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The combat system is clearly inspired by the one used in the N64's Legend of Zelda games--choose a target to lock on, and wail away. Between rounds of slaying monsters, you'll have to strategically rebuild cities to advance. Successful fishing trips will lead to valuable weapon upgrades. Some battles test your rhythm, requiring you to match button commands, similar to such games as Um Jammer Lammy and PaRappa the Rapper. Weapon management is a vital part of the game--weapons can break if not cared for properly, but you can also transform them into powerful objects of destruction by shrewdly managing upgrades.
The multifaceted game contains an excellent tutorial to help you learn its many aspects. While it has its imperfections, Dark Cloud is the best PlayStation 2 RPG to date. It's perfect for the angling adventurer who likes to dabble in urban planning. --Raymond M. Padilla, Amazon.com
Your goal is to collect pieces of various towns and villages, along with the inhabitants of said town/village, and then reconstruct them. You can do it anyway you wish - but the only way to complete the game proper and open up your next objectives is to listen to the villager's needs. Someone migth want to live next to the pond as they fish; another might want to live next to the bakery; another might want to face the ocean. Its a simple concept, but one that becomes hugely engrossing, especially as the game progresses and the towns become more complex. Even better, you can then return to game mode and walk round the town you have just constructed, askng people how well you've done.
Unfortunately, the dungeons and combat get repetitive and as the difficulty level rises, frustrating. The game takes around 40 hours to complete - the first 20 whizz by, but after half way things feel a little stale. Its such a shame, as there are so many wonderful touches to the game; great graphics, town construction and varied playable characters.
Dark Cloud shows great potential; its an excellent concept not quite as perfect as it should be. Thankfully, Sony are already at work on Dark Cloud 2....
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