Sunday, December 27, 2015

Game Review: The Legend of Dark Witch 2

2D Action Platformer; 3DS eShop; Inside System/CIRCLE Entertainment; 2015
Merry Christmas Everyone who isn't Charlie Brown. Did you all have a good time on a holiday that has little to do with it's origins and is instead a means for various companies to milk money out of culturally mandated love and affection? For me, I just received a few games that I kind of wanted but not really and got some things that I didn't really need but was neat to have, and I got the next volume of Spice and Wolf. Anyway, here is a review of a game that I didn't know existed until last week: The Legend of Dark Witch 2. For those of you who don't know I reviewed The Legend of Dark Witch last year (Here is a Link) and it was a Mega Man clone that had it's DNA spliced with Gradius. Now it's sequel is here and is it better than the original, or is it just the same? This is The Legend of Dark Witch Episode 2 -The Price of Desire-.

Must be Japanese, there isn't a single guy in the entire shot.
Syega. Crystals with immense magical power that has become the cornerstone for humanity's magical development. It is no stretch of the imagination to say that a nation's military might can be measured by the amount of Syega they hold and the advancements that their magical sciences. That is why the actions of the nation of Genma have become so suspicious. A large number of Genma's top researchers and magical experts have been sent to a neighboring nation to conduct experiments in secret. No one knows what Genma's intentions are, but Zizou, the Dark Witch and god of magic is intent on finding out.

Like the first game the story to this outing is more or less just a reason for the action to take place. There is quite a bit of lore and several returning characters from the first game (including one of the bosses being the same between the two games and even giving the same power), so if you are really interested in the story there is that. But for the most part it's fairly forgettable even with the several interactions between the heroes and bosses.

MY GOD! A ghost cat warrior!
Much like the first game, Dark Witch 2's inspirations are very obvious from the moment you boot up the game. The entire game is a cross between Mega Man and Gradius, where you run, jump, and shoot your way through 8 stages (which you can choose which order to go in) to fight a boss and ultimately obtain their weapon. That's the Mega Man half of the game the Gradius half comes from the game's upgrade system where as you defeat enemies you will pick up Tres, which serve as the game's currency as well as fills up an upgrade bar at the bottom of the screen, once filled to a certain point you can spend it to upgrade that aspect (such as speed, a glide, or your various shots). There are also hidden within each stage 4 Pure Syegas, crystals that can only be revealed after you shot or touched it's location. These not only serve as collectables for more invested players, but they can also be used to upgrade Zizou's abilities. Giving her new Upgrade options or allowing her more upgrade tiers to each aspect (IE more speed, longer glide distance, more powerful shots). New to this game is the Revenge gauge which can be used to unleash a massive attack but can only be charged by taking damage. Also a new "Concentration" gauge has been added to limit the use of different powers by consuming differing portions of the gauge.

Nya! Nya! Nya! Nya! Nya!
Unfortunately the game isn't perfect. Much like the game that inspired it, Legend of Dark Witch 2 definitely has a Mega Man sequel vibe. It is largely the same as the first game with many of the issues of it's predecessor unaddressed with a few new issues. The level design is still a little on the bland side with a lot of the stages lacking any kind of unique flair that truly makes it stand out from the others. The amount of screen visible is too little causing you to be hit by enemies coming in from off screen without ample time to react. You own shots often cover up incoming enemies fire making some shots invisible until you get hit. And lastly, while the harsh difficulty of the first game has been address with new health pick-ups mid stage (which REALLY help the boss rush at the end of the game), it almost feels like the pendulum was swung way too far to the easy side, with Bosses being stun-locked to death by using their weakness and the Revenge move draining almost ALL of their life. True, this was on the game's "Normal" difficulty and there are two harder difficulty levels that I haven't tried yet, but it does feel a little TOO easy overall.

Much like the first game Legend of Dark Witch 2 is a fun little game that sets itself apart, not by trying to be something different, but rather by combining two of the most well known and successful video game franchises into one, and doing a damn fine job of it. It's not fantastic, and it still needs some work, especially on the level design aspect of the game. But it's cute, charming, and most of all a fun little indie game that I'm sure fans of Mega Man can enjoy... Now all we have to do is wait for Mighty No. 9 to FINALLY be released. The Legend of Dark Witch Episode 2 is Recommended.

Until Next Time.

-CRES, There a fetish for that.

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