River City Girls 2 is the beat ’em up that dreams are made of

Misako, Kyoko, Riki and Kunio pose in front of a wall covered in graffiti.

picture: WayForward / Arc system works / Kotaku

As the year began, there were only a handful of video games that piqued my interest, and chief among them was the spin-off of the classic beat ’em up series Kunio Kun (or river town). River City Girls 2 finally arrived in the US on December 15th, after pushing back release dates throughout the year, and the game not only lived up to the high expectations set by its predecessor, it exceeded them.

River City Girls 2developed by Wayforward, is a pixel art action beat ’em up that takes place right after the game the first game. In its opening moments, the gritty sukeban duo of Misako and Kyoko Kick yakuza-affiliated boss Sabuko out of her skyscraper window. However, when Sabuko survives the fall and reports to her imprisoned father, he decides to take matters into his own hands by breaking out of prison and taking control of River City. His first hilarious move is ordering his son to beat up Misako and Kyoko and have them suspended from school for their fisticuffs. Unsurprisingly, Kyoko and Misako use their newfound free time to play some video games at Kyoko’s for two months.

Nintendo / WayForward / Arc system works

Have fun with the earlier levels of RCG2 Thus, it narratively rewrites the video game trope and robs its heroes of all the awesome power-ups and moves they had in previous games. What sparks their adventure isn’t the heroic vocation to save their city from a swarm of yakuza. The only reason they aren’t hikikomori is because they want to go to the mall to buy a new video game. Oh, and also, Kyoko’s mom worries that months of lounging may have messed up her lower back.

Turns out Momma Kyoko wasn’t far off, as the girls quickly realize they’re not as strong as they used to be. This narrative apology for their lack of practice is not only why Misako, Kyoko, and their friends (who are also playable) have no money or experience points, it also gives me some real-world scope to puff out combos early in the game.

Although relearning moves in sequels is a source of frustration for me to bring them back in RCG2 By gaining enough experience mid-battle, it’s glorious. For example, I usually play Kyoko because I love her English voice actress Kira Buckland’s “ora ora oras” as well as her sparkling heavy attack. the rainbow blob. So whenever I rose in the middle of combining a group of Yakuza, the perfection of the basic combo strings was rewarded with the added oomph of those subsequent moves, returning in the heat of the moment.

Sabuko gets on her knees while her father towers over her disapprovingly.

Crime dad is upset.
screenshot: WayForward/Arc system works

RCG2 ups the pace of its predecessor’s insane final boss rush, encouraging players to take their time as they fully immerse themselves in the world of River City. To hammer this point home, RCG2 draws more heavily on its RPG elements with new additions like the fake Twitter social media app where you view messages from NPCs and follow their quest lines. Yes, RCG2 has side quests. After completing a side quest, you can recruit characters to fight alongside you. However, since everything around you in River City is cash, if you want help from an ally who died in battle, you’ll have to cough up the same amount of money as you did the first time to get their help again.

Continue reading: River City girls Sequel aims to perfect this juicy fusion of anime and wrestling

A further improvement in the quality of life with RGC2 is that when combining corners with the light attack button, you no longer accidentally waltz into the next area. Now you have to click and hold the button prompt to advance to the next area, lest the game mistake your button presses for a carnal desire to advance to the next area. This was annoying in the first game, to say the least, because it forced me to stop saying “It’s my turn forever” while endlessly wall-hopping enemies to avoid triggering a zone change. There are also safe houses around the map where you can restore your stamina and swap out characters instead of having to go back to the start menu.

Kyoko checks her phone for a Honkr update.

Honkr meltdown.
screenshot: WayForward/Arc system works

Unlike the prequel game River City Girls Zerofight one RCG2 has a faster and more satisfying rhythm. Instead of feeling like I have to stagger and cheese enemy attack patterns to take a hit, only to have enemies attack harder and more often than I could ever have imagined, RCG2The margin of error is much more forgiving and makes you feel like you’re just as powerful as the bosses you encounter. Each attack is super fast and its block and parry counters are responsive and execute satisfactorily. The extra cherry on top RCG2 is that it has two-player online co-op in addition to its four-player local co-op play, so you can kick butt with friends, whether they’re in the same room as you or in a different state , depending on how reliable your internet connection is.

Shaking off mine River City girls ring rust, I was blown away by how surprisingly large the previous game was compared to its predecessor. I went into the game expecting a beat ’em up adventure on the rails, but I found a river city that felt more alive and explorable than ever. All in all, RCG2 is at the top of the heap Kunio Kun Play as a must for beat ’em up veterans and newbies alike.

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