Princess Maker 2 Refine (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 13.11.2016 1

Review for Princess Maker 2 Refine on PC

The idea of the princess is hardly a new one, yet something has been sorely untouched within many bits of art, literature, and other such things. Just how does one become a princess and what's it like? In fact, aside from The Sims, how many people have even played a game in which guiding a child to adulthood on a personal level is even really a thing? Coming from the older eras (1993!), and then remade… well, over a decade ago (2004), an English release of Princess Maker 2 Refine has finally come.

It can be quite shocking how simplistic a story can be in order to make the player actually care about what happens. Princess Maker 2 is a prime example of this. After beating a demon lord and becoming a hero across the land, the player is given a gift from the gods in the form of a 10-year old daughter whom he is allowed to raise up in whatever way he pleases. It's a simple thing, and it can become surprisingly easy to become attached. Make no mistake, Princess Maker 2 is a very flawed game, but its flaws didn't change the fact that it makes it actually easy to care a bit about a little bundle of pixels and 0's and 1's.

Screenshot for Princess Maker 2 Refine on PC

From her 10th birthday on, you have a very simple goal: raise your daughter up to adulthood. Things like ensuring she eats right, goes to class on time, does her work, and other things like these, become very important. With time her sprite changes from the wide-eyed youth just learning about the world, into a full-on adult with skills ready to carve her own place in life. While the game tries to encourage players into making their daughter into a princess or heroine, many paths present themselves and many outcomes exist.

Maybe she isn't quite the magician needed to become a hero, but she's still good enough to become a magic instructor! Maybe she prefers writing instead and wants to become a writer. Then again, maybe things went really wrong and she ends up becoming a simple housewife, or worse, someone evil. It's all in the player's hands to try and mould. In fact, it's this very freedom that makes it easy to start caring for her. Don't pay attention? Then the one thing that the world of the game, the whole point of the game itself, revolves around, results in a terrible outcome.

Screenshot for Princess Maker 2 Refine on PC

So that sounds pretty cool, right? Well, that's the problem between theory and reality. In reality what this amounts to is assigning up to three classes/jobs/other things to her each month, adjusting her diet a bit, then kicking back and letting things unfold. While, at the start of each month, it's possible to talk to her, otherwise things end up pretty detached. It's fun to watch her go about and work on the farm for a bit, but when that's happened thirty times in a row with little else in-between besides giving her some time off to keep her stress under control and her poetry classes, it becomes pretty dull.

Screenshot for Princess Maker 2 Refine on PC

There simply isn't enough room to really interact with her and things quickly end up shallow and routine. This doesn't stop a relationship from blooming but it can stop a player from playing. Then there is the crippling blow. The game is old. Normally this would not be some mark against it, but it's clear that, not only has it not aged well, but even those bits that did age decently are addled by issues of the time, such as a poor inventory lay-out, plenty of writing/translation errors, poor design decisions (why is it sinful to kill a kidnapper when they are outright kidnapping someone?), or the fact that, aside from her design on the basic screen and some artwork, she never has her sprite change.

The game is crippled. Even for fans and people interested in engaging in such things it's pretty clear it was just a middling game at launch at best, and was given a quick update and re-release for a quick buck without much thought. Things like the underwhelming designs for all whopping four zones in which the player's daughter can explore, the lack of her sprite changing as she matures in work/class, and even the ability to simply check and see what endings have been obtained, speak testament to the fact that the game is simply not up to snuff to modern standards.

Screenshot for Princess Maker 2 Refine on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Princess Maker 2 Refine is still capable of evoking feelings of caring, the ability to watch her grow from a child to an adult is engaging, the multitude of potential outcomes adds in a lot of replayability, and other such things means that it's a notch above basic shovelware. However, 'notch above shovelware' isn't quite the same as 'good,' but it is worth a recommendation to those whom can stand the games many, many flaws as the reward is certainly half-decent.

Developer

CFK

Publisher

CFK

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I, actually, really enjoyed this game a lot. My daughter ended up becoming a general. One thing I really liked was that being a poor parent and what-not didn't just result in your daughter dying or whatever but ending up as things like a no-name merc, a con-artist, or a lot of other cruddy things. It holds a lot more weight than just 'game over'.

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