Picture: WayForward / Arc System Works / Kotaku
When the 12 months started, there have been solely a handful of video video games that piqued my curiosity, and chief amongst them was the spin-off to the basic beat ‘em up collection Kunio-Kun (or River Metropolis). River Metropolis Ladies 2 lastly arrived within the U.S. on December 15 after shifting launch dates all 12 months, and the sport not solely lived as much as the excessive expectations set by its predecessor, however exceeded them.
River Metropolis Ladies 2, developed by Wayforward, is a pixel artwork motion beat ‘em up that takes place proper off the heels of the primary sport. In its opening moments, the rough-and-tumble sukeban duo of Misako and Kyoko kick the yakuza-affiliated boss, Sabuko out the window of her skyscraper. Nevertheless, when Sabuko survives the autumn and studies again to her incarcerated father, he decides to take issues into his personal arms by breaking out of jail and seizing management of River Metropolis. His first step, hilariously, is to order his son to beat up Misako and Kyoko and get them suspended from faculty for his or her fisticuffs. Unsurprisingly, Kyoko and Misako use their newfound free time to play a bunch of video video games at Kyoko’s for 2 months straight.
Nintendo / WayForward / Arc System Works
A lot of my enjoyment with the sooner ranges of RCG2 is the way it narratively writes across the trope of video video games stripping its heroes of all of the superior power-ups and strikes they’d in earlier video games. What incites their journey isn’t a heroic calling to save lots of their city from a swarm of Yakuza. The one motive they’re not hikikomori is as a result of they need to go to the mall to purchase a brand new online game. Oh and likewise, Kyoko’s mom is nervous that lazing for months on finish may’ve tousled their decrease backs.
Seems Momma Kyoko wasn’t far off as a result of the ladies rapidly uncover that they’re not as robust as they was once. This narrative excuse for his or her lack of observe not solely serves as the explanation why Misako, Kyoko, and their boyfriends (who’re additionally playable) don’t have any cash and nil expertise factors, it additionally offers me some real-world leeway for whiffing combos on the onset of the sport.
Though relearning strikes in sequels are a supply of frustration for me, incomes them again in RCG2 by accumulating sufficient expertise mid-combat is pleasant. For instance, I often play Kyoko as a result of I like the “ora ora oras” her English voice actress, Kira Buckland, does in addition to her sparkly heavy assault, the rainbow dab. So at any time when I leveled up in the course of comboing a gaggle of yakuza, perfection of fundamental combo strings was rewarded with the additional oomph of these subsequent strikes returning within the warmth of battle.
Crime dad is upset.Screenshot: WayForward / Arc System Works
RCG2 switches up the tempo of its predecessor’s mad sprint towards the ultimate boss by encouraging gamers to take their time as they absolutely immerse themselves on the earth of River Metropolis. To hammer this level residence, RCG2 leans heavier on its RPG components with new additions like its spoof Twitter social media app the place you view messages from NPCs and observe their questlines. Sure, RCG2 has aspect quests. Upon finishing a aspect quest, you’ll be able to recruit characters to battle alongside you. Nevertheless, as a result of money guidelines all the pieces round you in River Metropolis, if you would like assist from an ally who died in battle, you’ll should cough up the identical quantity of dough as you probably did the primary time round to get their help once more.
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One other quality-of-life enchancment with RGC2 is that nook comboing enemies with the sunshine assault button now not causes you to by chance waltz into the following space by mistake. Now, it’s a must to click on and maintain the button immediate to enter the following space in order that the sport doesn’t confuse your button mashing with a carnal need to progress to the following space. This was annoying within the first sport, to say the least, as a result of it compelled me to cease saying “my flip perpetually” whereas endlessly wall bouncing enemies so I wouldn’t set off an space transition. It’s additionally acquired protected homes across the map the place you’ll be able to recuperate your stamina and swap out characters as an alternative of getting to return to the beginning menu.
Honkr meltdown.Screenshot: WayForward / Arc System Works
In contrast to the prequel sport, River Metropolis Ladies Zero, fight in RCG2 has a quicker and extra satisfying rhythm to it. As an alternative of feeling like I’ve to stagger and cheese enemy assault patterns to sneak in a punch simply to have enemies land assaults more durable and extra usually than I might’ve ever dreamed, RCG2’s margin for error is way more forgiving and makes you are feeling simply as highly effective because the bosses you encounter. Each assault is tremendous quick and its block and parry counters are responsive and satisfying to tug off. The additional cherry on high of RCG2 is that it has a two-player on-line co-op along with its four-player native co-op play so you’ll be able to kick butt with mates whether or not they’re in the identical room as you or in a unique state, relying on how dependable your web connection is.
Whereas shaking off my River Metropolis Ladies ring rust, I used to be enamored by how surprisingly expansive the earlier sport was compared to its predecessor. I walked into the sport anticipating an on-the-rails beat ‘em-up journey, however I discovered a River Metropolis that felt extra alive and explorable than it’s ever been earlier than. All in all, RCG2 stands on the high of the pile of Kunio-Kun video games as a must-play for beat ‘em-up veterans and newbies alike.