Published by Ubi Soft and developed by Genki for the Playstation One, Jade Cocoon 2 was released on December 17, 2001. It is the sequel to the JRPG Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu, but with changes to the gameplay. Receiving mostly positive reviews, it had a better reception from fans than its predecessor.
Jade Cocoon 2: An Evolution or a Regression?
A Young Man With A Dream
Taking place 100 years after the end of the prequel, Jade Cocoon 2 focuses on the story of aspiring Cocoon Master Kahu. Unfortunately for Kahu, the time of Cocoon Masters has long been over, with Beasthunters taking their place. After meeting his hero Levant at the Temple of Kemuel, our protagonist decides to undergo a licensing exam in order to become a Beasthunter.
However, tragedy strikes as he becomes cursed from touching a fairy cocoon at the end of the exam. Nico, the fairy resident of the cocoon, informs him that unless he undoes the curse his body will be overcome by darkness and he will die. Levant tells Kahu that by seeking out the four orbs in the elemental forests, he will be able to undo the curse. Kahu then sets out to not only save himself but unknowingly to save the world.
To Become The Best: Monster Breeding and Arena Fighting
Jade Cocoon 2 has completely revamped the game mechanics and has given players a new look at monster training. The goal now is to achieve the highest ranking for a Beasthunter through collecting monsters, training and evolving them, and fighting in arena-style battles. A higher rank allows for more difficult missions, but much higher rewards.
To obtain monsters, the player must acquire eggs from the forest or from completing missions. When obtained, the eggs are to be taken inside the temple to be hatched. There are different races of monsters, each with its own diverse elemental breeds. Battling monsters raises their experience and will lead them to evolve, similarly to how Pokemon works. You can acquire Kalma in the forest to merge with your monsters, making them bigger, and stronger. Kalma are the main enemies of the game, who are trying to invade the human world by disguising themselves as Beasthunters.
The upgrade in monster-raising mechanics is a welcome addition. The added complexity makes the experience more enjoyable, through the anticipation of getting to see what the final monster form looks like. Like pokemon, you become a bit addicted to trying to collect them all. The creating random monsters from merging mechanic is gone, but it has been replaced by evolution.
Strategic Monster Roulette Battling
The amulet is composed of four sections: Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Each element has its own strengths and weaknesses. Water monsters are healers, Air monsters are elusive and cause status effects, Fire monsters have a high attack power, and Earth monsters are strong defensively. The strategy is to use each monster’s strengths to overcome the enemy. The player can use items to aid their monsters, as well as damage the opponent.
I really enjoyed the aspect of strategy added to the battling system. Also, being able to use up to eight monsters at a time makes collecting them more enjoyable. The Playstation Two really helps brings the monsters to life graphically, with their design, movements, and attacks. The attacks are still very basic and very limited graphically. The music is good and fits the mood. The sounds are intense and serious, or loose and goofy depending on the situation. The game feels very anime-like in sound and in the voice acting. Like the original, the voice acting does each character justice and exemplifies their personalities.
You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours
Beasthunters act as a community within the temple, providing advice for the player, offering missions, and challenging Kahu within the forests. The fellow hunters each have their own personalities, which makes them interesting and tolerable. On the bulletin board, they will offer you missions for rewards as well as raising your hunter points. The missions are pretty straightforward, but sometimes one appears with a rare reward. These missions are a good way to gain money, items, and hunter points, but sometimes they can be repetitious and uninteresting. Collecting five herbs for money is nowhere near as inviting as finding a rare action figure for a rare egg reward. This is a good way to get those harder-to-find monsters.
Sometimes change isn’t a good thing; however, in this case, the revamping of mechanics has provided a more enjoyable experience. It doesn’t hurt that the game came out for the Playstation Two, giving it better graphics and designs. This sequel is more in-depth and provides a longer experience with the side quests and arena add-on. If you not a fan of JRPG grinding or monster capture games, then this one might not be for you.