Evolution II Preview


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Many gamers were surprised when Ubi Soft picked Evolution, the first traditional RPG for the Dreamcast in Japan, for a US release. A solid, if unspectacular, game, Evolution provided entertaining, if limited, dungeon exploring for new DC owners with an RPG thirst. Recently, developer Sting and publisher ESP released the sequel, appropriately titled Evolution 2, in Japan. As it did with the first game, Ubi Soft has swept in with the safety net and scooped up Evolution 2: Far Off Promise for the US.

Currently, the localization process is 66 percent complete, with voice-overs and menu translation being Ubi Soft's main focus. The entire crew returns, with Mag leading the way. A character named Yurka is new to the game and has suspicious motivations, which will be revealed as the story progresses.

The look of the game is similar to the first, and the game features a new third-person perspective, a longer, more involved storyline, VMU support, and puzzles that are more integral to the plot. Hundreds of new artifacts and randomly generated dungeons are also part of the mix. Unlike the first game, Evolution 2 has preset dungeons - a welcome addition. Battles will take place during night and day, and the characters have been redesigned.

Hands-on gameplay reveals that the game is much like the first. After a short FMV opening, the battle engine functions how you'd expect. It's turn-based and standard for the genre. The new third-person perspective adds to the exploration side, and some of the spell effects have been ramped up for greater impact. This time around, the game supports the VGA box from the get-go (the original Japanese version did not, although the American version did), so gamers with PC monitors hooked up to their Dreamcasts will get to play the game in true high-res glory.

Evolution 2 is scheduled to arrive on store shelves this July, so it's only a few more months before DC owners will have another RPG to sink their teeth into.

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