Originally published April 18th 2015 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
Title: Excave II: Wizard of the Underworld
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: 4/2/2015
The main game/story
In my earlier review of the original Excave, I expressed hope that the sequel would come to the North American eShop eventually, due to it looking like a much more expansive game.
…Well, I predicted the future, as one month later here it is! In Excave II, there is a bit more focus to the story compared to the original, the plot this time revolving around mysterious events happening all around the local area, caused by the titular Wizard of the Underworld. Both the male and female protagonist set out to stop his plans, trying to find out what his true intentions are… Pretty simple like the first game, but it does give you more of something to go on. The gameplay is mostly unchanged except for a few helpful additions and the change from a hub world dungeon to a level select screen.
Pretty similar to the original game, meaning there’s no 3D effect, the protagonists and the items look fine, the backgrounds look bland and the enemies have poor animation (Though their animations are slightly improved compared to the original, but not by much.) Menus are mostly the same as the first game, so overall it’s pretty similar to the original in this regard.
Music and Sound:
Some songs and sound effects are recycled from the first game, and while they still sound OK, the new ones that were added for the sequel aren’t quite as memorable as songs from the original game were. Rather disappointing compared to the lively and epic soundtrack of the original game.
By far the biggest improvements in Excave II compared to the original game are the many, many tweaks made to the gameplay experience. Back in my original Excave review, I stated how much I liked the risk and reward gameplay due to the fact that you wouldn’t know exactly when your weapons would break, and the limited inventory space both protagonists had.
Well, in this game they completely changed that, as there are now more items for a better variety, some of which let you deposit your entire inventory into storage in the middle of a dungeon, and your weapons and shields have an endurance bar, meaning you’ll know exactly when to put them away before they become unusable for the rest of the level. Some of the new items such as the elemental spells are also incredibly overpowered, making the bosses much easier than they should be, especially if you find the element they are weak to.
While these are great ideas that make the game less frustrating than the original, it ends up making it a bit too easy in comparison. Yes, you can still repair items like normal, yes you still lose items when you die, and yes you can escape if you are in a desperate situation, but the game ends up losing the risk and reward style that the original game had, which is a shame for those of us that wanted a challenge like the original.
In conclusion, Excave II feels like more of the same in comparison to the original game, which while not entirely a bad thing, still makes the game feel a bit repetitive after playing the original game, even with it’s new improvements.
I would recommend this more over the original if it wasn’t for one major factor; the game will cost you $10.00 to buy, compared to Excave’s $5 price tag. While it does have a bit more content and more variety than the original, it also ends up sacrificing the risk and reward aspect that the original game did so well with. Therefore, I give Excave II a 7 out of 10. I can only recommend this to fans of the original Excave that won’t mind the decreased difficulty level, along with newcomers to dungeon crawler games in general, as it will be a great introduction for you in that case.
Thanks to Bergsala Lightweight for the review code.