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Review: Kamen Rider Battride War II

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Journey through the Decayed

Back when Kamen Rider Battride War was first announced, many toku fans were excited over the fact that they were getting a Dynasty Warriors-like game that featured their favorite Heisei Riders from Kamen Rider Kuuga through Wizard (Gaim didn't exist back then). At the time, Namco Bandai seemed like they had a good tokusatsu video game on their hands. However, the company made a slight error when they commissioned Eighting (Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the Kamen Rider Climax Hero series) to develop the game instead of Omega Force (the Dynasty Warriors series).

While Eighting's known for creating many interesting fighting games and multiplayer brawler titles, the team rarely tackles the hack ‘n’ slash genre. Due to Eighting's inexperience in this department, the first Battride War game felt like an underwhelming title. Even though the team managed to almost get each Rider’s fighting style right, the game’s small character and boss roster prevented Battride War from reaching its true Form. Thankfully, the title had a few fun aspects for Kamen Rider fans, which gave players hope that Eighting could learn from their mistakes when they complete Battride War's next installment.

Since the development team have updated a few of game’s key elements, Kamen Rider Battride War II might be the Rider Musou-like adventure that we’ve been waiting for.

Kamen Rider Battride War II (PS3 [Regular Edition Reviewed], Wii U)
Developer: Eighting
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: June 26, 2014
MSRP: Regular Edition: ¥ 7,689 [PS3, Wii U], Limited Edition: ¥ 11,286 [PS3, Wii U]

Starting off with the latest Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Battride War II focuses on Kamen Rider Gaim, Baron, and Ryugen, as they’re sent into a strange movie theater. In this mysterious cinema, the three Riders meet two ghost-like children and suspicious fellow who goes by the name of Sinema. As Kamen Rider Gaim’s characters try to assess the matter at hand, our heroes end up being taken to various realms that Sinema sends them to. Of course, these areas are based off of the Kamen Rider movies from the Heisei Rider shows.

First and foremost, Kamen Rider Battride War II’s plot is very straightforward. Gaim and his crew travel to different stages until they meet up with the other Heisei Riders. Then the players have to help the Heisei Riders win their signature battles in their corresponding films. Aside from that, the game throws in a few surprises when Sinema decides to change things up for our heroes, which acts a way to add variety to the story. Sadly, Battride War II's Chronicle/Story Mode wasn't executed well.

Instead of utilizing elements from every Heisei Rider film in existence, Eighting chose to use one film per Rider show. Because of this decision, players were forced to re-battle the game's bosses more than twice. Ironically, this choice was an element that affected the first Battride War game’s quality as well, so it’s a bit disappointing to see that Eighting didn’t learn from their previous mistakes. On top of that, the most of Battride War II’s movie stages are missing certain Riders and monsters that played a major role in the original Heisei Rider films (such as Shadow Moon from the All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker film). Perhaps if Eighting chose to split each film into three stages to represent the movie’s key points (beginning, middle, and end), then we could’ve gotten the chance to battle every Heisei Rider movie villain during the game’s Chronicle Mode.

If there’s one good thing about Eighting's involvement with the Battride War series, it's the Riders themselves. Players have access to three special finishing moves that can be executed with the Triangle, Circle, or Triangle and Circle Buttons together. When you press the Square Button, you'll be able to execute the Riders' normal combo. Despite the title’s simplistic combat actions, each Rider is capable of changing various forms, which changes the way how their combos and special moves work. While they could’ve added some branching combos to each character, Eighting still managed to capture the feel of using our favorite Bug-Eyed Heroes against hordes of enemies. Thankfully, Kamen Rider Fourze Base States and Gaim Zenith Arms are capable of doing different moves based on when you press Triangle during their combos, so players at least have the option to use a character with a broader move set.

Aside from capturing each Rider’s fighting style, Eighting managed to improve Battride War’s II gameplay. For example, Kamen Rider OOO’s Tajador Combo now has an actual move set, and players are able to equip different Super Forms to Riders like Fourze and Wizard. While we’re on the topic of powerful transformations, if a player changes into a Rider’s Super Form, then they’ll be able to unleash the hero’s ultimate finishing move on your targets. Afterwards, you’ll be able to play as a Super Rider until your special gauge goes down; thus granting players the ability to feel like a true Kamen Rider.

In addition to the Riders' Super Forms, Battride War II added an Ultimate System where players can change into the Riders' Movie Forms. Unlike your Super Transformation, the Ultimate Special only increases your strength while slowing down all enemies and bosses on screen. If a Rider lacks an Ultimate Form, then they’ll remain in their Super Form while receiving the Ultimate System’s benefits. Besides the game's two destructive specials, players can now cancel their combos with the X Button. Depending on the Rider that you select, players’ll get to roll, jump, or use a special ability when they cancel a combo.

