River City Girls 2 Is The Beat ‘Em Up 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. Union-With (either river city). River City Girls 2 It finally arrived in the US on December 15 after changing release dates throughout the year, and the game not only lived up to the high expectations set by its predecessor, but exceeded them.

River City Girls 2Developed by Wayforward, it is a pixel art action beat ’em up that takes place immediately after the first game. In their opening moments, the rough and tumble sukeban duo of searches Y kyoko he kicks yakuza-affiliated boss Sabuko out the window of his skyscraper. However, when Sabuko survives the fall and informs her father of him imprisoned, he decides to take matters into his own hands by breaking out of prison and seizing control of River City. His first move, hilariously, is to order his son to beat up Misako and Kyoko and get them suspended from school for their punching. Unsurprisingly, Kyoko and Misako use their new free time to play a bunch of video games at Kyoko’s for two months straight.

Nintendo/WayForward/Arc System Works

Much of my enjoyment with the earlier levels of RCG2 it’s how he narratively writes about the video game trope stripping his heroes of all the awesome powers and moves they had in previous games. What prompts his adventure is not a heroic call to save his 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 is worried that sitting around for months may have damaged her lower back.

It turns out that mom Kyoko wasn’t far wrong because the girls quickly discover that they aren’t as strong as they used to be. This narrative excuse for their lack of practice not only serves as the reason why Misako, Kyoko, and their boyfriends (who are also playable) have no money or experience points, but it also gives me some leeway in the real world. . combos at the start of the game.

Although relearning moves in the sequels is a source of frustration for me, bringing them back in RCG2 accumulating enough experience in the middle of combat is a delight. For example, I usually play Kyoko because I love the “oh, oh, oh” that her English voice actress, Kira Buckland, does of her, as well as the bright and heavy attack of her. touch of the rainbow. So whenever he leveled up in the middle of a combo with a group of yakuza, the perfection of basic combo chains was rewarded with the added oomph of those later moves coming back in the heat of battle.

Sabuko falls to her knees as her father looms over her disapprovingly.

The crime dad is upset.
Screenshot: WayForward / Arc System works

RCG2 It changes the pace of its predecessor’s mad dash to the final boss by encouraging players to take their time as they fully immerse themselves in the world of River City. To emphasize this point, RCG2 leans more into its RPG elements with new additions like its Twitter parody social media app where you see messages from NPCs and follow their quest lines. Yes, RCG2 It has side missions. By completing a side quest, you can recruit characters to fight by your side. However, because money rules everything around you in River City, if you want help from an ally who died in battle, you’ll have to spend the same amount of money you did the first time to get their help again.

Read more: river city girls The sequel aims to perfect that juicy fusion of anime and wrestling.

Other improvement in quality of life with RGC2 is that comboing enemies in corners with the light attack button no longer causes you to accidentally jump to the next area by mistake. Now, you have to click and hold the button prompt to enter the next area so the game doesn’t mistake your button mashing 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 “my turn forever” while bouncing enemies off the wall endlessly so as not to trigger an area transition. It also has safe houses around the map where you can get your stamina back and swap characters instead of having to go back to the start menu.

Kyoko searches her phone for a Honkr update.

Honkr Fusion.
Screenshot: WayForward / Arc System works

Unlike the prequel game, zero river city girlscombat in RCG2 it has a faster and more satisfying pace. Instead of feeling like I have to stagger around and test enemy attack patterns in order to sneak around and make enemies launch attacks harder and more often than I could have dreamed of, RCG2The margin of error is much more forgiving and makes you feel as powerful as the bosses you encounter. Each attack is super fast and their block and parry counters are responsive and satisfying to pull off. The extra icing on RCG2 is that it has two-player online co-op in addition to its four-player local co-op so you can kick some ass with friends whether they’re in the same room as you or in a different state, depending on how reliable their internet connection is. Internet.

while I shake my river city girls ring rust, I fell in love with how surprisingly expansive the previous game was compared to its predecessor. I went into the game anticipating a rail fighting adventure, but found a river town that felt more alive and explorable than ever. All in all, RCG2 sits at the top of the stack Union-With games as a must-play for beat ’em-up veterans and newbies alike.

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