Review – Chaos Rings II for iPad

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Chaos Rings II for iPad is one of the latest mobile ventures to come out of well-known gaming company Square Enix, which is perhaps most famous for the long-standing Final Fantasy series. At a cost of $17.99, it is one of the most expensive iPad games on the market.

Combining the game’s cost with its company’s reputation, one can naturally assume this game would blow its competition out of the water. In order to best conclude my RPG series, I decided to find out if this was true.

For the most part, it is. Chaos Rings II is an amazing game. There’s really no way to get around that fact. It’s simply amazing.

The story revolves around Darwin, a young man who was accidentally selected to be the Nominator through a tragic event. The Nominator has been called upon by The Creator in order to stop The Destroyer from, you guessed it, destroying the world. He must do this by sacrificing five people selected as Pillars, including his childhood friend, Marie. This is apparently the 1,685th time this has happened.

The moral dilemma of sacrificing the ones you love in order to save the world is intense and prevalent in this game, as the decisions the player makes affect the game’s outcome later on. In addition, numerous biblical allegories may be found in the story, such as use of the Four Horsemen as bosses. It’s an intense story that draws the player in and makes him or her identify with Darwin’s plight — even though he may stutter on his words a little too much for my taste.

The gameplay is divided into two parts. The first would be normal gameplay, which has the player running around on Earth while it’s frozen in time. The game shows this by having each setting be a still painting that’s beautiful and elegant, perfectly capturing the silence of the moment.

The second would be the combat scenarios, which are turn based. While I normally don’t enjoy turn-based combat, Chaos Rings II does it in a way I’ve disliked the least. The player has a variety of attacks and specialties to choose from, thanks to the player’s “Sopia,” or MP-powered attacks. Most of the Sopia are taken from previously defeated enemies and can range from healing abilities to element-based attacks.

The only downside to turn-based combat is the fact that using an Item takes up an entire turn, which is often proved useless when receiving another attack after using it. In addition, the bosses are incredibly hard. I had to battle the First Horseman more times than I’d care to admit before finally defeating it.

Out of all the RPGs I played in this review series, Chaos Rings II was the one that utilized the iPad’s touchscreen most successfully. The controls in this game were simple and effective, combining a left-side joystick with button controls for turn-based combat. I never found myself selecting the wrong thing, a la Avernum: Escape From The Pit, because there wasn’t much to select — apart from the conversation / action button during normal gameplay.

The game is voiced entirely in Japanese, with optional English or Japanese subtitles. I originally thought this would distract from the game — but overall, it actually helped set the mood better. The characters weren’t meant to be played in English, and I only wish I could speak Japanese so I could understand the nuances better.

So is this game worth the $17.99 pricetag? For the most part, I would say yes. Its storyline, gameplay and action put it on par with many more expensive console games, including some of Square Enix’s less-popular games in the Final Fantasy series. It has hours upon hours of potential gameplay, including side quests with the adorably bizarre Piu Piu.

If you’re not a fan of a game with an intense story that requires time and dedication, I would not recommend shelling out the money for Chaos Rings II. However, for those wanting something more out of their iPad gaming experience, I highly recommend it. It’s an RPG player’s dream come true.

Here’s an App Store link for Chaos Rings II; it’s currently priced at $17.99.

Disclosure: This game was independently purchased by the site’s creator. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

Beth Elderkin

Beth Elderkin is an award-winning multimedia journalist currently working as a news producer in Austin, Texas. She's been a game reviewer for iPad Insight since 2011, and also runs a gaming blog at easymodego.tumblr.com.

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