Analysis of River City Girls 2, kicking the Yakuza has never been so much fun

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The Kunio-kun series is so old and spans so many consoles that you may have stumbled upon one of its games without even realizing that it’s part of a connected universe of beat-’em-ups. The most well-known ones (Super Dodge Ball, Double Dragon, and River City Ransom) are separate stories that revolve around how there never seems to be a shortage of faces to hit in River City. River City Girls 2 is both a sequel to 2019’s excellent beat-’em-up and the final form of action-RPG design that River City Ransom kicked off in the late ’80s. It’s only slightly different from its predecessor, opting to refine the systems and expand its size. instead of completely overhauling its operation. But if you did it so well the first time, why change your technique?

The details of how and why the Yakuza have returned What Kyoko and Misako thought they had driven out of town in the previous game are unclear, but they have taken over the school and all the local hangouts. That’s reason enough to start your fistfighting crusade to rid them of the streets, cracked skull or cracked rib at a time. Although the story itself is light and easy to ignore, the writing is sharp and funny. I was always laughing at the jokes and banter between the leads and the various enemies and supporting characters they ran into.

The four characters (our two protagonists and their boyfriends, the heroes of River City Ransom, Kunio and Riki) can be played solo or cooperatively for four players. Although leveling up and gaining new techniques organically or through purchase in the dojo turns the combat system into a robust palette for violent self-expression after a few hours, the game can feel particularly shallow at first. With only a handful of techniques at your disposal, the nature of this genre of button mashing will never be more apparent. This is in stark contrast to what a great beat-’em-up can be, however: once you get down the combo rabbit hole, the offensive options are spectacular.

Once you get down the combo rabbit hole, the offensive options look spectacular.

Hay many movements to learn in River City Girls 2, but the ease with which they’re introduced (just one direction plus light, heavy, or special attacks) means they’re a doddle to fit into your game plan. The characters also fit into fairly easy-to-define archetypes that make each differ from the other in important ways: while Misako and Kyoko are all-rounders, the former has a much better passing game, while the latter can block her zone. surrounding with your Chun-Li-inspired kicks, or repel them with the world’s toughest touch.

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Just as best friends seem like two sides of the same coin, so are their boyfriends and the new characters, Provie and Marian. Riki and Provie are fast, moving fast and tricking their opponents with blinding blows, but the breakdancer’s tricks are better for groups of enemies versus Riki’s single target lock. In addition to being a total unit, Marian is also the most practical fighter to complement Kunio’s fighting instincts. Ultimately, this means there’s more than one option for anyone who leans towards a particular play style. However, you may want to focus on one character and stick with it, as inactive characters level up much slower than those on the battlefield, meaning you go back several levels each time you switch if you don’t. you are uploading them all equally.

There is more than one option for those who lean towards a particular style of play.

The victims of the gang present a wonderful variety of shapes and sizes, many of them referencing the story of Kunio-kun, beat-’em-ups as a genre, or pop culture in general. They can be very tenacious, and until you get better crowd control tools, the way they simply surround you to flank you can be enough to frustrate you. Luckily, most of those tough fights can be avoided by simply running for the exit, and relatively few scenarios lock you into combat before you can move on.

Just like in the first game, enemies you take down occasionally surrender and beg to join your party, allowing them to be used as support characters in team-based fighting games. River City Girls 2 goes a bit further and offers you a selection of NPCs that can join you without having to beat them first, which is another great way to avoid needlessly mashing your opponents. I wish there was a similar solution for the last hour – towards the end it was especially tedious, as you find yourself channeling through locked screens dodging wave after wave of baddies in a climax that felt more like a slog than a final test.

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The stranger the distraction, the more I missed it when it was gone.

However, I did not limit myself to fighting in the streets during the eight hours that the adventure lasted. Shortly after embarking on the mission to save the city, I found myself occasionally doing odd jobs like catching ghosts, heisting a bank owned by the Yakuza, and training the locals in the lost art of dodgeball. The stranger her distraction was, the more she missed her when she disappeared. These were highly appreciated activities that helped break the monotony.

equip yourself with equipment bought in stores spread throughout the seven regions of the city helps even the odds in combat. Items that gave me a health shield when out of shape or added elemental properties to my strong attacks were my favorites, but there are also options that alter almost every way you interact with River City Girls 2. Want to move faster? ? There is an accessory for it. If for some reason you want to hit only male (or female) enemies harder, there is an attachment for that as well. Food items, while single-use consumables, can be saved for when you need them and give characters a permanent stat boost the first time they eat them. So if you go for the grind, you’ll have plenty of places to spend your hard-earned money.

The River City map is huge in River City Girls 2, much more than in the previous game. The first time I kicked butt around places like the vibrant Ocean Heights fish markets or the fancy offices of the Technos complex it was a delight because they are so well drawn and coloured. That being said, the size of the city means that even with the presence of a fast travel system, you have to spend a lot of time going back through parts of the city to check boxes and progress through the main quest. Also, many screens feature a lot of obstacles and architecture that can make for platforming challenges or add a bit more tactical thinking to your chosen combats, but I found that I was just as often slipping off edges or having vision. of action blocked by something in the foreground.

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But again, the scenarios deserve attention. Character models and backgrounds are pixelated in style, which, mixed with silky-smooth animations, capture a style and expressiveness that deserves to be on par with beautiful retro contemporaries like Streets of Rage 4 and TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge. The same can be said for music.– Megan McDuffee’s fantastic soundtrack is packed with instrumental beats. Every once in a while, you’ll walk into a room and hear hilarious attempts to parody local radio stations in the background. In some of the more prominent areas, the songs include lyrics from villains taunting you as you travel towards them. There’s so much energy in the music that it’s hard not to get motivated to kick every face in the room.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of this type of game or just getting into beat-’em-up thanks to the genre’s renaissance in recent years, River City should be your next stop. The RPG elements, dense combat, and witty sense of humor in River City Girls 2 are a real shot of energy for a genre that lately celebrates its history, but also needs some innovation. In this case, Wayforward has expanded on the founding design concept of 1989 in 2019, seamlessly blending history with today’s vibes to create something true to its roots and new at the same time. It may seem stale to you being taken here and there on the city map, but you can’t say that those places are not beautiful and full of good music.