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I’ve been a big anime fan for many years and have quite an extensive collection, but with so many anime titles available I had overlooked one of the best ones out there, The FullMetal Alchemist. I first got interested in the series after the first game was released back in January of this year. Since then I’ve been collecting the DVD’s and other memorabilia. I’ve even played through FullMetal Alchemist and the broken Angel, which needed a lot of work.
Fans of the anime will have a much better time picking up this one due to its vast improvement over the first, though there’s still a lot left to be desired here. The most notable improvement being that this really could be a great two player game. If anything could make the next game better it’s the inclusion of a cooperative two player mode. If anything could make the game worse, it’s leaving it just the way it is currently. The franchise is looking up and hopefully, for the fan’s sake the third time is a charm.
When I heard that Square Enix was releasing a sequel to the problematic Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel barely six months later, I was understandably concerned. There were lots of bugs in the first one that I just had trouble believing could be corrected in only six months. I was even more leery when I heard that they were including the first two episodes of Season 2 of Fullmetal Alchemist. It sounded too much like a marketing ploy to plug a new season of a show.
Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir is the prequel to Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel, a game that fell a little short of the glory in its first showing here in the States. FMA 2 is considerably beefier, looks better and offers a myriad new features, a full blown storyline powered by nice cinematics (both full motion and in-game cinematic moments), improved gameplay and artificial intelligence for Al. The only real complaint that can be lodged against this game is how short it is (takes about 10 12 hours to complete), but while it lasts, Fullmetal Alchemist 2 is one of the most creative and fun experiences I've had with a game based on a popular anime series.
One play-through is probably enough, but Fullmetal Alchemist 2 is a nice little action game and a quality piece of fan service for those who are way into the source material. The many transmutations are fun and useful, and the game is faithful to the show's look and spirit. If you're into Fullmetal Alchemist and are looking for a good diversion, this game should help you scratch that itch.
"Alchemy is the method of deconstructing and recreating matter by understanding its inherent laws and its place in nature. The power to freely transform matter may appear as a miracle to those unfamiliar with the practice ... but even the seemingly almighty power of alchemy must abide by one absolute law. That law is 'Equivalent Exchange.' In order to gain something, an equivalent price must be paid."
The first Fullmetal Alchemist game for PS2 was a decent, if not terribly satisfying brawler. It could only really appeal to fans of the anime/manga who wanted little more than to control the young alchemist brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric. Now, a roughly half a year later, the game's sequel has been released, and although it's still not a great game, it's a definitely improvement over the original.
It's not a classic game, but Fullmetal Alchemist 2 ably performs both of its intended functions: it's fun for existing series fans, and a decent enough game that those who haven't had contact with the original property will get far enough that the concept could intrigue them. Just like Edward Elric, the game's execution may not be perfect, but it accomplishes its mission nonetheless.
Overall I enjoyed the game, although some aspects were tedious and it was pretty short. I imagine that someone unfamiliar with the franchise would probably not enjoy the game very much. At its heart, it is only an okay RPG. It’s fun for anyone who lusts after more Fullmetal Alchemist goodness, but still falls short of greatness. Hopefully the next game, if there is one, will be an improvement on the formula.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this sequel is a marked step up for the franchise. Most noticeably, fighting is more dynamic, and the dull art style of the first game has been replaced with a relatively pleasing cel-shaded look. Even so, a host of problems still holds the title back from greatness. Battle still feels generally awkward most of the time. Backgrounds are totally bland, and some areas look almost exactly like others you’ve already moved through. These would be forgivable sins if not for the terrible pacing of the game, which crawls along at a snail’s pace due to constantly interrupting dialogue scenes. Do you really need to talk that much about a door? Just go through it, for the love of all that’s holy!
For the most part, this is a game that should probably be rented instead of purchased, especially given its high price tag and short game play. If you're an FMA fan, it's the best of the two out there, but there are plenty of things to be improved upon in the coming years that will replace this game. The anime may carry a heavy recommendation, but as far as the game goes, it isn't really worth too much of your time.
Ce second épisode de FullMetal Alchemist sur PS2 reste un jeu pour fans de la série qui prendront plaisir à retrouver les personnages et les codes de leur série préférée. Le scénario et le gameplay sont suffisamment corrects pour permettre au joueur d'avancer sans soucis. Les graphismes sont très réussis et la durée de vie calibrée juste comme il faut. Un jeu qui en somme contentera les amoureux des aventures des frères Elric mais qui aura bien du mal à convaincre les autres.
Fullmetal Alchemist 2: Curse of the Crimson Elixir is lucky enough to be released to a built-in audience, though after the last appalling game, it might be the kind of audience that hurls smelly boots and rotten fruit at the stage. Only the most ardent and strong-willed of fans would find themselves being satisfied by this poorly designed and endlessly repetitive action RPG. To be fair, this sequel does manage to improve by adding some variety to the combat, improving the alchemy aspect and sprucing up the graphics, but the fundamental issues regarding the boring level design, terrible AI and laughable presentation still remain in full force. There's just no escaping the obvious and offensive lack of effort that was put into this game. Buy the anime DVDs instead.
In the short term, FA2 is a pretty addictive romp. It’s fun to see what the next object will transmute into, or what the next twist in the story will be. Heck, even the combat is somewhat entertaining, camera issues aside. However, after your first few hours with the game you probably won’t have any real desire to come back to it, except to finish it once to see the ending, as the repetitive gameplay and annoying boss fights will eventually take their toll. But for what it is, the game is fun. And it’s short enough that you can beat it in about 8 hours, even with listening to all of the dialog and watching all of the cut scenes, which easily take up about a third of that time.