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

Image:: WayForward / Arc System Works / Kotaku

When the year started, there were only a few 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 City) River City Girls 2: finally arrived in the US on December 15th after bouncing around release dates all year, and the game not only lived up to its predecessor’s high expectations, but exceeded them.

River City Girls 2:is a pixel art action game developed by Wayforward that takes place right from the start. the first game. The rough and tumble sukeban duo in its opening moments Misako and: Kyoko kick yakuza boss Sabuko out of his skyscraper window. However, when Sabuko survives the fall and informs her imprisoned father, she decides to take matters into her own hands by breaking out of prison and taking over River City. His first move, hilariously, is to order his son to beat up Misako and Kyoko and expel them from school for their punches. Unsurprisingly, Kyoko and Misako use their newfound free time to play a variety of video games at Kyoko’s for two months straight.

Nintendo / WayForward / Arc system works

Most of my enjoyment in the earlier levels RCG2: it’s how it narratively rewrites video game tropes, exposing its characters to all the awesome powers and moves they’ve had in previous games. What drives their adventure isn’t a heroic call to save their city from a herd 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 lazing around might mess up their lower backs.

It turns out that Mom Kyoko wasn’t far behind, as the girls quickly discover that they aren’t as strong as they once were. Not only does this narrative excuse for their lack of practice serve as a reason why Misako, Kyoko, and their friends (who are also playable) have no money and zero experience points, it also gives me some leeway to whine. combos at the start of the game.

Although relearning the moves in the sequels is a source of frustration for me earning them again RCG2: Accumulating enough experience is half the battle awesome. For example, I usually play Kyoko because I love the “orah oras” that her English voice actress Kyra Buckland does, as well as her brilliant heavy attack. rainbow dab. So every time I got up in the middle of a yakuza group combo, perfecting the basic combo strings was rewarded with the extra breath of those follow-up moves back in the heat of battle.

Sabuko kneels while her father disapproves of her.

The criminal father is upset.
Screenshot:: The WayForward / Arc system works

RCG2: changes the pace of its predecessor’s mad dash to the final boss, encouraging players to take their time as they fully immerse themselves in the world of River City. To drive this point home, RCG2: Leans more heavily on its RPG elements with new additions like its fake Twitter social media app where you view messages from NPCs and follow their lines of inquiry. yes RCG2: has side quests. After completing a side quest, you can recruit characters to fight alongside you. However, since money rules everything around you in River City, if you want help from an ally who has died in battle, you’ll have to cough up the same amount of dough as 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

Another quality of life improvement RGC2: is that comboing cornered enemies with the light attack button no longer causes you to accidentally waltz into the next area by mistake. Now you have to press and hold a button prompt to enter the next area so the game doesn’t confuse your button mashing with a bodily urge to go to the next area. This was annoying in the first game, to say the least, as it forced me to stop saying “my turn forever” while endlessly wall-jumping enemies so I wouldn’t offer an area pass. It also has safe houses around the map where you can restore your stamina and swap characters instead of going back to the main menu.

Kyoko checks her phone for a Honkr update.

Honkr meltdown.
Screenshot:: The WayForward / Arc system works

Unlike the original game, River City Girls Zerocombat inside RCG2: has a faster and more satisfying rhythm. Instead of feeling like I have to stagger and attack enemy cheese in patterns to sneak attack, only to have enemies attack harder and more frequently than I could ever dream of, RCG2:The margin for error is much more forgiving and makes you feel as powerful as the bosses you encounter. Every attack is super fast and its block and block counters are responsive and satisfying to pull off. The extra cherry on top RCG2: it’s that it has two-player online co-op, in addition to four-player local co-op, so you can hang out with friends whether they’re in the same room as you or in another state, depending on how reliable your internet is. the connection

While shaking my River City Girls ring rust, I was blown away by how amazingly expansive the previous game was compared to its predecessor. I went into the game expecting an on-rails ’em-up adventure, but I found River City to feel more alive and explorable than it ever had before. Eventually, RCG2: stands on top of the pile Kunio-Kun Must-play games for beat’em-up veterans and newcomers alike.



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