Monday, 28 October 2013

7th Dragon 2020 II

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 7.8

(+) Pros: - Overhauled to feel even MORE stylish than before, - Classes for all characters have received tweaks, - New Idol class for those looking for new play styles, - Even more select-able voices than the first game, - New music is badass, old music is still badass, - Combat and dungeon crawling still remain fantastic, - A lot more challenging, even for veteran players, - Still has an amazing amount of content packed in.

(-) Cons: - Feels very similar to the previous game, - Some maps and bosses are recycled from the first game, - Still retains most of the problems from the first game.

Gameplay time: 30-40 hours 

Remember "7th Dragon 2020"? It was a game I reviewed a few months back. Being a dungeon crawler with your own customizable party, I was immediately sold, and I wanted to see what the game could offer. Of course, you all knew how it went, I loved it, and it was one of the better games the PSP had to offer. It had undeniable charm, simple but solidly presented gameplay, and a lengthy campaign with a great deal of content, enough to please even the hard core players who play the game to reach 100% completion (like me). I didn't expect a second game, but since it existed, it could only mean that I would throw myself into the fray once more.

The story takes place after the events of the first game. A year has passed, making the year 2021. The 13th (Thats you) squad has still remained faithful to Murakumo, and things have been running along smoothly. However, a sudden emergency transmission could only mean that monsters have started to appear, and in what better place for an attack than Tokyo Tower? Our heroes rush there, only to find a new menace that could once again threaten the very existence of mankind. Kirino, the leader of Murakumo, was heavily wounded, both physically and mentally, and was no longer fit for command. With the appearance of dragons taking over Japan once again, its up to the Murakumo's 13th squad to defeat all the dragons and save the day.


If you don't know the nature of "7th Dragon 2020", I'll briefly explain it. Its similar to most RPG turn based dungeon crawlers out there. You get to create your own characters, you add them to a party, and you're good to go. At any time throughout the game in your room, you may create even more characters of different classes, and you can swap them in or out of your current party, which can only hold 3 characters. You then explore dungeons, either for the purpose of the story or to fulfill the requests of Shizuka, the new side quest giver. In these dungeons, you fight monsters....or dragons, the hefty overlords that reside in every dungeon in the game.

In "7th Dragon 2020", the game was ridiculously stylish in many ways, especially in its presentation of the world, its characters and the overall theme. It retains that feel here in "7th Dragon 2020 II", and then some. Sure for the veterans, it remains mostly the same, but the design of the characters and world is just too good to not take notice, even if its my second visit to the game's world. The new Murakumo HQ is just filled with awesomeness, and while the entire office building setting was cool, taking refuge in the new Diet Building was quite a treat.

The new Idol class is a lot of fun.

Now for one of the main juicy parts of the game, character creation. Like in any similar dungeon crawler, you get to create a group of characters that vary from different classes. While most of the classes have been brought over from the first game, they have received tweaks here and there. Some classes that were considered weak or under powered had their numbers brought up, or were just given new skills overall (Samurai, Hacker), while some others just remained the same with some of their numbers brought down (Destroyer, Trickster). However, the main meat here is the new class, Idol.

The Idol plays very differently from other classes. Think of them as offensive hackers, without the same level of supportive abilities or sabotaging feats. They rely on making the entire party move, and while they can give out buffs of their own altitude, the good ones usually have negative side effects. They can do damage on their own, but in the end, like the Hacker, they depend on the team rather them themselves (unlike Destroyers and Samurais). Seiyuu variety has also been brought up quite a notch, a little bit more than the first game could offer, which is always welcome (I finally get Kana Hanazawa and Kanae Ito as voices for my characters!).

Die crab!

The OST was one of the many great things about "7th Dragon 2020", and its a good thing that they brought back the music, especially the "Versus Rival" theme (honestly if you've never heard it, you're missing out). While the old music is still incredibly relevant in this second game, the new music introduced to the second game is also badass as all hell. With dubstep in the dragon encounter theme, it just escalates the intensity of the fight 10 fold! 

Turn based combat is still pretty  fun, as you train and level up your characters. SP is attained from defeated monsters, bosses, or by completed Shizuka's requests, and you can use these to upgrade your skills or learn new ones. Like before, most of the skills look great when used in combat, and all this translates into a bigger picture. As you defeat dragons while roaming the many dungeons in the game, you get DZ, a currency which you use to further upgrade your facilities in the Murakumo HQ. This is a system similar to that in the first game. Upgrading facilities improve your combat experience overall, with better, weapons, skills and much more. You even get to toggle Diva mode again, aka, Miku music.

Oho, two dead party members on turn 3? You're screwed.

"7th Dragon 2020" was a hard game, I'm glad to report "7th dragon 2020 II" is even harder! This may be a huge slap in the face for newcomers (that's just the kind of game this is), but veterans might find this to be pretty awesome. I found the increase in difficulty to be a great challenge, the new dragons are incredibly powerful (Tiamat is a ridiculous first boss) and they made some of the returning dragons stronger. The main campaign is pretty lengthy, slighter longer than the first game if I had to compare, and with the side quests PLUS post game content, I'd say that there's a lot to keep everyone going.

F**k this level bro.

While I really enjoyed myself with "7th Dragon 2020 II", maybe even more so than the first game, it goes without saying that most of this game feels a little bit recycled from the first. More than half of the maps are from the first game, with just the layout and the monsters in it changing slightly. Out of the seven main dragon bosses, 3 of them are old bosses. It even retains the problems which the first game had. Its a different game overall, but you feel like bits and pieces of it here and there are pretty damn similar. When you take that into account, its hard to give this game a higher rating than the first.

As a sequel, I'd say "7th Dragon 2020 II" does its job well. It could have been a lot more, but as it stands its still a very fun JRPG dungeon crawling experience that very few other ones can match. It has charm of its own, and the new class helps, but I feel that it needs more if the series wants to continue growing. In its current state, it does a good job, but any more of the same and it might get stale.

Happy gaming!