Gaming journalists have spotted playable Barkley 2 demos at gaming events across the country. E3 seemed like a longshot, being better known for catering to audiences wowed by TREND, CORPORATE ATTITUDE, and STONER games. Luckily, I was able to spend a few minutes packed into an Airstream with Tales of Game's [sic] to talk about the most inspirational game of the summer: NBA 2K2. In between talk of hot dunks and cool moves, we exchanged terse proclamations about The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa.
Character creation in Barkley 2 is an in-depth process that lards every choice with mystical-sounding inspiration. Regardless of the choices made, the protagonist is an amnesiac b-baller named X114JAM9. His only clue to his past is the knowledge he must find the Cyberdwarf. Before venturing further into the post-apocalyptic city of Tír na nÓg, brave players must decide on a few specifics including:
- A new name. Names can be input like normal, randomly generated, or pre-generated (all of which are canon)
- A birthdate, which determines the character's zodiac sign
- A blood type
- Gender (pick up to three options)
- An alignment, which is charted on a Dungeons and Dragons-style grid based on Ultima IV-style morality questions
- Lucky numbers
- Answers to second set of questions, which may or may not determine temperament
After surviving the rigorous battery of questions, the player wakes up in Tír na nÓg. The city offers many opportunities for an amnesiac baller, but not all of them last. The game follows an internal clock, which locks off certain quests at certain times. NPCs will complete quests and better themselves to the player's detriment, similar to the rune-hogs in 7th Saga. Players who spend their time playing minigames instead of helping an old man pay his rent must not care too much about the old man's continued health. Likewise, players who miss the booty bass DJ contest will miss out on the DJing minigame. Staggered timing on events make it so players will only be able to explore about 25% of the game's content in a single playthrough.
Gun's [sic] keep combat fast and action-based. X114JAM9 can draw on a staggering variety of firearms to lay down cyberlaw or chaos. Gun's have descriptors and materials like in Diablo or Borderlands, which modify their base types with special powers. Unlocking the secret heart of violence requires breeding gun's. The offspring firearm has statistics derived from its parents by using a formula that wouldn't fit on a convention's worth of bar napkins. This system is intended to be needlessly complex, rewarding only the most true DOOM-MURDER HEADS. Even neophytes will find something they like to shoot out and about, like a magician's candy pistol or a studded leather surfing rifle, but FAQ authors seem like the true audience for a genetics system where each parent contributes genes for hidden values including up, down, charm, strange, bottom, top, bio, cyber, cosmic, zauber, mental, and normal – to say nothing of mutations.
The search for Cyberdwarf begins on 11/11/2023. In other words, the game will be available when it's finished.