PlayStation 2 version
Like an onion, this game has many layers to it, but they all pretty much taste the same.
Dark Cloud has many, many features to it, but isn't something that is so complex that a beginner such as myself would get frustrated with it. It has some in-game tutorials that show advanced features as your skill level increases, and it has a pretty good "I wonder what will happen next when I complete this stage" feel to it which made me certain I'd be playing for hours to come.
The AI seemed to be pretty stupid. When you're exploring a dungeon and you enter a room with a bad guy, all you have to do is walk out of the room or stand behind something and it won't figure out how to get to you. Granted, I exploited this feature a lot and was thankful for it, but I thought this type of AI went away ages ago.
The dungeons/cave layout also seemed pretty repetitive. They are generated randomly, but there only seemed to be two or three types of rooms, one or two types of hallways, etc. Admittedly this is rather nit-picky, but I felt it was difficult to fully immerse myself in a game where I felt I was having deja vu walking down halls with the exact same layout as the dungeon level previously explored.
The Bottom Line
I'm probably the worst person to describe a game to another, as I haven't really been active in playing recent games, but this game felt like a quirky mix of a typical dungeon explorin' monster whompin' RPG mixed with, well, SimCity?!
To be perfectly honest, I haven't played it very much, but after returning from my first trip into the dungeon, I was surprised at the "build a village" section of the game, where you literally place houses, trees, rivers and roads in a very SimCity like fashion. The city you build then becomes a virtual 3-D world where you interact with the residents that live there and do some customizing of people's houses in exchange for better weapons to further your exploration in the dungeon.
...And there's lots more to it than just that; I read the beginning of the Dark Cloud FAQ online and I was amazed to see that I was just barely scratching the surface of the game. You could easily spend many hours exploring all the different aspects of this particular game.
by jeff leyda (1842) on September 6th, 2002