Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Appreciation of the Past - Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil

Klonoa 2 was the very first game I owned for my PS2. I bought it because I was a huge Sonic fan at the time, and I thought Klonoa looked a lot like Sonic. Little did I know that the game I was about to play wouldn't be a Sonic clone, nor a simple platformer; rather, the game I was about to play would be one of the best gaming experiences of my life, and go a long way in forging the way I see videogames.

Prior to Klonoa 2, the games that I played that I would call charming experiences were limited to those made by Nintendo and Rare. Klonoa 2 changed all that. Similar to Okami, Klonoa took an existing concept and game design from a classic Nintendo franchise and expanded upon it. With Okami it was Zelda, with Klonoa it was Kirby. The game design of using enemies as weapons against other enemies, and the concept of using cute character in a fantastical world to tell a dark story both come from Kirby, and while the game design of Klonoa may not outshine Kirby's, Klonoa truly took its story to amazing heights.

To get the basics out of the way: Klonoa 2 is a superb game in every facet of design. The gameplay is varied and fun, controls are tight, music is excellent and of high caliber, the graphics and art direction are still impressive to this day, and the story is excellent. But what makes Klonoa 2 really stand out is how incredibly focused it's direction is. No level feels like fodder, no cutscene feels unnecessary, and every location and accompanying music feels like it was done with true passion. And that's what Klonoa 2 truly feels like: a work of passion; a term that is very hard to use nowadays on videogames.

The end result of the passionate direction of Klonoa 2 is its greatest strength: its charm. Klonoa 2 tells a fantastic story, accompanied by fantastic music, and superb graphics and art direction. There is nothing numerical or by-the-books with Klonoa 2. It is simply an amazing work of art that not only tells a great story worthy of being told, but plays great music worthy of being heard, in a world worthy of being seen, all on the foundation of gameplay worthy of being played.

Nowadays, so many games feel like chores to play. Videogames people play simply because they don't want to let go of one of their favorite hobbies of their childhood, and developers make simple because they know people will buy them if they put x and y in it. Videogames nowadays are suffering because there is simply little to no passion put into most of them.

Klonoa 2: Lunetea's Veil is not only a classic of videogame history, but it is also a true symbol of how increidbly charming and impactful videogames can be as not just a hobby, but as an art medium. I truly hope the days of games like Klonoa 2 will come again; where videogames are works of passion and not simply a business. If that day never comes, then I can take a note from Klonoa 2's story and remember the sorrow of the moment when passionately made videogames died so that I may remember those happy days of a bygone era forever.

And now to wrap up, one of the stand-out tracks from the superb Klonoa 2 soundtrack:


Thanks Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil. Thanks for starting off my PS2's life with a bang, and giving me one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had.

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