You Kan Do It!
I sat down with Namco Bandai to explore their latest RPG: MagnaCarta 2. There is a demo on the show floor, roughly 20 minutes long. The demo is basically a snippet of the game with no changes to stats or difficulty of where one is expected to be at this certain point of the game.
The story focuses around Juto, but it seemed that this portion of the game was more focused around a princess and mage with Juto not wanting to be involved at all. The country has fallen into civil war, leaving the princess is a tight situation. Would she attempt to regain the throne stolen from her even if it would cause unnecessary strife for the people fighting for her? For the sake of the demo, the trio must simply embark on a hunt and then return to the castle. During the exploration, there is a small camp with other quests that can be done, but nothing that will expand on the story until the end of the main quest is completed.
Players must select a leader to control, but this can be changed at any time, especially in battle. When in the open field, the monsters are all visible and the party can choose to engage or evade them. Most of the enemies can be outrun, but those that can't have the ability to stun a party member, making it better to fight than keep taking damage trying to run by.
Ma'am, are those ears or crystals?
MagnaCarta 2 has a battle system that is deceptively simple at first, but is actually quite complex. Pressing the left trigger places the party in Battle Mode; weapons drawn and movement is slowed to a walk. Each character needs to build up Kan, an energy force used to use skills and magic. Melee characters store the Kan internally to use their skills, but mages rely on the Kan in the vicinity to create their spells. While their attacks can create Kan in the area, magical Kan is also affected by the environments. With four mages and four elements, the area's Kan will be crucial to what party members should be in the party.
If that wasn't enough to keep the player on their toes during battle, normal attacks are limited by a stamina-like bar that will cause a character to "Over Heat" and become incapacitated for a time. To avoid this, the character should execute a skill near the peak of this bar which initiates a chain. By rapidly switching to another character, a chain can be completed. This second character will enjoy a 50% increase in damage and if they manage to also complete their attacks with a skill, the chain break allows both characters to continue without any penalties. If they fail, both characters are stunned, leaving only the third character to handle the fight until the companions can recover. To be honest, it sounds much harder in text than it is in person, though without this thorough explanation, people struggled to find enjoyment in the battles, getting frustrated by the characters fatiguing constantly. It stops someone from just pounding X through the battles and keeps the game invigorating.
The game has dozens of side quests, some as simple as killing a certain monster for an item and others that are grander in scope such as starting a quest chain that will reveal more about a support character's role in the war. Overall, the game should be about thirty hours long, exploring all the characters stories and a majority of the other side quests. No release date is set for the game yet, but it's currently slated for this Fall.