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Evolution 2: Far Off Promise (Dreamcast) artwork

Evolution 2: Far Off Promise (Dreamcast) review


"Sometimes, you just need to take a break from playing all those "complicated" RPGs. Ya know, the ones that span over fifty or sixty hours, and have battle systems that take at least an hour or two to get used to? Yeah, those RPGs. You need to escape from them every once and awhile and play something simple, something short, and something fun. Evolution 2: Far Off Promise could've been one of those games: it's short, it's simple...... but it's not fun. Which is very unfortunate, because it..."



Sometimes, you just need to take a break from playing all those "complicated" RPGs. Ya know, the ones that span over fifty or sixty hours, and have battle systems that take at least an hour or two to get used to? Yeah, those RPGs. You need to escape from them every once and awhile and play something simple, something short, and something fun. Evolution 2: Far Off Promise could've been one of those games: it's short, it's simple...... but it's not fun. Which is very unfortunate, because it really had potential to be a very enjoyable title. But, somehow, they managed to screw it up.

The game starts off promising, with Mag Launcher, accompanied with his friends, reaches the town of Museville, where he accepted an unknown request from the Society museum. As you enter the town, the first thing that immediately catches your attention is the music. A beautiful piano tune will accommodate your party of three as you roam around Museville, exploring every nook and cranny of this very small community. Eventually, you'll reach the museum, where the music switches to a very happy and upbeat melody. As you reach President Whitehead's (no kidding) office, you'll find out why you were called here in the first place: you must find various prehistoric appraisal items from different dungeons and ruins. Of course, you'll be paid handsomely for your troubles.

Obviously, Mag is up to the challenge. I mean, there wouldn't be much of a game if he wasn't. And from that point, you go onto your first task: conquering the Blaze Ruins, a five-story high, ancient...ruin. Spending some time on the first floor will show you most of what you'll be going through throughout the rest of the game. You'll notice that all of the enemies are visible, so you won't have any anxiety attacks about not knowing when the next battle's gonna smack you in the face. This gives you a couple of different choices when approaching a battle: face the enemy head on and have a head to head fight, sneak up from behind for a surprise attack, or, if you're clumsy, have these creatures do the same to you. Of all these picks, though, you'll most likely choose to creep up on them. This gives venturing these mazes an added "stealth" element to it, since you'll have your party carefully travel into unknown territories, sneaking up on (hopefully) unsuspecting enemies.

Once you actually get into a fight, you'll be greeted with a really easy and bare bones turned-based battle system. With such simple commands as "attack", "defend", and "items", you'll get the hang of it before the first battle is over. Going along with the simpleness of the battle system are the not so frightful creatures that you fight. From the bats and turtles of the first ruins, to the bugs, spiders, and mushrooms that roam the later dungeons, you won't fight anything menacing or challenging until the final dungeon. And if it weren't for the special skills that you possess, the majority of the fights would be quite boring to watch. While not as "epic" as some of the special attacks in other RPGs, they still pack quite a graphical punch. From Mag's Sledgehammer attack that knocks foes into outer space, Chain's Air Dive where she....dives onto the enemy with a strong explosion, to Gre's skill where he serves his Phage Casserole to the enemy to lower their attack parameter. Another thing that keeps each battle lively is the very energetic and triumphant theme that plays throughout the whole thing. You'll never get tired of hearing it.

Well, the game seems pretty decent so far, right? I mean, it has a whimsical vibe to it, pleasing music, simple battle system, eye-candy special attacks.... so, what's wrong with E2? The dungeons. They're d... no, they're so repetitiously du... mmm, that won't work, either.... ah, here's the word: they're EXPLODINGLY DULL. Of course, you probably won't realize this when going through the first dungeon's five floors. It's the second dungeon, the Forest Depths, where you'll notice this horrible truth. Sure, it's a different setting, with different, slightly more tougher creatures, but it's the same exact thing you'd went through in Blaze Ruins. The only noticeable difference is that they added five more floors. It may not seem like a big deal, but it starts setting in as to how boring the game is when you reach the six or seventh floor. You'll realize that you've been doing the exact same thing in every friggin floor: run down a long corridor, fight enemy, continue running down corridor, enter a small room, fight enemy, exit room, run down another long corridor, go up to the next floor, repeat for the next ten floors.

But if the Forest Depths wasn't enough to make some people stop playing, the next dungeon, Crypt Maze, will do the trick. This fifteen-floor, icy behemoth of a maze will make or break a gamers patience. To add to the frustration of going through all those floors is how long most of them take. Seriously, I was stuck on the tenth floor for thirty minutes. Hell, at some put in the dungeon, I started feeling claustrophobic, fearing that I would never finish the damn thing and be stuck in between these frozen corridors forever. The next dungeon afterwards is a bit more bearable, but, it's no different than the last three you've conquered. Despite the minor changes each dungeon has from one another, it's not enough to hide the repetitive dungeon layout that plagues all of them.

It's a shame, really. Evolution 2 had such a huge potential to be a short, enjoyable experience, but the developers really screwed it up with the horrible dungeon design. It would've been nice if another sequel came out, just to see if they would improve or do things differently, but since the last new Evolution game came out in 2000 (not counting the port, Evolution Worlds, for the GameCube), that seems unlikely. Maybe it's for the best. And yes, I know this could be labeled as a "beginners RPG", what with it being easy and all, but I highly doubt you wanna recommend this title to people trying to get into role-playing games. It'll most likely drive them away from the genre.

Rating: 4/10

pickhut's avatar
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