Last summer NIS America released Holy Invasion Of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do To Deserve This? (later renamed to What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord!? due to copyright concerns) on PSN as a digital download-only title. The game succeeded in creating a unique mix of strategy and puzzle that challenged players to think outside the box to protect Overlord Badman from various heroes and heroines who were trying to take him away. However, there were some serious flaws that kept the game from truly living up to its potential. Does My Lord 2 improve on the original, or is it simply a rehash of the same flawed formula?
Just like the original game, My Lord 2 thrusts the player into the role of the "God of Destruction", charged with the task of overthrowing humanity by creating devilish traps and summoning monsters to ensnare even the bravest warriors. Like all good sequels, the area Badman took over was only part of a larger world, with even more areas to conquer. To help in the player's quest, Overlord Badman acts as a guide, alerting the player to changes in each of the various areas, but he has quite an attitude, and often mocks some of the regular gaming conventions that have become common place in the RPG genre - it leads to some amusing dialog for fans who know what he's referencing.
Creating the dungeons in My Lord 2 revolves around a simple premise: digging tunnels. In each area the dungeon maze is reset and players are given a set amount of "dig power" to create tunnels with. Dig power then carries over to following levels. To protect Badman from the heroes sent out to capture him, players need to create an intricate maze to ensnare the heroes with, using various monsters. But to create these monsters, players first need to create what are known as Slimemosses and Spirits, the foundation for all of the other monsters in the game. Slimemosses come from green nutrient blocks, while Spirits come from white, sparkling blocks. Both of these can be released by destroying the block with a pickaxe using dig power. These monsters take nutrients from one block and move it to another, which leads to blocks being powered up into different stages that can be broken to create more powerful monsters that can stand up to the heroes. These monsters range from small lizardmen and liliths to huge monsters like dragons and the Wookieman, a gargantuan monster that appears modelled after monsters such as the Bigfoot and the Yeti.
While this sounds easy enough, keeping the correct equilibrium between the monsters makes it far more difficult. A nice balance must be kept in check in each dungeon, which needs to be done before a specific amount of time elapses. Some monsters will eat other monsters, or they might only move in a specific way, forcing players to think ahead to see how best to create the dungeon to maximize its efficiency while keeping Badman far enough away from the heroes to stop him from being captured. A new addition in My Lord 2 is mutations, which occur when monsters feel threatened, lack of food, or suffer a change in habitat. There are a wide range of mutations, ranging from beneficial ones such as monsters that can poison heroes or fight against them longer, to other ones who are weaker and can't reproduce. Knowing when to unbalance the ecosystem and how to do it properly becomes vital in game's later levels, which almost require this ability due to sheer number of heroes sent out to capture Badman.
Just as in the first game, My Lord 2 features both a challenge mode and an edit mode, which in the sequel is known as "Badman's Chamber". Challenge Mode has over 30 challenges, which range in difficulty from mildly difficult to ones that will force players to use every ability they can muster to survive. Twelve training missions are also available, which range from basics topics like "creating your first maze" to detailing the intricacies of how and when to evolve monsters, all with extremely detailed diagrams which can be viewed at any time during each tutorial. Badman's Chamber is similar to the original's Edit mode, but also allows players to set the different mutations of the monsters from the start without having to spend the time in the story mode waiting for them to mutate just to learn how they move around and operate. Players can also save their progress in this mode, so those who want to create their own custom maze but don't have the full time to spend creating it all at once can do it in bite-sized stages.
The main issues the sequel solves is that if Badman was captured at any time in the original's Story mode, the player would be forced to start back at the beginning, even if they were only a few levels from the end. My Lord 2 rectifies this by having the game take place in various areas, with the player's progress being saved after completing each level. Each area only consists of a few "waves" of heroes, so even though the player will be forced to start back at the beginning of the area if Badman is captured, it's not as bad as having to replay the entire game over again just because one mistake was made. Just as in Badman's Chamber, players can save their progress at any time.
It's apparent from the graphics of My Lord 2 that this is a game aimed directly at fans of the RPG genre, as it harkens back to the 2D retro era with a graphical touch that feels just like the games it's trying to reference. Many of the heroes' names are similar to many of the most well-known RPG protagonists and heroines. This vibe also carries on into the monsters descriptions as well as the dialogue Badman spouts before and after each level. For long-time fans of the RPG genre, it will be a walk down memory lane as the game mocks and references almost every cliché in the book.
My Lord 2 is a more than competent sequel and continues to offer the same exellently crafted gameplay of the original. It also fixes some of the nagging issues from the original, such as handling game over scenarios and adding new additions like mutations. In a sea of bland and generic titles, What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord!? 2 is a game gamers shouldn't pass over, if only for its incredibly addictive gameplay and unique charm. While the title might say otherwise, players deserve to try out this title, My Lord.