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SummaryThe nameless one strikes back and this time he’s mad!
The GoodEscstatica II starts where Ecstatica I ended. You (still the nameless one) and your new princess (Ecstatica – yes that’s still her name) arrive after a long journey in your home kingdom. The year is still 928 a.d. and again there is definitively something really wrong here. By passing the main gate to your castle your fresh princess gets kidnapped by an evil spawn.
Honestly I am not a friend of sequels if the prequel was just perfect as a stand-alone product. But Ecstatica II draws a seamless connection to the first part according to graphics, atmosphere, story and the soundtrack. It also improved several things in the controls and now the area which is to explore is bigger and more varied.
Ecstatica I was rich in his bizarre atmosphere and his awesome black humour. In the second part the developers created a surrounding which is much more dismal and does not have so bright, childish colours. I think most people missed that in the first part. The deep soundtrack in the beginning lets you know without a doubt, that this time it’s going to be rough. When you awake from your slumber you are tied up to the local place of execution. So the action starts immediately by freeing yourself and knock down the first two goblins. Your main goal is (of course) to free your girl and then to find out who transformed your beautiful kingdom in forecourt of hell. As one can see the whole quest is much bigger than it was in the first part. There are eight evil sorcerers to defeat. They have 8 peaces of the holy broken seal which can restore peace to the country. Besides there are some subquests but they are not that important.
Ecstatica for the first time has an HUD-Display (which shows your life-status and magic power) and a kind of inventory (more a statistic overview) which shows your progress in the game, your kills, how many gold you have (an alternative for health-potions), the parts of the broken seals you already have and a list of permanent items you need to solve the game (such as an armor, a ring …) But don’t smile to much… it’s still not possible to carry more than two items at the same time. (YES - keeping the realistic feeling.)
The controls are similar to the first part (movement with arrow-keys) but they improved the fighting moves --- Hell yeah! Was it in the first part only possible to perform like a dumb thug then now Chacki Chan is on the run! There is a vast variety of kicks, punches, uppercuts, 180-Circles, Jumps and so on… You can even fight during your swimming except with your legs though. Furthermore you are able to use magic wands and magic skills to send the devils back to hell.
As one can read here, Ecstatica II is an action-adventure but more action than adventure. You have to fight your way through enormous hordes of monsters. Well even the flowers will attack you! So it is of a highly importance to read the handbook attentively and to learn all your moves. After a short time one gets really familiar with it and the game unfolds his true power. In action-adventures I always like more the adventure part but here in this case it’s pure fun to knock your enemies down in a ballet of violence.
Oh well – the violence. A crux in the two games. I said it before and now I am saying it again: ECSTATICA II IS NOT FOR KIDS!!! Once again your path is bordered with tons of tortured, gored, naked bodies but what to expect after an army of sadistic demons did overrun your kingdom. This is also the reason why the only NPC in the game is a mysterious high priestess (with a touch of a fairy) who gives you hints and let you know what to do next. But she has a nice voice though.
Besides killing masses of demons you have to solve several riddles which are not so difficult. You don’t have to draw connections between persons or answer specified questions. It’s more the way of “Take object A and replace it with B on location C” or “Find the blue ring to open the blue doors”. Well I am still not so happy about this fact but when your whole castle is invaded by the dead you just don’t have the time to think outside the box.
Nevertheless the atmosphere is still astonishing in this game. In your progress you do not only explore your castle. The whole environment is part of the Game. And yes… it is a wide environment. For that it is to mention, that the games comes with a lovely designed Map inside the Box to give you a good overview about all the spots to visit. There is a really creepy graveyard, the wilderness which so wide that you can get lost, abandoned ruins and (my favourite) the Village of the Damned – pure Horror! You are chased all the time. Everything is unfriendly and wants your dead. The landscape look gorgeous but when you’re getting closer the grotesque face of evil grins at you. And in the background is always this deep soundtrack – not intrusive but always present.
When I played the game the first time with sceptic thoughts I was surprised that they really pushed the atmosphere to a higher level. I didn’t expect that. Ecstatica II establishes a different atmosphere than the first game. It has the feeling that the whole game finally grew up. And that is funny and weird about these two games. They are so similar in their first appearance and even the hero is the same. But when you look beneath the surface they are completely different in the way you feel them!
It’s a little bit like Star Wars. Ecstatica II is for this game series what “The Empire strikes back” has been for the Star Wars movies. Inseparable but it’s hard to decide which one is better because both Titles stand alone for themselves. And both games are more then worth to play them like the movies. :D
The BadLike in Ecstatica I it is sometimes annoying that it’s just possible to carry 2 items at the same time. Long ways to walk over and over is sometimes the consequence.
The most pesky thing in the game is the constant respawn of the monsters. You cannot clear a spot except the village of the damned. In the game you walk from one screen to another like in Alone in the Dark. Now, when you have killed all the monsters in one screen walk to another screen and then go back new monsters will appear just because you’ve left the screen and returned to it. Where is the logic here! In the beginning when your character is weak it is the most frustrating “feature”. It also shows where the main focus of this game is set… But as I wrote before: Get used to your fighting and no monster will be a serious problem.
Well I appreciate a good story in a game even more when it takes place in the medieval times. The story of Ecstatica II is very lovely introduced in the manual but at last it turns out to be a simple “hack’n slay” – Plot. Could have been better. Further on the lack of the brilliant humor of the first game and the missing of NPCs are not decisive for this game but very sad indeed.
In some Versions there has been a bug where you get stuck in the game. The so called “Ecstatica 2 Amazon Clearing Bug”. There is a patch in the web but it’s hard to find though. Pretty annoying when everything freezes in the middle of the game.