Yo-Kai Watch 2 Review: Spirits, the moment of truth

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Steven L. Ken
@stevenlken
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Yo-Kai Watch 2 is finally available exclusively on Nintendo 3DS: we have analyzed for you the work done by the guys of Level-5, which has thrilled and convinced us. This series still has many arrows in its bow: find out in our review

A few days ago we published a preview dedicated to the first hours of the game Yo-Kai Watch 2, and since real fans never deny themselves, one of our troop even went to try it for himself. Thanks to Nintendo Spain we had the opportunity to try the full version of the title and now we can say it: all the doubts derived from the first hours of the test disappeared as the adventure continued, and Level-5 fully convinced us with the sequel. of a series likely to be hugely successful in the future. As if the current one was not enough: in supermarkets you can even find the Yo-Kai Watch eggs.



Of course, as for the first episode released in 2014, there are some certain elements that should be revised, deleted or corrected, but which title can be defined as perfect? And anyway, the stumbling blocks of the first Yo-Kai Watch they have all been wisely dealt with by the development team. The result is a fun, clean, well-defined title, where there are some small flaws to be reviewed in the future Yo-Kai Watch 3, which is now quite legitimate to expect both in Japan and in our Western world. But these are issues that we will see in due course.

In the meantime, let's start the dance with our report.

We want even more!

Better abound !: This was the thought of the Level-5 developers as they re-enter the franchise before its release in the East and West. Everything that was present in the first chapter has been strengthened, expanded, revised. Let's take a very quick example: the game map is now larger, more detailed, even public transport has arrived, which will allow us to move to visit our grandmother in the countryside, or in any case from the main town to the coastal, mountain and countryside locations.



The monsters have been increased to reach the considerable number of 380, almost entering into competition with Pokémon (and the comparison with the other famous Nintendo series is very apt, you will have already understood this in our preview). The decision was made both to bring a breath of fresh air to something fundamentally already seen and to further enhance the collectible factor of fans.

The side quests, although monotonous, are in greater number, increasing the duration of the fun. And after all, are the titles of the two games not enough to demonstrate this desire to do more? In fact, the Spiritossi version e that Polpanime, which differ from each other for 5 unique creatures and for the team of opponents that we will face (and our relative faction in online multiplayer).

Exploring the length and breadth of Valdoro it is possible to find a huge amount of missions and points of interest. You can unlock special areas protected by Varcologists, level up the clock to find more powerful Yo-Kai, enter the spirit world through special Bizarre Portals filled with side challenges, hunt down dangerous criminal Yo-Kai to claim their bounty, and etc.

Searching and capturing Yo-Kai to expand your Medalium and collect rare insects and reptiles is also an activity that gives some satisfaction and goes very well with the fundamental exploration part. These damned monsters, as well as varying from region to region, can hide in any crevice, in the top of a tree, under a parked car, in the middle of a flower bed or under a vending machine.


Once you have made friends with the sprites you need to understand what their abilities consist of, in order to be able to use them effectively in battle. Yo-Kai belong to eight different tribes, which represent the types of membership, and putting two or more members of the same group close together can unlock very advantageous union bonuses during the course of the fight. All the sprites, then, have unique character traits (gruff, grumpy, envious, tender and so on) that can negatively affect and that you have to somehow go to modify through specific consumable objects aimed at changing the personality of the most Yo-Kai. difficult to manage. To this we must add that each single component of the library will gain experience independently from the others, thus leveling up, increasing their stats and evolving (if we decide to do so) into increasingly powerful forms.


A story that has only apparently already been seen

Yo-Kai Watch 2 has a story connected with the first chapter of the series, this is true: so much so that for the first five hours it is almost identical. This is why it is not a limiting element for those who are about to try the Level-5 title for the first time, on the contrary: it is not at all necessary to recover the first Yo-Kai Watch. On his own, Yo-Kai Watch 2 serves as an excellent introduction to storytelling, characters and gameplay mechanics.

The title is therefore perfectly understandable and accessible to those who have never heard of this series. Of course, this choice also has a downside: if you are a fan and have stripped the first chapter, for the whole initial phase, between melancholy and some hesitation, you will experience a great nostalgia in a déjà-vu artfully orchestrated by the developers, but really for this reason also a sense of “already seen, already felt” able to turn up one's nose. It would seem that the developers' imagination was all directed towards the gameplay, which we have already talked about. But is not so. The beauty comes after the first tutorial phase of the title.


