In the kingdom of Lanzheim all is not well; after two years of civil war between the usurping Prime Minister and the orphaned Princess, the country is close to collapse. Princess Zelphie seems close to defeat, losing her hereditary throne, when she comes across a young man with no memories who could help her regain everything she has lost. He joins her group of misfits to gain revenge, but ultimately finds himself in the process.
The story of Magnacarta 2 is as clichéd as you get for an Eastern RPG. While it is easy to rag on this one element of the game, it is presented with a commitment to the cookie-cutter characters and the situations they find themselves in so that it ultimately works for this game. The cut scenes prove to be harder to define as the excellent voice acting will have you listening closely, while the static background and comic book delivery of plot will have you skipping through to the next chance to fight.
Luckily, the fighting is one of the best implementations of real-time action caught in any RPG. Similar to Final Fantasy XII’s open field encounters, MC2 takes this action and adds so many interesting elements to make no two battles the same. Controlling one of your party of three, you can bypass enemies in the field or engage them by changing stances. When you do change to the battle stance, you can fight the enemy with standard attacks, build up enough kan to unleash a special attack or meet the correct requirements to perform a signature technique. Each of these in turn uses a set amount of stamina that is constantly being regenerated, and if you use it all up you go in to a temporary overcharge state that gives you more damage but will result in an overheated state where you are temporarily immobile.
As complex as that may sound, it is a brilliant way to approach combat as you are constantly gauging the entire team’s stamina and timing. It is possible to switch between active players on the field creating a chain, driving into multiple overcharge states. If you time it correctly you can enter the chain and swap to a character to complete a special attack resulting in a chain break where the overheat status is wiped clean and all stamina is restored. Risky and worth it, the game ensures that battles are always interesting and fun.
In addition to each character fighting differently than the other, each character also has two separate styles to choose from based on the weapons they wield. Each style has a corresponding talent tree in which you spend experience you get from leveling and encourages you to stick with one style early on in the game to reap the higher up talents and bonuses. Conveniently, non-active players get 70% of experience gained from the field and 100% of quest experience gained; ensuring less used players aren’t too far behind the pack.
Despite the over-used plot, Magnacarta 2 uses beautiful visuals and a stunning battle system to draw players into its world such that any 360 RPG fan should be foaming at the mouth to add this to their collection.
ESRB: T for RPG stylized violence
Plays Like: Final Fantasy XII
Pros: Beautiful visuals and engaging combat
Cons: Clichéd story