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HawkZombie Says...Decent, Solid, and Entertaining

I actually really enjoyed this game, even though I never played the first one. In fact, since this was a prequel of the first game, it made me want to play the first one! That to me is a signal of an excellent story.

Though, the game isn't all fun and games. I found it a touch easy to out level the content, rendering some fights somewhat trivial, and only a means of eating time as I went from one part of the story to the next. However, while the fights may have been a bit on the bland side, I still found the story very interesting, and unique, even for how standard it was.

Let me explain: You play as characters tasked by the Gods (well, one god) to go out and destroy several evil entities, to save the world. The reward? Become new gods. Seems pretty standard so far. What sets it apart is that it isn't the entities that are actively trying to thwart your progress (if anything, they are a benign, subtle evil. There, but not actively seeking out to do more harm than their presence brings) IT'S THE OTHER GODS. They're jealous because -their- mortals aren't the ones doing all the good deeds.

I won't spoil too much, but I also like how the big bad wasn't really -that- big of a bad. It was all setup for something much worse. Which, I assume, is what is dealt with in the first game.

+Great story
+Good pacing of said story, and character development (for the most part) was well done and solid. Hardly ever felt rushed
+Good map design
+Interesting puzzles (which you can skip if you want!...but who would want to??)
+every two levels gives you enough skill points to learn a new skill, and you can learn (almost) whatever you wish
+All playable characters get full XP (unless dead) after a fight. Makes swapping them out easy and painless
+Can see enemies on the screen, and can avoid encounters

=The world is segmented, so you can't go wandering TOO far off course, and you don't get the ship until the tail-end of the game (to finish up any last minute quests)
=Each character can use two weapons. For some, however, it affects the skills they can use in battle. Respecing is easy, and free, but can be a bit bothersome if you continually swap between weapons for some.
=The end sequence has 11 optional (but not) bosses. They are the only way to get ultimate weapons and armor for each party member

-Screw your five onions
-Fluffy didn't do nearly enough damage for my liking ;P
-Combat can get a bit dull and monotonous after a while, especially if you're a few levels above the dungeon.
-You use every party member for the final battle. While they all gain levels at the same rate you do, if they aren't properly equipped, it can make the fight impossible.

TLDR: Nothing new in terms of RPG plot, but the characters and twists to the plot are what make this journey worth it. The combat can be a little tiresome, but it moves quickly enough to not feel like a chore.