Pre-ordered the game the day before yesterday from EBGames.com. Gotta love them and that one-night air-mail shipping they have. By ten yesterday my greedy little hands were pawing all over it and anxiously waiting my strategy guide to go with it (JUST to later save my arse). When it arrived I dashed outside, tackled the UPS Man (Who, by now, knows me by name. This could be a sign of an unhealthy relationship with the United States mail-carriers..), and hoarded myself away in my room to unlock the goodies. Imagine my surprise to find that it not only came with my game, but tucked away within the case was a DVD disc with the dub episodes 26 and 27. My heart swelled (Sure, I own all 51 in Japanese, but heck, I enjoy the American too!).
Meh, I’d better watch it or this’ll turn into a freakin’ review for those episodes too.. Mrr..
The opening video is set with the music “Ready Steady Go”, a pleseant change, again, from the first game. It just felt a little more like their normal style (Though, am I the only one getting tired of hearing it by now with the dub? Did they not get permission for the other three openings or something..? XD). Once finished with that your quest ithin the world begins.
Now, perhaps I was expecting too much out of the game, but when the ad reads, “Play the game that follows the series.” on the back, hell, I expect it to follow the series. I wasn’t that disappointed in the beginning. Really.
You begin the game by entering Lior and it starts to play out almost seemingly word-for-word with how the anime went (Sure, in the anime Edward didn’t get ambushed by Leto cult fanatics until LATER, but for the sake of a GAME they had to do it a bit sooner..).. Again, I suppose I began to get high-hopes for it because, naturally, I HAD to run into the ghostie-chick-of-doom (This woman is later to be known as Elma and, since you can read that in the guide inside of the game, I’ll say that wasn’t TOO spoiler-riffic) which was the internal mark that the anime was getting ready to start changing.
After Cornello’s defeat, it did indeed. Unless I SERIOUSLY missed out on something, which I know I didn’t, I don’t think he got sucked into the inky-black-ground when he died. Enter “Mysterious Woman” who hisses like Gollum with a hairball permanently lodged in his throat.
You leave Lior and return to East City to report back to Colonel Roy Mustang because you apparently received summons between one cut-scene and the next. Before you can enter, however, a military limo (As they refer to it.. Personally, I thought it looked like a normal car..) is blown up right before your eyes. Enter Bald, the slightly mental man from episode five. Guess where YOU get to go? Yep, STRAIGHT into the sewers with you!
Thank God down here in the sewers Roy finally comes in after you defeat Bald. This gets you back above ground and in his office with Hughes (Only after a VERY memorable line on Edward’s behalf, “If only your security was as tight as your ass, colonel!”). In the office you continue following the anime, in a way, when Hughes brings up the fact that Scar is on the loose. You inquire about alchemists specializing in biological transmutations and, poof, you are directed to Shou Tucker.
Skipping spoilers there, you end up in an abandoned train-yard, face-to-face with Scar. THAT wasn’t a fun fight.. Though it was pleseant to see not only Roy running to your aide (And, since it was raining, Hawkeye JUST had to point out that he was useless), but Havoc, Armstrong, and Hawkeye. Very nice indeed to see all of these familiar faces. With your automail broken, and Al inable to move, it’s time for you, Al, and Armstrong to migrate back out to Rizenbul (Or however you would enjoy spelling the name of the town. The game calls it “Resembool”, which is TOTALLY new on me..). Again, the familiar faces and scenes smash into you with Winry, Pinako, and even Den appearing.
Of course, it’s also here that we permanently STOP following the anime. Dangit.
You go back to Mysterious Woman and now a NEW Mysterious Man (First called by me “Hottie with the silver hair”. I later learned the name was “Jack Crowley”.. but I think I like my version better).
As to not completely spoil the entire thing, I’ll stop. Afterall, everyone by this point knows all of those anime scenes anyway, so it wasn’t REALLY a spoiler.
Your fighting style in the second game is better than the first. You can do more combination hits with your weapons now than you could then. You can also, at ANY time after learning how, stop running about, jab L2, and yoink either a lance, sword, or hammer out of the ground to weild at your enemies. Veeeeery handy ability. You can also use your alchemy to turn other objects into weapons faster in this game. Now it just takes a single tap of the O button and you have it. No more worries about gauge-filling. Again, handy.
The graphics, in my personal opinion, have improved a bit. They don’t seem as choppy for some reason. Your environments also feel a bit more realistic than the other ones did. I mean, they actually seem REAL..ish. As real as they could get, I suppose.
Music isn’t that annoying this time ‘round. I actually kinda LIKED the music I got, especially the music for some of the boss-fights. For the scenes themselves they WORKED, and I swear some of it was taken straight from the anime. The boss-fight music was upbeat and rock-ish, which somehow always helped when it came to fighting (Didn’t get beaten ONCE in my nine+ hours of playing straight through).
The voice actors also helped with this game. Not only do you just have them voicing the cut-scene videos, every WORD in the game, even when you’re just talking to another person during the game, is spoken now. It gives it a different feel all-together. Personally, it made the experience more enjoyable. It’s also quite addictive to let Edward get hit JUST so I can hear him scream. XD
The dialogue, also, isn’t nearly as annoying as usual. Sure, you still get some cheezy lines (Edward: *In the sewers.* “All’s well that end’s well. That’s for.. Sewer.. *Giggle.*”). but then you get the ones that AREN’T so corny that you don’t expect (Again, see Edward making a comment about Roy’s tight ass).
The only “special” thing that I can see that you get for winning the game would be the ability to now REPLAY the game to unlock the images. From what I squinted at, the unlockable images look more like screen caps than anything. Afterall, during the course of the game, the minute you see an anime-cut scene it’s unlocked and able to be viewed again in your gallery.
Most annoying thing about the game, however? Other than the fact that you REALLY should be able to put a second player as Alphonse? Alphonse himself. The AI is NOT that smart at all. I’ve still not gotten to fight Crowley because he keeps getting blown of ledges. >< Really annoying since I’m too short to reach the level I need to get on by myself. He won’t just randomly appear anymore. THAT annoys me. A lot. That, and, gosh-darnit, I wanna play the game in Japanese so that I can hear Paku! *Whine.*
Overall, however, this is just another one of those games that falls back into that rent it category unless you’re a die-hard an (Such as myself). I’ve nearly won it in less than ten hours gameplay, so most people could win it in two sittings.
So, if you DO get it or rent it, have fun! ..and if I haven’t figured out how to get Al to stop blowing off ledges then.. Help me. XD
Also! If anyone wants transcriptions of the game, I’ll be more than happy to put them up in chapters. I need something to do. =D Just reply and let me know if you want that.