Princess Maker 2 Refine
Gameplay 9
Graphics 7
Sound 8

It has been quite a long wait, but Princess Maker 2 Refine is finally available to western audiences. There is no denying that it is a very niche title and still has a couple of rough edges to smooth out, but it is still a very addictive title with plenty of replay value. Prepare to lose at least a couple of hours when you get hooked on this game.

Gameplay: Very stat heavy, but once you get the hang of how things work it becomes extremely addictive.

Graphics: The visuals have been spruced up, but still look a little dated compared to more modern titles.

Sound: Nice tunes and full Japanese voice overs

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Princess Maker 2 Refine

Developer: CFK Co., Ltd. | Publisher: CFK Co., Ltd. | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Simulation | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Heroic deeds are usually rewarded with gold and glory, but in addition to these, your character in Princess Maker 2 also finds himself thrust into unexpected fatherhood after saving a city from a devil’s army. The girl is bestowed into your care by a celestial god who gives you the daunting task of raising her into adulthood. Thankfully the girl is already ten years old when she is left in your care, so you are at least spared the sleepless nights and diaper changing dramas that is part of parenting. However, you only have eight years to raise your new daughter and all the choices you make will impact what type of person she will become after her eighteenth birthday.

If all of this sounds familiar it might be due to the fact that Princess Maker 2 Refine is not a new game. In fact, Princess Maker 2 was originally released way back in 1994, but due to a series of unfortunate setbacks never received the official English release that it deserved. Now, more than 20 years later, western audiences can finally enjoy the game legally. It’s been quite a long wait, so the question of course is whether it was worth it or not.

Starting with the visuals, Princess Maker 2 Refine looks a lot better than it did back in the early nineties, but compared to modern titles it is still pretty basic. The new full colored visuals definitely increases the charm of the game and the short animations for all the actions in the game are nice, but it is still very much a game of menus and statistics. The game can be played in windowed or full screen mode, but the maximum resolution appears to be 800×600, which is quite low by today’s standards. It would also have been nice to have the option to play with the original artwork, if only for nostalgia’s sake. Princess Maker 2 Refine is a game that can keep you busy for hours at a time, so thankfully the music is decent, but unobtrusive. New to this version is full Japanese voice overs for all the characters, but these can be disabled if you wish. Handling the voice duties for your daughter in the game is Chinami Nishimura, while the butler, Cube, is played by Tomo Saeki.

While the visuals and audio give away the games age, even with the updates, the gameplay still shines. PM2 is a life simulation game where you have full control over every aspect of your daughter’s life. This is done through a series of menus where you decide everything from her diet to where she studies, what work she does and who she interacts with. All of these influences her stats, which in turn determine which one of the more than 70 different endings you get.

Initially your daughter only has access to six available jobs, but more opens up as she grows older. Depending on the type of job, which range from babysitting and farm work to tutoring and hunting. There are also some unsavory jobs that open up eventually, but these can take their toll on her morality. The jobs all raise certain stats while lowering others, but your daughter only receives payment if she actually performs well. Forcing your daughter to work all the time isn’t good for her health though as she’ll become stressed, sick and might even run away from home. To combat this you can give her breaks, with or without pocket money, to lower her stress or go on vacation.

Life isn’t just about work either, so you can also send your daughter off to study subjects ranging from poetry and fencing to painting and manners. Doing so can provide her with significant stat boosts, but doesn’t come cheap. Once every October there is also a harvest festival with four different competitions where your daughter can put her skills in cooking, fighting, dancing or art to the test in return for prestige and prizes. You can even send her off to the castle in order to chat with the people who hang out there if you want to improve her influence. Then there is the town where you can buy gifts, food, clothes, armor, and weapons or visit the church and hospital, all via menus of course.

If your daughter is the adventurous type you can even send her off into the wilderness to explore and fight monsters. Unlike the stat heavy, menu based gameplay of the rest of the game, these segments play out in typical RPG style with you given direct control over your daughter as she walks around an overhead map. Random enemies will also crop up in this mode and can be dispatched of in turn based fashion. There are only four areas to explore, but each is packed with plenty of secrets and definitely make for a nice diversion from all the stat grinding.

Princess Maker 2 Refine involves a lot of repetition, but thanks to all the variables and numerous endings it makes for quite an addictive experience. Unfortunately, despite the long wait for an official release, the game isn’t quite perfect. Apart from the rather dated visuals and audio it also suffers from some other issues. The most grievous, a stat resetting bug, was thankfully squashed soon after release, but other problems remain. These range from Steam achievements that doesn’t appear to work as intended, confusing translation issues in places and ending sequences with Japanese text, but no accompanying English subtitles. While none of these ruins the experience they are issues that will hopefully be addressed in upcoming patches.

There can be no doubt that Princess Maker 2 Refine is a very niche title and one that can look a little inaccessible at first. However, spend some time with it and you’ll find a charming, addictive and very entertaining game that can keep you busy for days, if not weeks. This is probably not a game for players who detest pouring over pages of statistics, but anyone looking for a unique life simulation game shouldn’t miss out on this one.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows® XP or higher
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 3 or higher
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 32MB or greater graphics card
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Direct Sound
  • OS: Windows® XP or higher
  • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or higher
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: NVidia GeForce GTX 280 or ATI Radeon HD 6630 or higher
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Direct Sound

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