There are some games out there that are funny. Then there are games that just try to be funny. Then, there’s Grotesque Tactics 2: Dungeons and Doughnuts, a game that tries to be funny and fails big time.
Grotesque Tactics 2 is a tactical, grid-based, strategy RPG/dungeon crawler, or at least that’s what it claims to be. The game features a party of characters that you control and in turn-based fashion take on enemies on a gird until one of the two parties is left standing. This is true; it does at least play like a strategy game. How well does it play? Well about as well as it delivers humor.
You play as Drake, an “emo” hero in a world that is covered in a deadly fog that forces its inhabitants underground. Drake, along with a few other stereotypical party members, try to start up a guild in the underground. They have to compete against mercenaries, elves, and another guild full of ditzy women lead by an eccentric, egotistical “ladies man.” Yeah, it’s going to be one of THOSE games.
So, the game is a strategy/dungeon crawling game. There has to be quests, right? Oh, yeah, there’s a ton of quests. There are quests that lead you to other quests that you have to finish before completing the first quests. I swear, I was on a multi-pattern quest that had me doing 5 things at once just to open a door. Going through a dungeon just to find a locked door and having to go all the way back to where I started is not my idea of fun, especially when the combat is as boring as it is in this game.
The combat, like I stated above, is a grid-based strategy RPG. You can attack, defend and use mana consuming special abilities. These abilities are nothing special. They sometimes allow you to hit multiple targets or buff your stats for a few turns. It’s very basic. The biggest problem with the combat is that when you run into an enemy, the battle begins. When not in combat, you are controlling Drake, while the AI controls your party members. You hold down the left mouse button to walk. What ends up happening is Drake will pull ahead of your party members, and will run into an enemy. The battle begins and Drake is all by himself because he pulled too far away his party members. Now you get to spend 2 turns moving your other party members to the actual battle while Drake is trying to handle a fight on his own.
You gain experience points both individually, based on how made the kill, and as a party. You even get experience for just attacking enemies. When leveling up, you gain points to spend in a skill tree. The tree is not very complex, and you really don’t see that many benefits from adding points to certain skills. You can buy, find and acquire new weapons, armor, and accessories to equip, adding to your stats and attributes; once again, very standard.
The story is-well, you can guess how the story is by reading the description of the characters. Drake is the goofy voice of reason, a the stereotypical black guy that likes to hit on women, the ditzy blonde woman that loves candy and the sexual deviant undead chick that craves human flesh. It’s fully voice acted and you can tell even the voice actors were bored. The humor falls flat on its face and never even got a chuckle out of me; maybe a smirk once. They even go as far as to make fun of Final Fantasy XIII by having a character named Hope have you go on a quest to find him a new mother because a hero killed his first mom. Ugh.
Another wonderful feature I encountered with the game is the lack of translation in the dialog choices. Yes, there are dialog choices in the game that were never translated from German to English, so you’re stuck with a choice of “Translation not Available.” I’m not kidding. Also, for some odd reason, the mouse cursor is really floaty. It makes navigating menus and other controls very difficult to pinpoint to the point of frustration.
What can I really say about Grotesque Tactics 2? The story is lame, the quests are long and boring, the combat is shallow and it really does become a chore to play after just a couple of hours. Truth be told, the combat while annoying at times, does work and works well. The game is at least not broken in that aspect. It’s very simplistic and newcomers to the strategy genre won’t have too much trouble understanding the combat. Other than that, I’d steer clear of this game.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher.