One year, four months, and thirteen days ago I gave my opinion on Mana Khemia ~Alchemists of Al-Revis~, a title I described as “the union of several good ideas other games had but never put together before.” It was a strangely-worded explanation of a strangely attractive game; none of what I played then was all that new or unique, but so many elements came together into a deceptively entertaining gestalt that, frankly, I didn’t care. Mana Khemia was not unique, and I was fine with that.
Mana Khemia 2 isn’t unique, either. And I’m fine with that, too.
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Alchemy \’al-kə-mē\ – A power or process of transforming something common into something special
One of the toughest challenges for a game in this day and age is the concept of “unique.” It’s a very nebulous term; you can take it to mean “going where no man has gone before,” or perhaps “something kinda familiar, but twisted beyond recognition.” Perhaps Mana Khemia is not a truly “unique” game. Every element of its gameplay feels like it’s been done before… but can a patchwork not be beautiful of its own right? The contrast of many fabrics may come together to create a beautiful work, just as the union of many existing concepts in game mechanics can join to create an excellent experience.
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These days, PS2 to PSP ports are all the rage, so Gust is jumping on the bandwagon and allowing gamers on the go to enjoy Mana Khemia. The portable iteration will feature original content including new bosses and a two-player co-op mode. The port is slated for a Japanese release sometime in the third quarter of this year. Though a North American release has yet to be announced, the PS2 version will hit shelves on March 31.