Other gameplay features include the Assist Rider System, which allows players to summon a Rider to hit an enemy or boss with a special attack. Thanks to this system, a good chunk of the Heisei Rider series’ Secondary Riders are now usable in the game. While it’s unfortunate that Kamen Rider Accel, Birth, Meteor, Beast, and Baron are the only playable Supporting Riders, it’s nice to see that Battride War II put some of the other Riders to good use. Best of all, the main Riders can be set to Assist Characters as well, so you’ll have a ton of combinations to experiment with. Since the new system allows you to summon an extra attacker, I found this feature to be very useful when I needed to break out of a boss' combo. All in all, the game's new elements allows players to implement more effective strategies against Battride War II's challenges, which act as a nice warm welcome to the series.

When you’re not playing through Battride War II’s story, players have the option to test their skills in the game’s Survival Mode. In this segment, you’ll get to fight your way through random stages while overcoming various handicaps, which is very similar to the Rider Road Mode from the first game. If you managed to reign supreme, then you’ll be rewarded with special Figures that can be used to improve each Rider’s ability. Unlike the first Battride War, the Figures can now increase a Rider’s stats while retaining their special abilities. On top of that, the Toys are now capable of leveling up in battle, which adds a neat layer to the game itself. Unfortunately, Survival Mode is the only way for you to unlock Figures, so you’ll want to switch between the title's two options if you want to awaken your favorite characters true potential.

Despite Eighting's attempt to improve Battride War II’s gameplay, this didn’t save the title from its flaws. Besides battling human-sized bosses, the team decided to add giant adversaries to the game’s sequel. While this concept sounds great on paper, the battles themselves were annoying to get through. Since it seemed that Eighting didn’t program the large boss’ hit-boxes properly, I found it very difficult to land a hit on most the title’s huge enemies. Compared to games like the Monster Hunter series, I felt that my attacks had little to no impact on the title's ginormous foes. Thankfully, these battles weren’t frequent, so it wasn’t enough to turn Battride War II into a terrible game. Other than that, it's still unfortunate that players can't run over enemies with their motorcycles, and the lack of a co-op option continues to be two minor recurring issues that have yet to be resolved.

Besides my issues with most of the game's mechanics, I encountered a few glitches in Battride War II that prevented me from clearing certain stages. On a few occasions, I fell through the stage, which meant that I had to replay the entire level all over again. Luckily, I only encountered this bug twice, so there’s a chance that it might not happen too frequently. Other issues include the game's sound muting in most areas, and a freezing issue that occurs when you continuously use your Ultimate in any area that takes place in the castle from the Kamen Rider Wizard movie. While none of these glitches have messed with my game file, they can be annoying when you’re doing great during certain stages in Battride War II.

As for Battride War II’s graphics, the game looks no different from the first title, as it still looks like an early PS3 game with HD PS2 quality environments. In fact, many of Battride War’s previous assets were recycled in the second installment. From the stages to the Riders and enemies from Kuuga to Wizard, none of these aspects were given a graphical update. While the Kamen Rider franchise has been known for reusing sets and locations, this doesn’t mean that Eighting should use the designs from the previous game without improving them. Despite being a person who favors gameplay over graphics, I felt that Battride War II could've look a bit better to warrant the title’s retail price. On a more positive note, the second game’s animations are better than before, which meant that Eighting touched up the characters who didn't receive new moves and/or Forms.

Music wise, the game's soundtrack was disappointing, as each track felt like a generic freeware song or a rejected Kamen Rider battle theme. Sure, “Break the Shell” by Kamen Rider Girls was amazing, but one tune isn’t enough to save Battride War II’s entire music track. Luckily, players are given the option to create a Custom Soundtrack with any song that's on their PS3 console. On top of that, you also have the option to decide when the game plays your selected tracks (such as the menu, stage music, or the Riders’ transformation themes), which can be set to each Rider as well. Thanks to this feature, players can bypass the game’s mediocre tunes.

Overall, Kamen Rider Battride War II had the potential to be a great game for the franchise's viewers, but the title's various flaws held it back from becoming a fine product. Even then, it was still a blast to obliterate waves of enemies with the Riders that Battride War II had to offer. While the title has enough content to please most Kamen Rider fans, I recommend waiting for Battride War II to go down in price before diving in. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a good Kamen Rider action game, then I recommend checking out All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation 2 for the PSP or DS, since it’s a beat em’ up title that contains over 50 Riders and villains.

6 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.)


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Kamen Rider Battride War II reviewed by Salvador G Rodiles

6

ALL RIGHT

Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy it a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide

 
 
 

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Salvador G Rodiles
Salvador G RodilesSenior Editor   gamer profile

Salvador's an average bystander who took his first steps towards a life-changing goal. During his journey, he's devising a way to balance his time with anime, manga, video games, and tokusatsu in... more + disclosures


 



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