Fans of Lisa (the first) should be delighted to hear that a much more in-depth, much more polished kind-of sequel to the disturbing game exists. LISA (the second) is a 2D side-scrolling RPG. It’s not a direct sequel to Lisa (the first), per se, but more like someone took Earthbound and Lisa (the first) and smashed them together and added a hefty dose of weird combined with depression and self-loathing.
LISA (the second) takes place in a post-apocalyptic nightmare where only males exist. You play as Brad, a drug addict, martial arts enthusiast, and all-around rugged man’s man. You’re minding your own business one normal, post-apocalyptic day when suddenly a baby drops into your arms, and WOAH, it’s a female. Your job is to protect this female baby. You can probably imagine how the rest of the game goes from here.
Yes, the female grows up and disappears, and you must find her. It turns out that she was taken by a one of the violent gangs that roam the female-less world. Those who have played Lisa (the first) probably have all sorts of horrible thoughts going around in their brains at this point. Those who haven’t probably also have their own ideas about what’s going on, but on a marginally less disturbing level. The ensuing adventures, dealing with addiction, loss, violence, humanity, and of course, sex and rape (don’t play this game if you are prone to triggers) paint a pretty bleak picture.
Let’s forget about all of that for a moment and talk about game mechanics as well. There are quite a few battles in this game, and you are given several opportunities to amass a sizable fighting party. Members of your party are quite expendable, and the narrative pushes this in your face over and over, having you make decisions that lead to the death and/or harm of others that you travel with. For instance, I, as Brad, had my friend killed so that I could keep my arm. I felt like a horrible person, and indeed, I am a horrible person because of it. However, if I had lost my arm, I would have also lost the ability to perform several of the battle combos that Brad has access to.
Speaking of battles, I’m going to go ahead and compare the battle system, item usage, and difficulty level to Earthbound. It’s clear that the developer borrowed heavily from that wonderful game. Like I mentioned earlier, there are several battles, but there are virtually no enemy respawns, which makes grinding difficult. Each party member that you have the opportunity to pick up has different skills, and until you amass at least five or six members, it’s difficult to form a party that will effectively handle certain bosses. I won’t go into detail about various skillgroups, because if you’re going to play this game it will be for the story and shock-value, not the battle system.
Overall, if you liked Lisa (the first), then you’ll enjoy this game. Also, if you liked that game, you’re weird and horrible. I should have picked a different word. Anyway, if you haven’t played the first game, you’ll still like this game if you are into disturbing things, if you love to hate yourself, or if you enjoy in-your-face symbolism combined with overly-vague symbolism (what?).