As anyone will tell you, I like me a good old school RPG. Which isn't quite what Magna Carta 2 is. It kind of feels like another iteration of a single player RPG trying to emulate how an MMO works. You run around the various areas, and when you come upon an enemy, you hit a button to enter combat mode, at which point, whatever character you have selected as the leader, is under your control, and the other two characters are in the hands of the computer. You select and perform your attacks in real time, and you can switch between characters at any point. This has a slightly different twist on the classic formula, by giving you a stamina bar, every action you perform fills up the stamina bar, fill it up completely, and then you get a few seconds to perform attacks in an overcharge mode where you deal more damage, once that's complete, however, you overheat, and can't move for a short while, as well as not being able to attack for a longer while. This gets a little frustrating, but they do offset it by allowing you to perform a "chain" where if you enter overdrive, and use a special attack, it will make that character "chain ready" switching to another character at that point will carry over the overdrive status, and if that character can fill up their stamina bar and perform a special attack, it will cause "a chain break" which resets both character's stamina bars. The system works, but there are a few frustrations, first most regular enemies don't last long enough for you to perform a chain break, second, a lot of the time, no one else on your party will fill their stamina bars up very far, so you simply won't be able to fill up their stamina bar in the time you get.
The story is nothing special, there's a war, with a murdered royal family, and an exiled princess who is determined to win the war on the battlefield single-handed. The main character is an amnesiac badass that doesn't know what to fight for. There's an ancient hero who sacrificed himself to save the world. All very generic stuff. The character designs are interesting, but you don't really seem to get a lot of time to admire them, since you're always focused on the combat.
There's an equipment modification system, where you can attach certain stat boosts to your weapons, and a skill system where you assign points to various skills for each character based on which weapon stance you want them to use (each character has two), I would have preferred if they simply gave you one skill upgrade point per level, and just made everything cost one point, as opposed to everything costing different amounts, and you only get 10 or so points per level, which is fine at first, but it takes a long time to save up for that super attack that costs 100. There's a quest system which is pretty much ripped straight out of Warcraft, where you see people with exclamation marks above their heads, and they'll give you random quests which will net you money, experience, and/or items.
Basically, Magna Carta is a pretty average JRPG, it's not bad, but it's not spectacular, and with the glut of high quality AAA games that are coming out over the next few months, and that are already out, including Final Fantasy XIII and Resonance of Fate (the latest Tri-Ace game) and White Knight Chronicles, which has finally given me a reason to want to buy a PS3, I just feel the need to complete it right now. In all likelihood, I will go back and give it another try at a later date, but for now, it just doesn't have a lot to keep me interested in going forward. No eye blistering special attacks, jaw dropping cinematics, or awe inspiring locations. All things that I've come to expect from my JRPGs.
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