Sep 7, 2012

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Review: ClaDun x2

Review: ClaDun x2

Originally released for Sony’s PlayStation Portable just last year, NIS America’s ClaDun x2 offered gamers on the go a retro-styled dungeon crawler. Fast forward a year and we find that NIS America ported the popular title to PCs via Steam. Sometimes, porting a title from one platform to another can be a difficult feat. Especially when a company wants to incorporate new features while also retaining the charm that drew gamers in the first time.

For the ones who have already played ClaDun x2 on the PSP, the story is unchanged. To describe the story a bit for those who are like me and haven’t had the chance to play the PSP version, you take the role as the latest character stranded in the mysterious world of Arcanus Cella. You’re not alone as there are a few others stranded with you. However, they know one thing that your character doesn’t: that once you arrive in Arcanus Cella, you can never leave. This revelation can be traumatizing for anyone other than the true adventurers at heart. Within Arcanus Cella, there are shops, an inn, a ship and large door that can transport you to one of many dungeons.

The gameplay is similar to that of the original PSP version with a few exceptions. One major difference players will notice is the lack of portability. This isn’t a bad issue nor does it retract from one’s experience. You can choose to use either a controller or your mouse and keyboard. As one who is more accustomed to console and handheld controls, I found it easier to plug up a controller. I did have a problem pop up from time to time with the game not recognizing the square button or the R1 button. It usually can be remedied by closing out of the game and loading it back up. The difficulty within this game increases as you progress through the story. In fact, you’ll really see how difficult it can get when you go through the Tri-geon dungeons that feature 99 floors. If you’re equipment isn’t up to par, you can expect to get killed often.

An important feature within ClaDun x2 is the ability to create, customize, and utilize characters and equipment. Having a diverse selection of characters is very valuable as they each unlock magic circles dedicate to certain classes. Magic circles allow you to place a main character and a select number of sub characters on a sort of grid. The sub characters serve to take the brunt of damage done by enemy attacks and can be strengthened by strategically placing artifacts on open slots. Some magic circles serve a better purpose over others but have to be unlocked as you level up.

ClaDun x2‘s graphics are 16-bit and quite colorful. They also prove to aid in the character and weapon creation as you get plenty of colors to work with. If you are someone who prefers their gaming experience to be in glorious high definition, then the style of this game might be off-putting. It is interesting to note that this game looks best on the smallest window setting. Going full-screen made the game’s graphics look a bit blurry.

The soundtrack for ClaDun x2 is wonderfully done. You have the option of choosing between a retro version of the tracks and the more updated version. I enjoyed listening to both sets but found that the retro fitted in better.

It’s likely for newcomers to the series and those who have already played the PSP port to put away a lot of hours in ClaDun x2. Completing the story dungeons can take roughly 20 or so hours, depending on how well you traverse through them and how well equipped you are. Even after beating the story portion, this title will have you going back through the ran-geons in hopes of coming across some better equipment and leveling up. A bummer for me was the lack of multiplayer. Sure, the game is fun when you play through it by yourself. It’s just feels like it would be more fun to team up with some friends and explore the different ran-geons.

ClaDun x2 offers quite a bit of substance for a dungeon crawler. If you haven’t played either the original PSP version or Legasista, I fully urge dungeon crawling fans to pick this game up. I do feel however that if your preference for graphics leans toward a more slick HD style, then you might want to bypass this one and get the PS3′s Legasista. For the $19.99 price tag, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

ClaDun x2
Platform: PC
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Developer: System Prisma
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB Rating: T
MSRP: $19.99