Every new release by A Sharp on the world of Glorantha is treated by me more or less like the release of a new season of a favorite TV series: you pretty much know what to expect, but you feel happy and excited just at the prospect of experiencing a new adventure within the warmth of the familiar world and established lore. Although, as far as Six Ages 2: Lights Going Out is concerned, the "warmth" is probably anything but literal, since the game is about the END OF THE WORLD.
It should be noted early on that, in terms of gameplay, Six Ages 2 is almost identical to Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind and King of Dragon Pass, so newcomers to the world of Glorantha are strongly advised to read up on those games to familiarise themselves with their particular blend of Strategy and RPG. With that being said, this review will focus mainly on their differences, and in particular the differences with Six Ages, since we're talking about a game that is a direct sequel to it.
The events of Six Ages 2 take place several hundred years after those of the first game (and, consistently, several thousand years before the events of King of Dragon Pass). In that time, things have generally taken a fairly dark turn, with the Tribe that was created as a result of our actions in Six Ages effectively disbanded, the institution of kingship having fallen into disrepute, and each descendant of the royal dynasty being more of a figurehead rather than an actual ruler.
The main source of the world's woes, however, is the rapidly increasing power of Chaos, with the dark gods and their servants making their presence increasingly felt, and the known gods traditionally worshipped by our peoples disappearing one by one and presumed dead, something which is expected to have apocalyptic consequences. In this light, the main goal throughout the game is, quite literally, to get our Clan to survive until the coming and inevitable end of the world. This goal is perhaps more difficult than one might imagine, as the problems that arise during each playthrough are constant and potentially capable of overwhelming the players.
Unlike the first Six Ages, where the ultimate goal of founding a Tribe required us to carry out a series of strictly predetermined steps, in Six Ages 2 the way we choose to survive to the end of the world is, at least in theory, slightly freer. Thus we can follow the RP we wish to that end in a number of general directions: whether to attempt to restore the institution of kingship to its former glory or to obliterate every trace of it, whether to accept refugees from neighbouring Clans or to shut them out (or even rob and murder them!), whether to hold on to hope and faith that the old gods will return at some point, or to let their temples crumble. There's even the occasional option of attempting to save ourselves through direct offerings to the forces of Chaos, a somewhat... politically incorrect practice, I suppose, but everyone has the right to do whatever they think will keep their Clan fed, regardless of the end results.
All of the above is combined with the familiar Strategy/RPG gameplay we know and love in A Sharp titles. Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style decisions in main and side events, war, diplomacy, world exploration, planting and harvesting, religion and "heroquests" - all, of course, more or less adapted to the title's specific scenario background. In this sense, those who loved KoDP and Six Ages for their gameplay, writing and distinctive art style literally have no reason not to love Six Ages 2. A small opening of "convenience" is of course attempted for those who are being introduced to the world of Glorantha for the first time, through a series of user-friendly UI improvements and tooltips that try, sometimes with more and sometimes with less success, to explain the game's special mechanics.
But it must be pointed out once again how thrilling this journey to the ending (of the world and of our playthrough) is. Indeed, I don't think I've experienced a similar feeling in A Sharp's other titles so far: the feeling of facing the constant difficulties thrown at you by the game - war, Chaos attacks, gods dying, destruction of neighbouring clans, literal annihilation of swathes of the world, theft, feuds, clan members disappearing, devastating harvests, illness, starvation and death - most of the time without even an intervening period of rest and respite, make Six Ages 2 an unprecedentedly harrowing experience, but at the same time the successful completion of a playthrough a highly rewarding moment. Because of the difficulty and overall sense of hopelessness, some lousy reviewer might take the opportunity to call the game...the Dark Souls of KoDP games, but thankfully we don't have such despicable individuals among us here.