Our protagonist is once again Nathan (or Nathaniel), the lucky boy who owns the clock able to show him the spirits that live around us. But the poor fellow is robbed of all his Yo-Kai Watch and Yo-Kai memories during a summer night: hags are stolen from his dormer in his bedroom. And for this reason, the next morning not only does Nathan no longer have the precious instrument on his wrist that allows him to see the fantastic creatures in the real world, but he does not even remember ever having owned it.

After a tour of the shops of the small town of Valdoro (which for a small Nintendo 3DS is not at all) in the company of the parents, it's time for an insect hunt in the park in the company of friends Katie, Sandrone and Pier. Does this remind you of anything? That's right: the first Yo-Kai began exactly the same way, and in that park Nathan had first met his otherworldly friend Whisper (the ghost butler).


At sunset, before returning to the house, a shop at the end of an alley attracts his attention: it seems to be a junk shop with rather strange objects for sale. And then, the owner is called Roby Vecchi, to underline the genius of the translators in Spanish (and the title is completely dubbed in our language). It will be he who will give Nathan his Yo-Kai Watch again, and also a euro with which to use the Yo-kai Slot outside the shop, to meet the faithful Whisper again. At that point our boy regains his memory, and his adventure in the new chapter can finally get going.

In spite of what it may initially seem, the plot of Yo-Kai Watch 2 is completely new and presents a simple plot divided into chapters, in which we will return to meet Jibanyan and Whisper. Although in the first few bars it is a bit lacking in bite, once you get to the middle of the adventure the plot improves considerably, delving into the origins of the Yo-Kai Watch and its inventor, complete with time travel and tear-jerking scenes, such as for example those on the past of Jibanyan. Certainly we are not facing the Oscar for fiction, but it must be said that it undoubtedly performs its main function, managing to entertain and interest the player until the end.

What changes in combat: the Yo-Kai Watch Model Zero

We said that the title is close to the Pokémon series in many ways. Is it possible to remain without contamination in two genres that are both veering towards a strong RPG component and on the first-rate collectible aspect? But for others it moves away from it. One of the major points of difference between Yo-Kai Watch 2 and the Pokèmon series consists not only in the creatures, which cannot really be considered "capable", but also in the combat system designed by Level-5, which had already awakened more than a perplexity in its being casual, aleatory and at times unconvincing.

The group that descends into battle is always made up of six elements, but they can only fight three at a time, thanks to the rotation of the circular ring on the lower touch screen. The Yo-kai engaged in the battle automatically fight through a completely arbitrary and random turn-based scheme (since the variables are incalculable), while the player's activity is always confined to mini-games that allow him to purify incapacitated fighters, or upload their special skills.

The real novelty that enriches the combat scenario is the Yo-Kai Watch Model Zero, or the original and inimitable first Yo-Kai watch developed by Nathan's grandfather. By switching to model Zero, the fighters' Energimax abilities become M abilities, or special moves so powerful that, once charged, they will consume the energy bar of all the companions adjacent to the caster.

Pungi is also a new feature that allows you to do exactly what it promises: sting lazy, slacker allied goblins to bring them back into line as well as poking at enemies' weak spots for various beneficial effects and bonuses. These game mechanics manage to not only expand the degree of interactivity, encouraging the player to stay ready and reactive with the stylus in hand, but also expand the strategic options to make the clashes a little more lively.

From a technical point of view Yo-Kai Watch 2 defends itself well on Nintendo 3DS, indeed, very well. The title almost pushes the limits of the console of the Kyoto house, now dated but able to offer (as in this case) graphically and stylistically respectable adventures. If you want to try it, find the first title somewhere, start them both and see the difference for yourself: better defined characters, scenes in real anime style, complete dubbing in these cinematic phases, and much more. Then, that the console does not even reach HD is a secondary issue, and it is certainly not Level-5's fault if the success of the machine, after 7 years, shows no signs of stopping.

8.5 When will a Nintendo Switch version come?

Points in favor

  • Interesting plot
  • Much improved gameplay
  • New, exclusive and well-crafted creatures

Points against

  • Perhaps somewhat similar to the predecessor
  • Fights still to be improved
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