Magna Carta – Tears of Blood is originally a Korean PC RPG released some years ago, now converted to the PS2. The thing that got me curios about this game was the character art, otherwise I knew very little.

Plattform: Playstation 2
Utvecklare: Softmax, Banpresto
Utgivare: Atlus
Släppdatum: 15 november 2005 (US)
Köp här: eBay

To me, the graphics really look PC-ish; in the sense that there are hardly any other colors but browns, greens and grays in the surroundings, which becomes very dull. The characters look PC-ish too and in the cut scenes you can see tons of flaws, particularly in the NPCs. There was one officer for example, who, when talking, opened and closed his mouth as if only saying “Aaah” and when he said a lot he’d be stuck with his mouth open for a long time, which of course looked really silly and sloppy.

Character voices aren’t really impressive either. One of the main characters, Reith, really reminded me of Yuna from Final Fantasy X and annoyed me in the same way too. Far too naïve and always apologizing for everything.

The game suffers from quite a lot of loading time, though not as bad as Shining Tears, but enough to make you wonder when you’ll get to play. Walking around in the field is very much like in FF X. You’re in a vast environment, but can only move around on the roads. The camera follows you around from specific angles that you cannot alter. If you’re heading for a certain place and you move in the wrong direction, you will be notified of this, so there is no chance of getting lost, although I find this sort of “world map” gives you a worse overview than games like Final Fantasy IX.

As you walk these roads, you can choose between two modes; dash mode or detect mode. Dashing means you’re running but will more likely be surprise-attacked by enemies as you will notice them too late. In detect mode however, you’re slowly walking with your sword drawn and as you see an enemy you can initiate the fight, getting the upper hand. One very good thing about MC though, is that while in detect mode, you can rest and regain your HP. This will come in handy if you’re far away from a save point.

The battle system is, I guess, you can say good or bad, depending on what you think a fight should be like. It does remind slightly of the battles of Legend of Dragoon, where you had to press the X-button at a certain time to make the most of your attacks. However, in MC you don’t only use the X-button and also, you need to enter the whole combination of the attack before your character can even execute it! If you miss one entry even slightly you will lose the opportunity of attacking altogether, even though you got say 2 out of 3 correct.

There is something called a leadership meter that plays a huge role in battles. It has to reach a certain point before either of your characters can attack (and you can only control one character at a time, switching between them with the L/R buttons), and your friends need different amounts of leadership in order for them to attack. This is based on how much they trust you, Calintz, as a leader. (This can be adjusted by talking to characters in camp mode and giving them gifts.) Anyways, to have the leadership meter go up, you need to stand perfectly still, which can be dangerous if an enemy decides to attack you. Once it is your turn to strike, if you miss entering the specific button combination, the leadership meter will drop and you will have to wait for it to work its way up again. Even after dealing a successful blow the meter will drop.

Different characters’ attacks consist of different types of Chi and there are meters for Chi too. For example, if a character deals an attack that uses Mountain Chi and that type of Chi drops to zero, he or she can no longer perform such an attack unless some Chi is restored, either by waiting or using an item.

I really think the battles are a handful; too much to think about if you ask me, and then I haven’t even mentioned all there is. But let me just say this; if you succeed in performing a combo attack, bravo. I only managed to do it once and I found it to be so hard that I decided not to use it at all.

Honestly, I have to say that Magna Carta didn’t bring me much to cheer about. During the hours that I played there was only one song from the soundtrack that I liked. The story, I’m sure it’s there, but it wasn’t anything special to me. None of the characters were something out of the ordinary, which was sad, that means none of them got to live up to their fancy, cool artwork. In fact, during the holidays when I thought I’d be gaming the most, taking a break from MC for X-mas, I never found my way back to it afterwards. Ultimately, MC was not what I had hoped for. It has some new ideas for sure, but they need to be presented in a better, more gamer-friendly way. If you got some money for X-mas, I suggest you don’t spend it on this game.

Skriven: 2006-01-04