8-Bit Adventures 2 Review
Every once in a while, you play a game that transports you to your childhood. I spent many hours exploring the worlds of games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior. Last year I had the opportunity to check out the demo for 8-Bit Adventures 2 by Critical Games, and I was in love. The short demo had me intrigued and excited to learn about these characters and the stories they had to tell. I had to learn more, and being impatient, I instead went back to play the first game to learn anything I could about this pixelated world so I was prepared to jump into 8-Bit Adventures 2.
When 8-Bit Adventure 2 begins, you play as the leading warrior from the first game. I named this character after myself (Alana). To prevent any confusion, I made sure to keep the names consistent between the two. You are wandering through a desert with sand blowing all around you. If you had a chance to play the demo, this section will look familiar to you as this was the playable part. While exploring, you see the skeletons of animals who have perished in these sands. They weren't threatening until one jumped up and started attacking me. This fight is where you will learn the battle system of 8-Bit Adventures 2.
At first, it may seem like any other turn-based RPG you have played in the past, but there are many different things here to make this fighting system unique. The warrior has the option to Attack, Bash, use an Item, or Defend. If you choose to Attack, you can select between a Weak, Normal, or Strong Attack. However, the stronger the attack, the higher the chance you will miss your target and not do any damage. Bash is the special attack, using it has you slamming into the enemy, and there's a chance you will Stun them, making it so they cannot attack for a short time. Abilities allow you to perform an attack that will cost AP (attack points). If you run low on points, they can be replenished by using an Ether or resting at a hotel. Defending not only has you trying to block attacks but will also recover a small amount of HP. You will notice a blue bar at the bottom of the screen when you battle; this bar fills up as you take damage from your enemies. Once complete, you can use an Omega Burst. Each character in your party has a special burst attack; some are status effects, and others do massive damage and reduce the enemy's defence.
In battle, the game utilises a turn system to determine the move/attack order of the enemies and party members. The faster your character is, the sooner they will attack. Specific actions or items can influence this order. Each of the characters has their own special, physical, and passive abilities. Special abilities are attacks you can use during battles that consume AP. As you level up, your characters will learn new moves to use. Physical abilities are unique to that person. For example, Charlie can attack two enemies simultaneously, but the amount of damage is halved between both, still it's nice to damage multiple enemies at once. When you play as the thief — in my game, she's named Terra — she can steal an item from an enemy. This move doesn't always work as some enemies don't have anything you can steal, but when they do, you usually get items like potions or Ethers. If an enemy is carrying a rare item you don't already have, an icon will show beside the enemy's name, so you know they have something you want to steal. Passive abilities are automatic boosts in battle. You don't need to select these ahead of time; they are always on. One of Charlie's abilities is when an enemy hits him, he will counterattack and hit the enemy back, inflicting a percentage of the damage they did to him. As you progress, you will unlock other abilities like being able to team-up with another character or learn to use Augments. Use Augments strategically to give your character — who has them equipped — perks like being immune to confusion, poison, sleep, or increasing magic attacks by 5%. These can be equipped and unequipped as many times as you want as you figure out who will benefit the most from their effects.
In 8-Bit Adventures 2, you can save the game anytime you want. There's nothing more frustrating than losing a bunch of progress because you couldn't find a spot to save your progress. Like in the last game, the super friendly Save Point is here to remind you to do so before a big fight and give you advice on defeating the upcoming baddie. It can also revive all of the smaller enemies in the area. This sounds crazy, but it's beneficial if you are trying to get stronger, build levels, or steal certain items that only the enemy carries. At some points in the game, the Save Point will also help restore your health and AP to prepare you for battle.
After learning how to fight, you are ambushed a gang of skeletons, there is a bright flash of light, and they are all taken down instantly. You see a mysterious figure in the reflection of the warrior's eyes; who is this? We learn that this young child is Glitch, a kid with immense power who can control anyone; he wants revenge against all those who look down on him and believe that he should be killed. People tell him that he is worthless and a mistake, and he feels that if he can't live, why should anyone else be allowed to? It's not fair.
If you have checked out the first game in the series, you will be pleasantly surprised to see characters from the first game appear again and events are referenced here. If you haven't gotten a chance to give it a playthrough, 8-Bit Adventures 2 does a great job at filling you in on anything important that you would have missed. This game takes place two years after the events of 8-Bit Adventures 1. The heroes have defeated the Dust that was consuming parts of the world. Everything in this massive world is back to how it was before the evil Dust took over. The places we visited in the first game are here once again and where they are supposed to be.
After the game's intro with the warrior, we meet Charlie. He is one of four new playable characters. Charlie is an orphan who lives at a castle where Terra has arranged to have all of the town's parentless children attend school and training. Like the main villain, Glitch, Charlie has been treated poorly and made to feel he is worthless and shouldn't even be alive. It's interesting to see these two characters' similarities and differences. The game's title screen shows off how different their lives are. Glitch is sitting on a ledge looking out into a town/factory full of pollution, and he looks like he is glitching, whereas Charlie is looking at a serene and beautiful-looking city.
The story in 8-Bit Adventures 2 is so exciting and compelling; I couldn't wait to learn more! There were times that events occurred that I was thinking, "WTF!! I did not see that coming!" It was widely unpredictable; I loved it! A great story paired with gorgeous 8-bit graphics, fun enemies, and a super catchy soundtrack took me back to when I was a teen, spending all my time playing RPGs on the NES and SNES. Only this time, it is even better with improvements to the gameplay, like being able to save whenever you want, constantly running by holding a button, or the new abilities each character has.
There is so much more to say about this awesome game, but I will leave that for you to discover by playing through it yourself. After playing the demo, I had high expectations and am excited to report that the full game delivers all I had hoped for and more. It’s clear that a lot of time and love went into making this game. If you are a fan of role-playing games, especially retro-inspired ones or great stories, 8-Bit Adventures 2 is a must-play!
8-Bit Adventures 2 (Reviewed on Windows)
Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?
8-Bit Adventures 2 is a beautiful, turn-based RPG inspired by all the classic titles on the NES and improved to make the gameplay even better. This game will have you hooked with a compelling and unique story; it's a must-play!