It’s getting to the stage now, with the sheer number of KEMCO retro-styled JRPG games that have been released, that I’m struggling to come up with a witty introduction to them. I guess therefore it’s best to just stick to the facts with this one: Alphadia Genesis 2 is, unsurprisingly, the follow up to 2020’s Alphadia Genesis, a game that has been around on mobile platforms prior to the first one rocking up on console. However, it’s not all just a copy and paste job, and as is usual with a KEMCO follow-up, the cast of characters that you control varies this time around. The story is different too.
In fact, the tale told in Alphadia Genesis 2 is very much a David and Goliath one. The Empire, while claiming to protect its citizens and white Energi bearers everywhere, has launched a campaign of genocide against the Atramians, who carry Black Energi. With me so far? The Empire is carrying out its policy of extermination, village by village, and when they come to Pholus, the only survivor is the village mayor’s son, a young man by the name of Dion. Swearing revenge on the empire and on Prince Julius in particular who led the attack on his village, Dion must traverse the world, gathering allies and helpers in order to challenge the Empire and save his people.
Luckily, as he travels to various Atramian towns and villages, which are kept hidden away from the Empire’s gaze from fear of attack, Dion does find people he can rely on. Every town he visits seems to have an issue with a monster in a nearby location, and of course the only way that the mayors of these towns will believe that he has the necessary determination to fight the Empire is for Dion to go and slay said beastie. As he prepares to go and do this, the person he has met in the town will inevitably join him to assist. We first meet Chiffon, a young girl with a royal bloodline, then Elize, the inevitable sex crazed innuendo machine (there’s one in every KEMCO title) and finally Faulkner, a wandering knight who is happy to lend his sword to Dion’s cause.
Now, as you’d expect, there is a progression system in place for these characters, and while it is an undeniable grind (a complaint I had about the original game as well, incidentally) it is quite rewarding. Each character can be equipped with up to two orbs, which teach different fighting styles and magic, depending on what they have installed. Dion comes with a Fighter orb, Chiffon as a Healer, Elize with an Energist orb, and Faulkner is powered by the Knight orb. These orbs also level up as your characters do, gaining new attacks and skills in the process. For instance, Dion has learnt a very useful attack called Shockwave which hits all the enemies on the screen, doing good damage. Tailoring your team is therefore fairly easy, as you can choose how many healers to have, for instance. With new armour and weapons to buy and find in dungeons, you’ll soon be tooled up and ready to take on the world.
Combat this time around, either on the world map or in the locations you visit, is in a 3D style, similar to the original game. This time though there is a new function which allows you to boost attacks; displayed next to each character’s health bars. Each turn one bar is filled, and you can either expend it or, if you choose, decide to defend, allowing the bars to soon stack up. Using five bars to boost skills gives different effects: for an offensive skill, it increases the damage, while for a defensive or stat-raising skill, it extends the duration or the healing effect, say. The management of the bars soon becomes all-consuming, as certain skills can only be used with a certain number of boost bars.
Other than this, Alphadia Genesis 2 is pretty much business as usual, with the standard options of attack, item, defend, Energi (special attacks) and each character’s Special Skills. Honestly, with a little fiddling in the menus and setting of the characters to perform as you want, the majority of the battles can be left on auto pilot.
Graphically, this sequel is the same as the previous umpteen KEMCO games: a retro-styled, 16-bit-type game. The character art is up to the usual standards, and the monster designs are okay as well, with a particular favourite being the Penglion, which is as bonkers as it sounds. Everything else is KEMCO standard, but this time at least the diagonal walking issue seems to have been solved. Of course, sailing a boat on a diagonal looks a bit odd, as it slides through the water sideways, but other than that all is well.
However, this is yet another KEMCO title that comes with Series X|S branding, and personally I feel this is a bit of a joke – it doesn’t support quick resume or use any of the power of the Series X, but does have to be installed on the limited, and increasingly full, internal storage.
Thankfully Alphadia Genesis 2 is an improvement over the first game. It seems to run more smoothly, and the story is a good one. It is still riddled with RPG cliches and as such really can’t be classed as in any way, original. However, if you are looking for an inoffensive way to kill a few hours, you could do worse than to spend a little time with Dion and his squad in Alphadia Genesis 2.
Alphadia Genesis 2 can now be purchased on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One