Sony had a build of Level 5's Dark Cloud 2 on display today at its Gamers' Day event, but unfortunately, the build had only a few dungeon levels and a town area. The first dungeon we traveled through was located in a series of dark caves, while the second was in a lush forest. Unfortunately, none of the city-building modes appeared to be in this particular build.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the original game and its sequel is the graphics. Instead of simply using color polygonal graphics, Level 5 has opted to use cel shading on the main characters, the enemies, and some parts of the environment. The result is a much more colorful and cartoonish style that is similar to Klonoa's art design, especially on the two main characters we've seen so far.
The battle in Dark Cloud 2 takes place in real time. When you're walking through an environment, a map will be displayed on the right side of the screen, indicating where treasure chests and monsters are located. When you engage a monster, you can lock on to it (though you don't actually have to) and hit the attack button repeatedly to launch into a series of weapon strikes. Some enemies can counter your combinations and sneak a quick hit in, but you can prevent this from happening by pressing the block button and then initiating the combination again. At this point, it takes a little while to get used to the combat system, since your character won't automatically stop in the middle of a combination, but we eventually started to get a feel for the timing.
Dark Cloud 2 is currently scheduled for release late this year or early 2003.