*Casually scrolling through PSN’s Easter deals* Oh look, the GTA Collection is on here? Good value too. I wonder if you can get….huh? Oh my god. No….No! It can’t be? When? How? Why?….When?! Why didn’t you tell me about this internet? Why did you keep it a secret?! “Dark Chronicle!” is on here! *hysterical laughter* I can’t believe it! This is the greatest thing to happen to anyone ever. I’m not really one of those “religious types” but I have to say “thank you non specified ethereal deity”. For the uninitiated Dark Chronicle, or Dark Cloud 2 as it’s known in many regions was a PS2 era Rpg and follow up to 2001’s Dark Cloud. Brought to you by the same developers as Dragon Quest VIII: The Cursed King, it features many of the overarching elements of the first Dark Cloud, just with Dark Chronicle improving on every aspect of the original. Introducing new characters, dilemmas and story that it can really be treated as a standalone game. In short it is one of the greatest Rpgs you will ever play. Ever! When it was initially released I wasn’t just enamoured with this game, but obsessed.
I had weekends purely dedicated to the excavation of every dungeon. I’d go to bed pretending I was on the train featured heading to our next exciting encounter! I even remember the day I purchased it, the store and even the proprietor who sold me it (he was mate I went to school with). I remember finishing school the year it was released in UK and being employed by a garden maintenance company that paid me a pittance for my labour. Though I’ll attest that it was a salary befitting of my limited capacity to assist in any of the more manual workload. Yet despite the relative modesty of cash avaliable I felt rich! No one had ever given me so much money at that age and Dark Chronicle was emblematic of that period of frivolity, as I relished the introverted solitude of being antisocial. Dark Chronicle merely expedited my misanthropic compulsions by simply being so compellingly addictive, as I mostly became mired in the extravagance of combat, exploration, levelling up weapons and the meticulous restoration of absent villages. The latter being my favourite part. Fundamentally Dark Chronicle is an Rpg; you’re a young hero tasked with preventing an evil force, with many exponent acolytes, from obliterating humanity as we know it. Blah blah blah chosen one blah blah blah threat averted through some convoluted artefact. Though granted the themes and events were largely familiar, Dark Chronicle had a way of expelling the monochrome derivatives associated with your typical role playing fair into something substantial fresher. But the ability to manipulate villages (similar to that of “Sim City”) so that they meet specific mandatory and personal requirements was by far the most deeply satisfying part, especially considering you could then travel to the future to see how villages you’ve designed have affected the future.
“Add To Cart. Let me think?”
Depending on what you’ve constructed you could see a future representation where that innocuous scattering of trees you’ve placed have flourished into a hue surmountable oaks, furnished with walkways for civilians to utilise. The number of residencies built and how close in proximity they are to say a body of water also has huge implications on the number of citizens located in the region. I absolutely loved the intricacies needed to fulfil certain criteria’s as well as satisfying you’re own intimate fastidiousness. As you persisted through dungeons you acquire “geostones” that enables you to perform specific structural modifications to a village. Whether that’s ferns, rivers or houses, the gradual accumulation of these utilities felt rewarding simply because it gave you just enough incentive to continue. The process of architectural displacement, sustaining agriculture, the subtle augmentation of structures and their emplacement in the diverse economy brought it’s own complexities that you enjoyed resolving, basically because it meant you had to keep playing. You had to maintain the social integrity and overall harmony of the community, as the citizens of the future regale you with tales concerning their legendary founder. It sounds incredibly self-satisfied but I am insecure and am openly receptive to being a god as well as admired for my virtuous proclivities. I’m modest too.
But this is only a small facet of an otherwise extensive experience. It is so huge that I couldn’t adequately summarise just how comprehensive Dark Chronicle is an Rpg. It has exploration, action, the ability to level weapons as opposed to characters. It has beautifully presented aesthetics inspired by a litany of cultural influences. An inspired cast, narrative and a deep sense of danger from enemies that consistently challenge you no matter how strong you believe you are. You need strategies as well as skills to defeat them with randomly generated dungeons that mean no 2 levels are the same. Even trivial errands have their benefits. You can recruit people you’ve helped to assist you, whether that’s providing amenities, renewable source of restorative items or other resources. Even thinking about it now I’m getting flustered and a little giddy in anticipation of playing it again. And I can assure that no one in the history of referrals has ever considered me giddy. Yet here I am, butterflies fluttering in my stomach. I feel like a ballerina anticipating a dance recital……uh, no! No more like something, um….manly! Like being slightly nervous before a glass eating contest. You know picking shards of glass from my teeth with some uranium rods, you know that kind of “manly” nervousness that makes you decidedly “secure” about your “manly” masculinity. Grrr! Grunt! In any case I had been hopelessly anticipating the eventual return of this game for so long, that I’d actually forgotten that I was waiting for it. Now I can’t stop playing it, which is probably due to the fact that deep down I thought I’d never play this game again. The distinctive soundtrack is constantly playing in my head, the familiar instances and environments come flooding back like childhood memories. It has been some time since I’ve been this excited about a game. In fact, what am I doing here? I’ve got a world to save/build!