Like many other role-playing game series whose games have nothing to do with each other, Magnacarta 2 is set in a brand-new world with a different set of characters. Developed by SoftMax, which worked on Magna Carta: Tears of Blood for the PlayStation 2, the second installment does, however, revisit familiar themes like love, hate, betrayal, and politics. At Namco's press event yesterday, we got a brief glimpse of the new combat system, which is designed to keep the battles fast-paced and exciting. Namco also showed off a new trailer, which you can see below.
The story takes place on the Lanzheim Continent, where people are fighting against one another in a civil war. Juto is the main character of the story, with a destiny he must face. The story revolves around him as well as a female character, and you'll watch as they grow and ultimately confront their individual fates. The characters are designed by a well-known Korean artist, Hyung-Tae Kim, so you'll notice a distinct style that blends Japanese manga and realism for a unique look. The final version will also have fully voiced dialogue to accompany all the sweeping CGI cutscenes.
Beyond the trailer and the opening cutscene, we didn't get to experience much of the story firsthand. But we did get a quick walk-through in regard to the combat system. Battles are a blend of real-time combat with turn-based elements. You control one character at a time in real time and approach enemies as they appear onscreen. You have a party of three (with a total of six characters to choose from), and you can cycle through each of your active party members at any given time. The screen will slide off to the left, with another taking its place, which is a little disorienting at first because you don't normally see fancy transitions like this when you're swapping characters on the same screen. You can chain with only two characters, and how it works is that each time you attack, you build up your stamina gauge. Once it's full, you enter an overdrive mode, which is when your other party member should immediately follow up with attacks. Your second character should be close to overdrive as well, in order to get an attack bonus, as well as reset your gauge. This sounds a bit complicated, and you might need to play it a few times to get the timing right. Doing this correctly seems to take a bit of practice, and there's some risk involved. If you mistime your attack, both of your characters can overheat, leaving them useless and stunned until they recover. However, if you successfully chain an attack, you can easily double the damage you're dealing.
Like in the previous game, the storyline is fairly linear, but you will have the opportunity to wander off the beaten path to take on optional side quests. There is more than 40 hours of gameplay, and you have the ability to customize your weapons and your character's skill set. Your team also levels in the traditional manner, gaining experience after each fight evenly, while your inactive characters gain a percentage of the total. We'd like to see more gameplay and test it out for ourselves. For now, it looks like Magnacarta 2 is scheduled for an Xbox 360-only release sometime later this year.