Double Your Ninja, Double Your Fun

I don’t think that will ever win any awards as an advertising jingle, but it’s a good enough motto to live by.

Izuna 2 certainly tries to live by it, and I’m trying to decide whether that’s a good thing or not.

Only controlling one character in the first Izuna had a couple of drawbacks, the biggest one being that, if you got killed in a dungeon, you lost everything you had in inventory.

There was also a slightly more subtle problem resulting from its system of weapon affinity.  See, the game rewarded you for always using the same weapon – the longer you had something equipped and were using it to hit things, the better you got with it.  You could, at least according to the manual, transfer affinity from one weapon to another by using a talisman, but I never figured out how to do it.

Unfortunately, this also meant that I had to pass up all the assorted bane-type weapons I found in later dungeons – bane weapons being those that were weaker against most critter types but strong against one particular one.  It was better just to keep an all-around-average sword equipped.

Izuna 2 introduces the idea that you’re going to bring a partner with you into dungeons – not that you’ll be controlling them both at once, but you can switch who you’re controlling and if the character you’re controlling gets killed the other automatically comes into play.

This has a lot of potential.  First, it means that one “oops, I was trying to run away from monsters and ran in to some other monsters” isn’t necessarily a crushing defeat.  Since “oops, I was trying to run away from monsters and ran in to some other monsters” was my normal death in the first game, this is a Good Thing.  When Izuna hits the deck, I’ve got someone there to carry on – or, at least, use an escape item before both characters eat dirt.

AND it means that I can give the “backup” character a bane weapon, switch to that character whenever I’m fighting something of the appropriate type, and get the double benefits of high weapon affinity and enhanced damage from the bane weapon.

Also, as long as both characters are still alive, they are charging a “tag attack gauge”, and when that fills you can perform pair attacks that hit everything in the room for, as the kids say, MASSIVE DAMAGE.

I quite like the pair attacks.  They’ve got a little animation sequence associated with them – Izuna 2 really does raise the bar over the first game in terms of art – and they’re flashy.  Flashy is fun.

On the other hand, the two-ninjas-one-dungeon approach does have a big drawback: only the character actually in use at any given time gets experience.  The backup character just kind of follows you around without learning anything from it, which is really pretty unusual for RPGs.  Usually, your “B” team gets at least a little experience so they’re not completely useless if you decide to switch them in.

So, if you want to use both characters and actually have the second one be worth half a darn when you’re using them, you have to level them individually – pretty rough considering that the original Izuna already had a ton of grinding and you were only leveling one character.

Your characters also all share the same amount of inventory space, which is a very harsh constraint.  You get twenty inventory slots total, which includes both equipped items and general inventory, so if your backup character has one weapon and one defensive item, that’s two less pieces of loot you can pick up in the current dungeon.

I think the only sane thing to do is to pick one backup character and try to keep them roughly level-equivalent, while leaving the rest of the backup characters back in the caravan.  It’s a shame – I’m deliberately passing up the chance to have a ninja maid tag along – but it’s much less painful than trying to keep everyone up to par.

This entry was posted in nds, videogames. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.