Tag Archives: PlayStation 2

Burnout 2: Point of Impact – They Don’t Make ‘Em Like This Any More

A few days before writing this, I must confess that I hadn’t played Burnout 2: Point of Impact for quite some time. I had fond memories of the series as a whole, but hadn’t revisited any of them — including last installment Paradise — for many years.

Recording an episode of The MoeGamer Podcast on arcade racers (which you can watch and/or listen to right here) inspired me to dig out some old favourites, though — and Burnout 2 was high up my priority list.

After several hours of utter racing joy flew by without me noticing, it made me realise — or perhaps recall — that Burnout 2: Point of Impact is one of the finest arcade racers ever created. And even with the recent resurgence of interest in the genre thanks to spunky indies, they really do not make ’em like this any more. Let’s take a closer look.

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short;Play: Joust 2 – Survival of the Fittest

We’re going retro for this week’s short;Play, with one of the many games in the first Midway Arcade Treasures compilation for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube. (There’s also a PSP version, but that’s slightly different.)

Joust 2: Survival of the Fittest perhaps hasn’t aged as well as some other arcade classics due to its monstrous level of quarter-munching difficulty, but it’s an interesting game that doesn’t get a lot of acknowledgement, while its predecessor is very fondly regarded. This may partly be due to the fact that Joust 2 didn’t get any home ports, while the original Joust was on pretty much everything.

Anyway, it’s an interesting curiosity if nothing else, so check it out in the video below to find out more. And don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube when you’re done!

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 5: Mana Khemia 2 – Fall of Alchemy

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It’s almost time to bid farewell to the PlayStation 2 era of the Atelier series — but not before we’ve spent some time celebrating the music of the game that ended this distinctive part of the series’ history.

Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy features some magnificent tunes to accompany the action, building on the good work that Gust’s sound team did in Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm and Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis while bringing a few of its own distinctive stylistic aspects to the table, too.

Without further ado then, crank up that volume (or plug in some good headphones) and let’s get listening!

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Life on the Light Side

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It’s interesting how seeing the same events unfold from a different perspective can provide an alternative spin on things.

This is most certainly the case with Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy. Because although male protagonist Raze lives through the exact same bizarrely eventful school year as his counterpart Ulrika, the company he keeps and the context in which he experiences those events makes for a markedly different playthrough.

So, if you were wondering if you should indulge in the game’s excellent New Game Plus mode in order to experience the second protagonist’s story after clearing the first, the answer is a definitive “yes”. Let’s take a closer look at Raze’s route — and the “Extra” scenario that unlocks after you beat both playthroughs.

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Waifu Wednesday: Whim

Who doesn’t love a good maid? Everyone loves a good maid. And the only thing that can make a good maid even better is if she’s 1) a bit cheeky and 2) a manifestation of spiritual, elemental energy in service of the resident ojou-sama.

Well, okay, there are other things that can make a good maid even better, but if we get into that we’ll be here all day. So for the sake of today’s celebration of awesome female characters in gaming, let’s assume all of the above is true, and let me introduce you to Whim.

Whim is an water-attuned Mana who serves Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy’s resident lovestruck princess, Lilianne “Lily” Valendorf, and forms part of the main cast of playable characters in male protagonist Raze’s route. Let’s take a closer look!

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Doing New Game Plus Right

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Once you beat Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy once, you could quite feasibly leave it behind and feel like you’ve had a good experience. You’ll have enjoyed a 40-50 hour RPG, and you’ll have seen the story wrap up in a satisfactory manner.

It doesn’t have to end there, though. There’s a second protagonist to play through as, and while that protagonist passes through the same dungeons as the first over the course of the game, their core narrative is completely different and they have a whole other supporting cast — and, this being an Atelier game, they have their own unique items to craft, too.

For some people, being asked to play through a whole RPG again is a hard sell, though — even if said replay offers mostly new experiences. How can you convince people to keep playing after the credits have rolled for the first time? Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy provides a great example of how a good New Game Plus mode can keep players engaged in the long term without feeling like you’re retreading old ground.

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Special Measures in the Darkness

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Unlike the previous Atelier games that we’ve explored so far, Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy features two discrete narrative paths to follow, plus an “Extra” path once you’ve cleared them both that provides a “true” ending.

Your first playthrough of the game will likely take about 40 hours or so, but your second run with the other of the two protagonists will go by a little more quickly, since you can carry over almost everything from your first playthrough — including the recipes you’ve previously synthesised to unlock cards in the characters’ Grow Books. Expect to still spend another 20-30 hours though.

The two paths cover similar “macro” events and converge at the very end, but they are presented from very different perspectives, with a completely different set of characters at the forefront of the action and a unique series of events on the more “micro” scale. With that in mind, today we’re going to focus on the route fronted by female protagonist Ulrika, and follow up with male protagonist Raze’s narrative path — and the true ending — in a subsequent part. So grab your books and warm up your cauldron; it’s time to enrol in the Alchemy class.

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Waifu Wednesday: Chloe Hartzog

The Atelier series has always been full of excellent female characters. And they’re all much more than just a pretty face.

Chloe Hartzog from Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy is a prime example. In fact, Chloe is particularly noteworthy because of the deliberate choice to make her embody pretty much the polar opposite of almost everything one thinks of when one contemplates a “pretty anime girl” supposedly on the side of the protagonist.

That, of course, makes her supremely interesting. So let’s take a closer look!

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Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy – Back to School

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After the Atelier Iris subseries marked a period of dabbling with a more “traditional” RPG-style structure, Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis demonstrated a clearly defined shift back towards Atelier’s roots. And Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy continues that trend.

Indeed, while the three Atelier Iris games are largely unrelated to one another — aside from some long-term lore connections between Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana and Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny — Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy returns to the series’ original model of installments in the same subseries standing by themselves as self-contained narratives, but unfolding in the same world about 5-10 years later.

As the title suggests, time has not been especially kind to the world of Mana Khemia, but that’s part of what makes what’s going on here so interesting. Let’s take a first look!

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Waifu Wednesday: Ulrika Mulberry

With Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis done and dusted, this week we’re turning our attention to its direct sequel, Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy.

And where better to begin taking a look at this game than with an appreciation of the main female protagonist, one Ulrika Mulberry? After all, we’ve had four Atelier games in a row with a male lead, so it’s about time we let the ladies take the spotlight once again.

Okay, yes, Mana Khemia 2 also has male protagonist Raze, but we’re all about Ulrika today. Hit the jump to find out more!

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