Sharpen those pickaxes, because Overlord Badman is back to teach those invading, pesky heroes a lesson. More monsters, updated gameplay dynamics, and a new round of Japanese RPG puns are waiting to be unleashed on your PSP. Are you ready, my Lord?
To spare you from the confusion which greeted me upon review, ‘What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord!? 2’ (‘My Lord 2’) is, in fact, a sequel…albeit of a subtitle. To elaborate, the original ‘Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman!’ got too many DC Comics/WB exec’s tidy-wideys scrunched up over a perceived (‘Batman’) copyright violation, forcing NIS America to lean on its subtitle: ‘What Did I Do Deserve This?’ as namesake for the sequel.
With this knowledge in hand, inevitable gut instinct was to invoke the Pet Shop Boys song not far removed from its new title, an action resulting in an 80’s pop song being stuck in my head for an astonishing three days. But I digress.
Whatever the heck they want to call it, ‘My Lord 2’ is a ridiculously fun – and quite challenging – real time strategy game with strong Japanese undertones. A great sense of humor powers the title, with both homage and rib jabbing at the Japanese RPG (JRPG) genre a constant companion. My Lord’s monster almanac is arguably laugh-out-loud funny for veteran gamers apt to catch most of the puns.
For those who missed the first iteration, the premise of My Lord 2 is fairly straightforward: as ‘God of Destruction,’ engender a monster-based, dungeon ecosystem to defeat Overlord Badman’s nemeses of ‘hero’ invaders.
In practice, however, My Lord 2 is anything but a casual dungeon stroll, instead comprised of a fairly complex monster evolution scheme capable of adaptation, evolution and food chain dynamics. Moreover, each hero is unique in attack style (including a new sequenced, ‘rush’ approach), path of preference and offense/defense norms. This is a deep engine, to say the least.
While I’ve been called out by Extreme Gamer readers for an occasional struggle with learning curve, in contrast to other site’s reviewers, I found no such cranial hiccup upon entry to My Lord 2. (Touche’, my readership friends.) Backed by a very deep tutorial system, trial and error ‘chamber’ mode, and appropriately named ‘challenge’ series, the story portion of My Lord 2 emerged as fairly intuitive from the get-go. This is not to say I didn’t struggle along the way, but the road there was yellow brick.
Gameplay is logical. Hack away at a limited numbers of squares to unleash either monsters or supporting nutrients and/or mana. Nourish squares with the latter to unleash more powerful monsters…that eventually dine on the smaller ones. Changes in ecosystem – i.e. gaps in the food chain, invader strengths, etc. – result in monster mutations. Much like the Galapagos, certain mutations are more desirable than others based on situation. Several failures later, it becomes readily apparent that a sound monster nurture strategy can swing Badman-approved Darwinism your way.
Thankfully, an always-available monster ecosystem continuum ensures your dungeon doesn’t become accidentally overrun by a food chain gone horribly awry. Giant Lizardmen are helpful, but it takes a dungeon village, people.
Now the thing about My Lord monsters is that they’re…well…ridiculously cute. Even the lowest level slime has enormous amounts of personality (‘personality goes a long way,’ said the great Samuel L. Jackson), ditto the level 4 dragon hell bent on incinerating everything in its path yet with a cheek pinching smirk. Rejoice! NIS America touts 2x the heroes, 3x the monsters and 4x the levels from My Lord 1 to 2. Having not played the original, I’ll take their word for it.
And now, the low point of the review. While well thought out, My Lord 2, however, can become quickly chaotic. It’s near impossible to stay on top of a well-developed dungeon…especially one where an ecosystem erodes out of control. Once invaders enter the scene, chaos multiplies exponentially.
Also, My Lord 2 touts a new ‘dungeonquake’ system to stop unwanted mutation in its tracks and/or stall invading heroes. Having tried it several times, the benefits of this addition remain unclear.
While on the topic of constructive criticism and honoring its JPRG 2-D roots, there’s nothing extraordinarily pretty about My Lord 2 either visually or audibly. It is what it is, seemingly as at home on a SNES as a PSP. Retro cool is still ‘cool,’ but be appropriately prepared not to be wow’ed.
Finally and based on presentation style plus similarity to its predecessor, I confess a bit of sticker shock at the somewhat high price point of My Lord 2 at $30. The retail version, however, comes equipped with the original My Lord, softening the blow slightly. Still, not really sure why one would want to drive the free, used jalopy as a throw-in to the new GMC Yukon.
What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord?! 2 for the PSP is a surprisingly deep and humorous real time strategy title well fitted for Sony’s portable. Both a higher than average learning curve and surprising price point are overcome by a slew of game modes plus free version of the first My Lord offering.
Gameplay:8.2, Graphics:6.5, Sound:6.3, Innovation:8.0, Mojo:8.1 Final: 7.4 / 10
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 05.13.10