Level-5 may be a big name in the gaming industry these days, but once upon a time they were just another nobody set to release a launch title for the PlayStation 2. Whilst Dark Cloud is certainly showing its rough edges in this day and age (and has undoubtedly been bettered) it’s still interesting to see the scope this studio invested in their first outing.
Before there was Leonard and company there was a time when the Incorruptus were used to wage a war that tore the land apart. With the world on the brink of anarchy one mobile division travels the world in the hope of saving what little remains.
Sequels should always out-do their predecessors, it’s a simple rule that many games fail to live up to. Where White Knight Chronicles II succeeds isn’t just in upgrading graphics and tweaking the gameplay, but in presenting a free copy of the original game at the same time that also features those same upgrades, improving the overall series experience. It’s a model few companies have ever done and is to Level 5’s credit.
Level 5 had a great run of RPGs on the Playstation 2 that kicked off with Dark Cloud and ended with Rogue Galaxy. When the Playstation 3 was announced a lot was made of the additional graphical and processing power it contained, and in the game dropped just two years after the launch of the console it was the first title to really take advantage of it.
Never before have expectations for a game been so high. Studio Ghibli in collaboration with Level 5? What wasn’t there to look forward to? Better still the DS version of the game was being completely overhauled with a graphic engine suitable for a PS3 release and fully voiced dialogue by a top notch professional animation cast. It might have taken forever to appear, but when it did most gamers leapt on Ni No Kuni as our next big hope for JRPGs.