By: Joe Rolfe
releasing a simple puzzle game and a myriad of poor sports
titles, Sony really doesn't have much to be proud of on their
very own PlayStation 2. The future for the gaming juggernaut,
however, looks bright. With multiple quality 1st party games
on tap for 2001 from under the publishing label of Sony, PS2's
daddy appears as though the New Year should treat them kindly.
Part of this plan, though, is their upcoming action/adventure,
Dark Cloud. Despite being one of the first PS2 titles shown
with real footage over a year ago, the SCEA-developed hack 'n
slasher has taken pretty long to arrive. Nevertheless, Dark
Cloud is practically in our hands. With the Japanese version
in finished form, the U.S. edition should be right around the
corner - we hope.
obvious reason for Dark Cloud's attraction (outside of it's
bright and crisp visuals) are the immediate comparisons to
Nintendo's epic N64 hit, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of
Time. Dark Cloud contains the same basic premise of Link's
many classic adventures - find a dungeon, search it and solve
puzzles, then defeat enemies and a boss. Repeat. Notice,
however, that this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the Zelda
titles have always been my favorite form of game no matter
which platform it arrives on. What Dark Cloud does bring to
the table that is (although slightly borrowed) not a common
sight in a Zelda title is it's nifty town rebuilding.
Comparisons to the Landmake system in Square's Legend of Mana
is inevitable, but Dark Cloud has created a unique
correlation. Players are forced to enter randomly generated
dungeons, in which by defeating enemies, one can attain
geometric parts to creating a town above ground. Fans of
Diablo's mindless baddie whacking, or those fond of the deep,
sprawling adventures into vaults as seen in - guess - any
Legend of Zelda games should feel right at home.
and items may wear and tear over time, so it is necessary for
the lead character to stop and refurbish his multiple arms.
(Weapons, not limbs, you sicko.) Players will also be
confronted with completing puzzles and other quandaries, too,
so belligerent sword slashing won't be quite the entire heart
of the game. SCEA has borrowed the revolutionary Z-targeting
system from Shigeru Miyamoto's adventure brainchild, giving
gamers the ability to center the camera and lock on their
current point of view.
As for the
aesthetics? Well, in case you can't tell from the screens,
Dark Cloud has some of the sharpest graphics ever seen in an
adventure title. Like explained before, the game's visual
flair includes not hyper-realistic characters or incredibly
detailed towns and locals, but rather Dark Cloud throws the
gamer into a mix of goofy and upbeat environments filled with
quirky, charming characters and towns people to meet.
there really anything about Dark Cloud that isn't like Zelda?
At this point in time it's hard to say without a full playable
game in which one can pull out the smallest, meticulous
details about the game. While Nintendo's famed elf may point
out too many similarities to Dark Cloud for the title to
really separate itself from the pack, Sony's effort in
releasing an honest, quality 1st party game proves that Dark
Cloud should not be taken lightly. Look for SCEA's dungeon
hack to arrive before summer 2001.