I decided I would review a old Playstation 2 game for variety. I’d hate for you to think I only played PC Games. I hope you enjoy the review, screenshots, and gameplay videos below. Its pretty reading intensive so you might want to take out a extra insurance policy for your eyeballs.
The PS2’s glory days may be long gone. But it’s still bringing out newly translated games from Japan and budget versions of many new gen games. Mana Khemia 2 is in the former category, freshly translated from the far off land of Japan.
The story of Mana Khemia 2 takes place not long after the original Mana Khemia. In fact you’ll meet up with a few of the original cast in the sequel. As for the world it seems the power of mana and mana’s themselves are in decline and this has caused the Academy of Al-Revis which used to float in the sky to come crashing down into the ground.
Apparently the Academy is also having financial problems. To balance the budget and prevent the Academy from closing. The curriculum was compacted from three years into one. But with low quality teachers its become more of a anyone can get in if they have enough money and you learn what you study yourself kind of school. If you haven’t played the original Mana Khemia or lets say Persona 3 or 4. Then a school themed game will be new to you. For the most part you will run around the academy completing assignments. You will have mandatory assignments and times when you can pick from a list of classes. Depending on how well you complete the assignments you can earn Fs, Ds, Cs, Bs, and As. The better the grades you earn, the more free time you’ll have each chapter to do extra jobs for cole(Money) and spend time with your classmates.
If you have happened to play the Original Mana Khemia then you either loved the alchemy mechanics and have already picked up Mana Khemia 2. Or you hated the different leveling system. Regardless Mana Khemia 2 expands on the original alchemy system from Mana Khemia. Now there are new characters to synthesize with and hundreds of new items. The gameplay mechanics are mostly unchanged from the Original Mana Khemia especially regarding the vanguard and support mechanics. But for those new to the series. You’ll find that Mana Khemia 2 does not have a normal leveling system. Instead it uses a AP system instead of traditional experience points. And with your collected AP you can then spend points on newly synthesized items in your grow book which will in essence level you up. So you’ll spend half your time slaying monsters for AP. Then the other half of your time collecting recipes and synthesizing new items with alchemy to open up your grow book. Then you’ll be able to spend your collected AP to “lvl” up.
The story itself revolves around two students. One Razealuxe a servant of a wealthy girl also attending the academy. And Ulrika a country girl who scraped and saved so she could have a chance at attending the Academy. Eitherway if you wish to experience all that the game has to offer and its newgame + scenario. You’ll end up playing through both of their stories one after the other.
Both stories can be quite humorous. Of course, that does depend on your sense of humor. If you cant stand any sort of negativity then stay away from this game. As the characters are constantly putting each other down and mocking others for amusement. There are a few heartfelt moments of course, But if you cant stand a good insult or ribbing then this isn’t the story for you.
And for you Japanophiles you’ll be pleased to hear the game has dual language options. So if you cant stand english dubs you can listen to the original Japanese dialogue instead, subtitles are not optional.That’s enough about the good aspects of the game. Its time to list some of the cons and sadly there a few. As with past NISA games there are a fair number of glitches some of which are inexcusable.
Firstly there are numerous graphical glitches which can be at times confusing when a marker is stuck from a previous chapter and stays that way until the end of the game. Making you remind yourself that its just a glitch and you dont really have to go that way. Only for it to turn out to be the correct way to go.
Secondly the poorly programmed save system makes another return. Most of NISA’s games compile all of your game saves into one block of data instead of separating them out. And for some odd reason this can “rarely” cause the save data to become corrupted and for you to lose all of your hard work.
Thirdly there is a glitch on one of the bounty hunt jobs that will actually cause the game to freeze and require you to restart the console. Now, its a completely optional enemy unlike in Ar Tonelico 2 which had the same problem for one of the end bosses. But its still inexcusable to have any game freezing glitches ever.
In conclusion, this game is easily over 100 hours of gameplay if go through both stories and play the new game+ scenario. Therefore I give it a 77 out of 100. So if you could really use a new RPG to play and are tired of the standard leveling grind or want to try something just alittle different then I recommend Mana Khemia 2.
Its also nice to see my PS2 still getting some use with freshly translated games like this. I can only hope for more in the future. But lets cross our fingers that NISA will take the time to fix the save system and do some more through Q&A.