Magnacarta 2 opens without breaking any expectations, but evolves into a deeper and more complex role-playing experience with each passing hour. In the beginning, few things help the game stand out from the dozens of RPGs that arrive on shores from over the Pacific every year. The early hours are dominated by familiar fetch quests and a simplistic battle system reminiscent of traditional MMOs. It’s only after that tedious introduction that players will encounter the real meat of the game experience – the complex and enjoyable group battle mechanics.

When navigating a single character through the world, monsters are visible on the field, and you engage them with a simple mix of standard and special attacks, while being careful not to exhaust the character and overheat. Once multiple characters join the party, Softmax makes a fun dynamic out of the constant switching between party leaders. Complete the process correctly, and you chain your attacks together between characters for damage boosts and other advantages. Since each character has a unique suite of powers and abilities, the juggling act of character switching engages you immediately.

The gameplay variability is further enhanced through a number of customizable features for the characters. Every character has two types of weapons, such as a hammer and axe, which they can use in battle. Each weapon style has its own set of upgradeable skills. In addition, every weapon can receive special enhancements to further craft your fighter’s abilities. The game world is also filled with free-floating magic called Kan. The level of Kan for a particular element, like fire or water, is different in every area, so choosing the right character and abilities for each situation pays dividends in challenging fights. Taken together, the game gives you a lot of optimization details, without overwhelming you with a feature set that must be mastered to allow progression.

Magnacarta 2’s story involves a sprawling fantasy world in the midst of a devastating civil war. Familiar tropes, like the amnesiac main character and the dutiful but sweet princess, could be done without. Clichéd characters and familiar plotlines abound, and the script is sometimes embarrassing, but at least the world is well realized. That world is all the more interesting thanks to a fully voiced script throughout. In addition, Korean artist Hyung-Tae Kim has contributed art to the game, lending an attractive (and frequently buxom) manga style to the proceedings.

Our playtime with an early build showed a lot of promise, though the early hours weren’t as exciting as we might have hoped. We’re eager to learn whether the later sections are as involving as the many customizable systems suggest they are.