So between Something Awful being on a Lurker :frogout: kick lately and seeing Level 5 having their 'Other M' moment with Gundam AGE I decided to pay a visit to the LP Archives and run through the Dark Cloud 2 LP just to see if one of their more highly regarded games also suffers from atrocious writing and blatant misogyny as pretty much everything else they've done did. It does.
In all honesty I went through most of the LP assuming that Max(the main character)'s mom was going to die after spending the entire game as his metaphorical carrot on a stick like a cheap piece of drama fodder and I'll give them credit for not killing her off (not that she wasn't ripped away from Max for the sake of cheap melodrama). Of course, she didn't need to when EVERY GODDAMN VILLAIN IN THE GODDAMN GAME DID (save for the Russian Mafia Clown from the beginning who simply gets jobbed like a cheap piece of comic relief and the Bonus Boss who's only purpose is to be the bonus boss). There seriously wasn't a goddamn fight with these guys that didn't come laden with melodramatic flashbacks and death speeches and all of them were nothing but one-dimensional villainous caricatures with obligatory villainous monologues and rants as their only development prior (except for the first fight with the villain that killed Monica(the female character)'s dad which ended with somebody else dying and giving the requisite flashbacks and death speeches instead, and the Rocker Doctor who just got hauled off to sea by the game's Larpas tribe but got his requisite sob story relayed by his descendent in his stead). And worse still is that both Gaspard (the guy who offs Monica's dad at the beginning) and later Emperor Griffon (the big bad; but not the BIG big bad) both pull the exact same maternal abandonment issues that Max's been pulling since the very start of the game except they were shunned (boo hoo :qqsay:) which is why they immediately turned to "Rarr! I must destroy the world! Rarr!" despite said maternal figures advising otherwise (and given that Max is deprived of his mother too because she's a selfish whore who had to do the nasty in the pasty but conveniently cannot stay due to belonging in the future, he's likely to be Dark Cloud 3's big bad (but not BIG big bad because he needs to turn out to be sympathetic and misguided too) if Dark Cloud 3 ever gets made (god forbid)).
And then there's Monica, the other protagonist, who's entire role in the game can be summed up in five points.
- She's a magical, time-traveling, princess, from the future.
- Who's holding the
Triforce of Wisdom blue plot macguffin that enables travel to the past.
- And is out to avenge her father by Grrr-ing at the current antagonist.
- Also to exposition at the latest plot objective like a tour guide.
- And to serve as the 'second' protagonist (i.e. a mechanical upgrade to Dark Cloud 1's solo adventure).
Although by the end of the game.
- She's strictly inferior to Max in every way outside of her ranged weapon's homing feature.
- And stops moonlighting as a tour guide the moment somebody else shows up to correct her or Max points out the obvious.
- Plus she's the first to forgive anybody who brings up a sudden sob story regardless of what they might have taken from her.
- And she loses her plot macguffin (and so does Max) because good is dumb and evil will always triumph.
- Not like it matters anyways since Max can and will travel back in time without her or her macguffin (and the plot forces you to do this for a plot coupon at one point).
And while I could go on all night ranting about the plot holes, the establishing and the subsequent breaking/ignoring/bullshitting of the setting's rules, the dumb plot twists, the blatant copying of Zelda series/generic fairy tale elements/tropes, mechanics that favor Max over Monica, the myriad of convenient contrivances, pretty much everything that happens at the end of chapter 5, all of chapter 7, and the nothing that happens at chapter 4 I'm just going to leave it on the note that the game left it on as the story was all just a dream (or was it? :tinfoil:).
The TL:DR is that Level 5 REALLY needs to get bought out and gutted for their technical talent as that's the only worthwhile thing about them. I'd check out Jenne De Arc but I have neither access to a copy or LP of it.