Thursday, September 01, 2011

Crazy-early impressions of Cladun X2

I've only played Cladun X2 for about an hour and a half thus far, but those 90 or so minutes were more than enough for me to form a few just-barely-educated opinions of this pixelated, PSP-based roguelike.

Here they are, in no particular order:

* This game's soundtrack is as sexy and jazzy as ever. Which is great, because there's nothing quite like racing through a dungeon full of foes while such tunes accompany every hack, slash and step.

* Although Cladun X2 features a number of new character and weapon sprites, the rest of its graphics are either identical to the ones seen in its predecessor or so similar that they may as well be identical. I don't have a problem with that, but I'm guessing some folks will be upset that this sequel isn't a bit more visually unique.

* I'm already in love with--and putting to good use--this game's expanded class and weapon options. Case in point: The very first character I created--something that is forced on the player this time around, by the way, and right off the bat too--was a pink-haired "saint" (whose special skill slays the undead) and one of the first weapons I found for her was a bow.

* I hate to admit this, but I'm finding myself a bit confused and even overwhelmed by all of the numbers that now crowd the game's heads-up display. The original game's HUD was clean and simple--the polar opposite of what I stare at (and attempt to decipher) while playing Cladun X2.

I'll share some slightly more informed opinions (as well as an actual review) of the game after I've spent more time with it, but in the meantime the ones above should give all of you Cladun-curious folks at least a bit of an idea as to what you can expect to encounter if you buy and play this System Prisma-developed title.

See also: Previous Cladun X2 posts


apricotsushi said...

Hey Bryan! I thought I'd migrate over here rather than try to tweet all my thoughts at you. Glad to see you've written up some of your preliminary thoughts!

I definitely agree with all of the points you mentioned. I'm also glad that I'm not the only one having a hard time with the HUD... I've been playing nigh on 4 hours now and really am not quite sure what I'm looking at yet.

This has to be the one game that I actually wish I had a physical instruction manual for, so that I could compare what I'm seeing on the screen with the manual's explanation. I find the in-game tutorials a bit lacking and there are certainly plenty of places to go if you need help, but it's a bit hard to navigate and I'm not very good at internalizing what the little bird guys are trying to explain to me, haha.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hello again, Anne! Yeah, it's a lot easier to chat about this stuff here rather than on Twitter, isn't it?

As for this game's confusing HUD -- you're right in saying a physical manual would be *great* for this game! It's especially sad that I'm confused by what I see since I played the original for a good 20 hours before pushing it to the back burner. You'd think all of that experience would help! The HUD in the original was so much simpler, though -- they're almost nothing alike.

Do you have questions about anything else? If so, let me know and I'll try my best to help you out!

apricotsushi said...

Ok! After playing all weekend, I've come up with a few more things that have puzzled me:

1. What in the world is "awakening"? So far I've only seen it come up on my Dragoon's magic circles, where there's an option to turn it on/off and once I've turned it on it appears in the bottom left of the HUD when dungeon-crawling (you mentioned on Twitter that you don't have a dragoon yet, so if you don't know the answer to this it's perfectly fine!)

2. This is a little difficult to explain, but on the bottom-left corner where it displays your ability/magic slots and SP, for some reason the number to the right of where it says "SP" is always negative for me. Is that the SP number? If so, do you know why it would be negative?

Sorry for all the questions, but I really appreciate your help! It's lots of fun playing through a game when I know someone else who's playing as well :) I'm about 13 hours in now–how long have you been playing so far? Have you tried the Ran-geons yet? I quite like them! The Tri-geons are really tough for me, though!

apricotsushi said...

Oh gosh, I forgot something! Do you know what the blue and green balls that sometimes appear when you kill enemies correspond to? I'm assuming one of them is SP but I honestly don't know what the other is. I hardly ever get green, mostly blue

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Anne! Ok, let me see if I can help with any of these questions...

1) Sadly, I haven't yet acquired the Dragoon class/job, so I can't help with this one!

2) You know what? I don't know this one either! Really, this game needs a damn manual -- even just an online one!

3) As for the blue, green and even purple balls that fly away from enemies after you kill them -- as far as I can tell, all of them boost your SP. One of them (blue?) boosts your SP by 2, another (green?) boosts it by 4 and the purple ones boost it by 6.

I'm going to do some digging and try to figure out the answer to your second question, BTW, as it has been bugging me, too!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, and one more thing: I've still only played the game for about 5 hours thus far. I'd have played it more, but I've been busy. Also, Zooo/Zoo Keeper has been taking my attention away from it :P

apricotsushi said...

Thanks for your help, Bryan :) I think you're right about the different colored balls giving you different SP. I still wish I could figure out why that number is always negative for me... Hmmm

I'm curious, did you ever get a chance to try the multiplayer in the original? From the few reviews I've seen so far, many people are bummed that ClaDun x2 doesn't allow co-op multiplayer like the first, even though that was apparently a bit laggy. I have to say that *personally* I don't feel like the game needs a multiplayer option, but it definitely could make a nice addition. But if the first has it and it's notably absent from the sequel (I believe all you can do is visit another player's tavern and look at their characters or something), then it is a bit disappointing.

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're welcome, Anne! I'm glad I could help in some small way. As for the negative SP number (or whatever it is) -- I'm still trying to figure it out myself! Ugh.

Also, nope, I never tried the multiplayer mode in the original. I wonder why they removed it this time around? Maybe they didn't like the lag but couldn't fix it? Strange.

One more thing before I hit "publish": I read in a review of Cladun X2 yesterday that the game is supposed to com with a digital manual that is accessible when you're not playing the game (the reviewer said it was unfortunate that you have to "back out of the game to access it"). Unfortunately, I'm not sure what he's talking about, as I've looked all over my PSP dash for such a manual but have yet to find anything. I sent an e-mail to my contact at NISA yesterday, but have yet to hear back from him. If/when I do, I'll let you know what he says!

apricotsushi said...

Thanks for letting me know about the instruction manual! I contacted my NISA rep and they said there should be one to download on the PSN? But I'm not seeing it... I'm going to have to contact them again about it...

Bryan Ochalla said...

I contacted them, too, Anne! And guess what? It should already be on your PSP -- the manual, that is. Here's how you find it: Highlight ClaDun X2 on your PSP dashboard (or whatever it's called) but don't open it. Instead, hit the triangle button. That will open up a number of options -- one of which is a 98-page instruction manual. Doh! I found it somewhat helpful, although I still don't understand why that one number is negative. I only skimmed it, though, so maybe tomorrow I'll read it a bit more thoroughly...

apricotsushi said...

Wow, that's handy! Thank you very much! I'm looking at it as I type. Page 40 has a zoom-in on the area with the negative number, and I think it refers to how much SP the ability you have currently selected will cost! Duh! Haha

This is super helpful, but with 98 pages, it really is a bit daunting for anyone but the really committed players (like us, of course!). Thanks for all the help though, I'm definitely going to read up on things a bit! My review has gone live as well, by the way. You can read it here: though I'm sure I probably haven't said anything you don't already know!

Bryan Ochalla said...

A ha! Of course you're right about the area with the negative number. Doh! Well, at least we know now :)

Thanks for sending the link to your review, BTW. I'll go read it in a bit!