|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SoftMax||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 13, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Despite its often uninspiring plot and its clinginess to cut-and-paste RPG standards, this game is definitely a looker. Korean artist Hyung-Tae Kim's character designs are spectacular, breathing a lot of visual life and personality into the protagonists and villains. Though they're not quite as captivating, the environments vary nicely and locations are packed with some impressive design flourishes. Additionally, the cinematic cutscenes are absolutely gorgeous. You'll have to put up with a bunch of spiky hair androgynous riffraff throughout the game, but these stunning animations almost make up for it.
During important character dialogue sequences, the conversing characters appear in full detail in the foreground while the in-game scene is blurred out slightly in the background. This stylish approach is a big step up from simple text and talking heads that's common in the genre. Dialogue is hit-or-miss. The voice work is tolerable at some moments, but it often comes across as over acted and awkwardly cheesy.
For all of its beauty and complexity, MagnaCarta 2 borrows so heavily from many overused RPG elements and clichés that the truly intriguing and fresh aspects of this grand journey don't shine nearly as brightly as they should. A fulfilling combat system and slick visuals certainly make the experience more enjoyable, though they're not enough to tip the scale.
All these niggling factors amount to a solid game that's just nowhere near as exciting you want it to be. By failing to really set itself apart and stand out from other major RPGs, MagnaCarta 2 risks being lost in the shuffle. There are better RPGs out there and there are worse. That's the problem.
CCC Staff Contributor