Wanted Pirate, Called Flint
Your hero in Alundra 2 is a sprightly lad named Flint, a renegade pirate hunter who's apparently a wanted man by the local authorities. Not unlike Zelda's fourth adventure on the Nintendo Gameboy, Flint is washed up on the beach of a small island and restored to full health by the kind local villagers. He's then petitioned by Princess Alexia, who he of course falls instantly in love with, to join her quest to find her father the king and restore him to the throne thus saving the land from the evil Baron von something or other. You'll forgive me if that sounds a bit cynical towards the end, but as a huge fan of the original Alundra with its complex and original and at times disturbing plot, Alundra 2's blatant Japanese Role Playing cliché's really do wear thin. Its not that the story is particularly bad, its just been done before hundreds of times, there's very few surprises unfolded in this tale. The action sections and the storytelling cut-scenes are rendered with the same engine. The backgrounds are bright, clearly detailed and well defined, but the super-deformed style characters aren't quiet so impressive. Their limbs are clumsily constructed and the detail of faces and other textured characteristics are hard to make out. This can make the excruciatingly long, but surprisingly well voiced cut-scenes a painful chore to watch, with the poorly defined on screen actors flop about unconvincingly trying to keep up with the dialog. The camera perspective can be positioned in three fixed places above Flint, making rotating the playing field to get a better view a frequent and frustrating necessity, yet another painful reminder of how elegant the two dimensional Alundra was to play.
The new 3D engine has brought some new puzzle varieties to the game thankfully. Tomb Raider style block pushing puzzles are present, and there's plenty of moving platform sections to test the players reflexes. Thankfully the puzzles in this sequel are nowhere near as tough as the originals mind bendingly complex quests, finishing Alundra 2 without access to an online walkthrough should be easily possible. The developers have clearly acknowledged the criticisms of the first games difficulty level, in this sequel you can choose between normal and easy. The puzzles seem unchanged by this setting, but the enemies are a lot tougher on the normal setting, and the bosses almost invincible. Don't be ashamed to play the game on the more palatable easy setting, it's a far more enjoyable and rewarding experience and certainly no walk-over. Alundra 2's a worthy long term challenge too, the adventure should last well over thirty hours of gameplay and with Flints special attacks, abilities, spells and combo's and a whole bunch of entertaining sub-games to find there's plenty here for even seasoned questers to get their teeth stuck into. Despite the crimes perpetrated onto the classic original Alundra, its still hard not to like Alundra 2. Played entirely on its own merits it's a competent, if slightly predictable action role playing romp with some nice extras and plenty of diversions to keep you amused. The story may well be borrowed directly from many similar adventures, and the gameplay is lifted almost completely from an old Megadrive role player called Landstalker, however there simply aren't enough games of this type on the Playstation to be too fussy about such things. If you've a hankering for less turn based combat, and more action in your role playing, you might want to try Alundra 2.
Fans of the original game would be best to simply forget this is a sequel, they'll probably enjoy it a lot more without the memory of the first game clouding their judgement.
What The Scores Mean
- Out Now