mana, I can only place one artifact in the slots. Make sense? And yes, those are the names of my characters. The magic circle is very complex, and you are always experimenting with new magic circles your characters learn through leveling up and with the new artifacts you find and buy from the store.
This time around, there is no real direct multiplayer. This saddens me, but I think it was for the best. The first game’s multiplayer was on the laggy side more times than not. But, all is not lost. You can still trade character models, custom music, and other user generated stuff with your friends via Ad Hoc. Let me just say, you can pretty much customize anything and everything in this game. You can even create your own animations for weapons, and create personal music to listen to while in the dungeons. There’s a lot to be had in the customization field.
When NIS said there was two times the amount of stuff in the game, they weren’t kidding. There’s more classes, more weapons, more magic circles, more spells, more everything. There’s a ton of new stuff in the game, but I still can only really see this as more of an expansion of the first game than an actual sequel. The game play stays the same for the most part, the default music is even the same, and the story seemed to take a backseat in X2. Granted, the story of the first ClaDun was crazy and ridiculous at times, but at least it was there and kept me entertained. This time around, I just don’t feel you’re connected with the story at all. Now, don’t get me wrong, ClaDun X2 is as just as enjoyable as the first game, but it just doesn’t feel like enough changed to warrant a full on sequel.
Just like with the first game, ClaDun X2 is a really fun game. If you’re into RPGs or action RPGs you really need to check this out, especially if you never played the first game. For those of you who have played the first game, if you’re looking for more ClaDun action, you will get your fix right here, but keep in mind, if you were looking for a brand new experience, you may be a little disappointed. Still, Cladun is such an awesome game in and of itself that you’ll still have a really fun time with X2.
Review copy provided by publisher.