Way Back When
Originally intended as a PlayStation 2 launch title, Level-5’s inventive role-playing title Dark Cloud didn’t see release in the US until 2001. Though it flew under the radar of many gamers initially, it quickly gained traction as word spread about its unconventional take on combining various genres into a cohesive package. With its mixed emphasis on town-building, procedurally-generated dungeons, survival elements, and multiple playable characters with their own unique weapons and abilities, Dark Cloud became a hit among many players seeking something fresh.
Dark Cloud was a third-person role-playing game at heart, but it incorporated town-building to provide players with a sense of creative freedom. Before an evil genie attacked the world, a fairy hid all of the structures of the land inside of magical orbs that ended up scattered far and wide. While fighting back against the genie, players had to seek out those orbs to recollect homes, shops, and more so that they could rebuild settlements and bring the world back to life again.
Finding the orbs meant players had to fight their way through procedurally-generated dungeons while keeping an eye on a thirst meter that would deplete over time. Managing the thirst meter in tandem with tackling massive beasts and figuring a way out of the maze-like areas became a triple threat. The challenge was never unfair, though, and the thrill of finding orbs with new structures in them was a solid payoff for all that hard work.
Dark Cloud was met with largely positive reception from critics, though some bemoaned the game’s repetitive combat. It went on to sell 800,000 copies worldwide, making it successful enough to warrant the release of Dark Cloud 2 only a couple of years later. The sequel was considered more of a spiritual successor, as it featured a brand new setting and entirely new characters. Unfortunately, the series has never been revisited in the years that followed.
Where You Can Play It Now
The only place you can play Dark Cloud on modern consoles is by downloading the emulated version available on PlayStation 4. It can, of course, also be played via backward compatibility on PlayStation 5.
Here are the modern platforms on which you can play Dark Cloud:
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation 5
When you’re done with Dark Cloud, its sequel Dark Cloud 2 is also available through an emulated version on PlayStation 4. As with its predecessor, it’s playable on PlayStation 5 thanks to backward compatibility.