What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord?! 2
For newcomers to this ridiculously titled series, My Lord 2 is a strategic RPG in which you star as the God of Destruction
- Clever dialogue, unique gameplay, additional training modes and Badman's Chamber are invaluable additions
- Story Mode's difficulty is borderline unfair, Monster AI is still too random for effective monster management
Nippon Ichi's madcap sequel features plenty of frantic strategy-oriented gameplay and a wealth of improvements over its predecessor, but What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord?! 2 also features a difficulty curve as steep as the game's title is long.
With the exception of its predecessor, there's probably no other video game in the PlayStation Portable's library that's as frustrating as What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord?! 2. During the course of reviewing this title, no matter how much I'd improved at mastering the core gameplay mechanics, I'd eventually lose. I'd lose often, and I'd lose badly. But despite the teeth-grinding frustration factor, I'd always go back for more punishment because the game was still somehow fun. It may be soul crushingly difficult, but thankfully, My Lord 2 has enough added tweaks this time around to make the experience as enjoyable as it is annoying.
For newcomers to this ridiculously titled series, My Lord 2 is a strategic RPG in which you star as the God of Destruction. As such, it's your job to assist an 8-bit game villain -- a snarky demon called Badman -- as he hides in the Netherworld from a cadre of cookie cutter RPG heroes determined to take him down. By wielding nothing more than a pickaxe, the gameplay revolves around digging out complex dungeons from the Netherworld's soil. By doing this, you'll create a huge variety of monsters that will go forth, multiply, and attempt to stand between the heroes and Badman. Successful dungeon crafters will be able to effectively create massive mazes that result in gruesome death (for the heroes), while novices will usually find their army of slimes and bugs obliterated quicker than ants under a magnifying lens.
Even though I'm a longtime fan of Nippon Ichi Software -- they mostly develop niche RPG titles like Phantom Brave and the Disgaea series -- I absolutely hated My Lord 2's forerunner, which I'll simply call Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! for brevity's sake. Building dungeons and managing a constantly evolving ecosystem of monsters is a tough business, but the last game did little to clue me in on the best ways to manage my minions and summon fearsome beasts like dragons and golems. Every nuance to the gameplay was something I could only learn in defeat, and after the 30th loss, I eventually just went back to playing Lumines and Crisis Core.
But this time, I stuck it out for the long haul, and to my surprise, My Lord 2 actually tried its best to educate me. Not only is the joke-spamming Badman full of helpful hints and running commentary, but My Lord 2 also has plenty of training missions and bite-sized challenge modes that cover key basics, like distributing nutrients throughout your dungeon's soil, complete with diagrams and flow charts. You'll get a good crash course in monster management, and the in-game almanac just begs to be filled with the hundreds and hundreds of slimes, pixies, and lizard-type minions you might find in your dungeon's food chain.
That being said, education only takes you so far, and when the game actually starts, you'll find that trying to balance your monster types is stressful -- especially while knights and mages are slicing a path right though them. Throughout the game's five increasingly difficult worlds I've watched Badman get dragged out of my dungeons more times than I would care to count, but unlike My Lord's predecessor, I actually felt like I improved with practice. With each defeat I suffered, I wondered: maybe I didn't save enough Dig Power to level up my monsters, or perhaps the distribution of my magical nutrients was too low? Even though losing Badman to the heroes is an instant Game Over, the levels are short enough that starting over isn't a big deal, and the truly masochistic RPG crowd might relish the challenge.
To the untrained eye, My Lord 2 looks identical to the first game, but there are lots of subtle changes peppered throughout the experience if you know where to look. Even though the A.I. behind My Lord 2's monsters could still use some adjustment, it's a welcome change that your minions can now mutate based on the ecosystem of your dungeon. Monster types that starve to death grow stronger to resist famine, and other types that get killed off quickly will develop helpful skills like poisonous attacks -- which in turn helps them fend off predators. It doesn't change the overall mechanics too much, but it does provide a little bit of balance -- something that's hard to maintain when you can't really control your individual units.
If you just want to practice without a timed clock or annoying knights and wizards, there's also the new Badman's Chamber, a mode that just lets you dig around a customizable sandbox dungeon free of goals and restraints. Also, the game's dialogue is less obnoxious than that of the original title, and the frequent pop culture references (everything from Star Wars to Puffy AmiYumi jokes) are definitely chuckle-worthy.
Given its PSN price tag, I'd definitely recommend My Lord 2 to hardcore SRPG fanatics in search of a good (yet brutal) challenge. Heck, I'd even recommend the more expensive UMD release of My Lord 2, since it comes packaged with the original Badman. Everyone else, I'll warn you now -- play the demo first before you commit to something you're not ready for. If you can get through the whole sampling without chucking your PSP through the nearest window, then you at least know what's in store for you within the full game
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