The only game in the Creatures series I never got into very much was Creatures 2. I remember setting up countless worlds long ago and doing my best to love it, but it never clicked for me. Years later, I’m still trying to get interested in Creatures 2! I decided to figure out just what the problem was. It was pretty quick to come to the surface: This game was stressful! Not in the challenging way, but in the frustrating sense. I was always on guard for glitches, and there was just so much to keep track of. Remember that Creatures 1 was fairly simple with the way Norn brains were structured, and the complete lack of a functioning ecosystem.
That last point was one of the problems with Creatures 2, at least for me. There was a bustling ecosystem, but it was overly complex. If one lets nature take its course, parts of the Albian ecosystem fall apart. I loved this addition and enjoyed playing around with it, but it was too intricate to work on its own. I had to become a master gardener, all while keeping an eye on everything else. Maybe I was just really bad at keeping plants and critters alive in harmony, yet that really hurt the game for me. It was also difficult to grow enough food to feed the nearby Creatures.
Aquatic life in the Creatures games has always interested me, particularly related to my upcoming C3/DS world. I remember how excited I was when I saw the underwater environments in Creatures 2. However, I soon started ignoring them. At the best, they were deathtraps for unsuspecting Norns, Grendels, and Ettins! Their ecosystems were actually self-sufficient, and I got a thrill out of seeing Borland. Even now, though, I only glance at the oceans in passing. At least they’re beautiful to look at!
In my opinion, the real trouble with Creatures 2 is that it sought to bring together so many complex elements all at once. Worst of all were the Norns, who suffered from OHSS and were far from intelligent. It seemed like Creatures 2 spread all of its resources too thinly, trying to be everything to everyone. Creatures 1 was simplistic, but I think I was one of a number of players who couldn’t quite make the jump into Creatures 2. I still have plans to play the game and document my world here at Discover Albia… There just isn’t as much enthusiasm for this part of Creatures. It really is a shame that it was so unpolished, because Creatures 2 could have been the best installment in the series! In some ways, it does outshine the other games. Yet in some of the most important ways, such as stability and Norn behavior, it fails. Creatures 2 will always hold a special place in my heart, since it’s how I got my Norndoll, but I can never love all of the frustration!