The Spirit Engine 2, designed by Mark Pay, music by Josh Whelchel, is a side-scrolling RPG with pausable tactical combat and a character selection system that changes the story every time it's played with a new character.
Players begin play by selecting one of three classes for each of the three dispositions. Each disposition has a different role in the story, and each individual character has a different backstory that affects how the story as a whole evolves. While it's certainly possible to have three characters of the same class, it's not recommended that you do so, at least for the first run-through, because of the potential for your party to be weak in one area of combat.
- The knight class tends to be good at dealing damage up close, and absorbing massive amounts of damage.
- The musketeer class is good at damaging at a distance, putting up defensive screens, and assisting others in damage-dealing.
- The priest class has special abilities which allow for the absorption of types of damage, the dealing of special types of damage, as well as being able to bless other characters, adding significantly to their ability levels.
Even between the classes, though, there are some skills that are not shared by other members of that class, so having three members of the same class still has extra utility, even if it's ultimately more difficult.
No matter which classes you choose, the game begins with the first of the dispositions, quickly introducing the other two. There is usually unique dialogue with the other members of the party, showing the detail with which the programmer helped flesh out the individual interactions, although sometimes dialogue merely reflect the speaker's disposition.
Dialogue is linear beyond the initial choices of characters, but where the options in gameplay come through is a limited choice in where characters go during the game, a good selection of equipment to buy, and especially in character advancement and combat.
Combat takes place during the exploration of locations. Time counts down until a given character can act. At the beginning, all allied characters act at the same time, but this may change, either through player intervention or through misadventure. Players select actions for each of the characters to perform, either picked when paused, or picked from right-clicking the character. You may also select from and create many pre-determined attack behaviors, which are especially useful when the attack must have a specific target, or when it becomes difficult for the player to keep track of every skill that is being activated at any one time.
When a player or enemy falls in combat, they are not yet lost. A timer counts down which, when it reaches zero, allows for the character to re-enter combat with reduced health. Only if one's entire party is wiped out do characters perish.
There are different types of damage, and enemies (and allies) have certain resistances to such damage types. For player characters, these resistances are affected by skills and equipment, while different species and types of enemies have different innate defenses and attacks. When damaging a target, the target's damage resistance is temporarily reduced. The more hits it takes back to back, the higher this damage multiplier can go, encouraging the player to coordinate his or her attacks to maximize this potential.
Character Advancement and Equipment
Every time the party is successful, they gain experience points, and when enough points are accumulated, the entire party gains a level. Every level the party gains means that they get one point to allocate in their respective skills, as well as 2 points that allow for you to remove one skill point and place it somewhere else. This becomes valuable especially later in the game, when certain creatures may be immune to certain types of attacks that you may have invested heavily in. Spending these points lets you re-allocate skill points to give your party an advantage.
Equipment slots allow for two rings, a necklace, armor, a weapon, and an accessory. The items throughout the game vary enough that each character can specialize in certain skills and roles within the party. When trading in items for money, a shop will only accept as many items as it has open slots, preventing you from spamming the store with all your loot, forcing you to choose your sale items wisely and encouraging you to buy items to free up slots.
The story of the game plays out through a series of dialogues that unveil throughout the course of the adventure. These dialogues are linear, but vary depending on the characters initially selected. Over time, the secrets and strange occurrences that the characters themselves seem to accept without question are explained, and the truth of what lies behind them is revealed. Depending on which characters are chosen, different things are revealed about them which develop them as individual characters alongside the larger narrative.