Lost Kingdoms II Review
When I first turned on Lost Kingdoms II, I was greeted by a welcome screen reminiscent of the later Playstation games. Sure, they were great in their time but now all but a few classics are considered fairly bland and with poor music quality. Trying hard to remain optimistic about the game, I ignored these and moved on to start a new game.
I was pleasantly surprised that the opening CGI scene was well done. The graphics were smooth and the sound was excellent. I basked in these moments of Activision's goodness, only to be rudely awakened by the actual game.
The first thing I noticed was the clunky controls. Controlling the main character was very awkward - it didn't seem natural at all. If anything, I felt like I was pulling her around like a puppet master, more than actually being and guiding her. Things quickly started to look grim for the overall quality of this game.
As I started to move around more and turn, I realized that I wasn't far off in thinking this game was going to be poor. The camera system was done awfully. Not awfully well, just awfully. Instead of the camera intuitively following you around wherever you move, it laughs in your face and tells you to move it yourself. Whenever you move, you have to hold down 'R' or 'L', depending on which way you turn, to adjust the camera to the right place. And if you try and adjust the camera while your back is against the wall, things gets very ugly.
One thing I was greatly disappointed by was the fact that there were very few instances of voice acting in the game. Only the occasional important character would have a few voiced lines. Even then, those were poorly done. I felt like I was listening to words fed into a computer to be recited, not someone living the part as it should be done.
The music and sound effects in the game weren't very good, either. The background music sounded more like a midi file than anything else. It made the adventure I was supposed to embark on seem all too feeble. Then the sound effects were poorly done. They were low quality and just seemed to repeat themselves over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. In the end, I decided to turn off my sound and play some Queen over my stereo to keep my ears from exploding from the poor quality of the game's sound.
The graphics, while surprisingly well done in the CGI scenes, were otherwise just mediocre. They weren't absolutely terrible, or anything, they just didn't blow me away. It reminded me a lot of looking at Final Fantasy IX. Their graphics are pretty much comparable. They really could have done more with the characters and details, but what they did do sat pretty well with me as I played and explored the lands.
The poorly conceived battle system was what bothered me the most. Instead of traditional turn-style or live battling found in most RPGs, they did a card system. This might sound cool, fresh, and original at first, but it was very hard to learn.
Within just a minute of starting the game, you are already thrust into several battles that sometimes you just don't want to be in. Now, had they had someone explain to you all the mechanics of the new-fangled system, things might be better. Unfortunately, they didn't. I was forced to try and guess what all the four symbols on my screen meant, what they did, and how I started them.
Starting them was easy enough. Just pushing 'A', 'B', 'X', or 'Y' will activate a certain card. Unfortunately, each card does a different thing. I didn't know what any of them did, so I just started hitting a few buttons to see what happened. I later grew accustomed to it and started to match the cards to what I had seen them do in previous battles, but there was just not enough help from the game in doing that. It would have been much better, as I said earlier, if they had bothered to put a short tutorial in earlier.
All in all, I was glad I had the chance to shut off my Gamecube when I felt I had gone far enough in this game. If I did not love this site so much, I would not have put myself through that torture device for as long as I did. In short - it's not even worth the $10 that game stores are selling it for now. Buy something more worthwhile for your money.