I briefly got to try out Mana Khemia 2, during our trip to NISA. I really didn't get to see much of the story, and I don't have a history with the series so I won't be to share how this game stacks up in that department. On the other hand, I did spend a decent amount of time out in the field trying out the battle system first hand.
I ran around as the male lead character, from what I understand there is both a female and male protagonist each with differing motivations and quests. The first thing I noticed was that the little 2-D sprite moved fairly quickly across the field, and that he was quite a good jumper. Those jumping skills came in handy in the field while I searched for enemies and treasure. The dungeon itself was a moonlit seaside forest full of monsters which were visible on the field, mainly gelatinous blobs. There was some very light platforming in the forest, but it was enough help keep me interested in the dugeon as I jumped from rock to rock.
One thing I can say for sure even with out a solid grasp of the series, story, or characters, is that the combat is fast, flashy, and engaging. I like that as soon as I entered a command, my characters wasted no time executing a flashy attack then moving on to the next character. Speaking of flashy, the skills I had at my disposal for each character where both effective and pretty to look at. The pretty archer girl in particular had an interesting set of attacks as her main weapon doubled as a chakram and a bow and arrow, which gave me some interesting combo options. All in all, my time with the demo was too brief for me to reach the end of the dungeon or to get to any real story sequences. Although, I can honestly say that I wasn't bored and had some fun, especially when I found a secret spot in the forest to go fishing. Jolly good fun!
Michael: Much like Emanuel, I had never actually played either of the prior versions of Mana Khemia, so I didn't have any expectations going into the demo of Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy. The most impressive aspect of the game for me was the speedy combat system. Enemies appear on the map as you explore, but with precise enough timing, you could press a button and avoid combat completely. If you weren't fast enough, you'd have to go into combat where your team of four would quickly beat on the enemies. Characters can assist each other and can swap in and out of the battle party. Special attacks were very flashy and effective, making the game really enjoyable. I didn't try any other areas of the game, but from what little time I spent with the battle system, I'm now ready to give the game a shot when it releases in August.