It’s time for more adventures in the town of Showajou. This time, our story centers around Kashiwagi Kira – a girl who grew up in an orphanage together with good ol’ Tezuka (and would suffer from having a crush on the bloke).
One day, while asked to accompany ‘Kyou-nii’ to the hotel his parents had died she discovers a mysterious sword (aka Blade of Ashura) hidden in a shrine as suddenly an odd tatoo would appear on her right hand.
Suffice to say it doesn’t take long for her to get involved into the current incident of both Ichiyou&Kusou’s being attacked by monster-crows by joining the town-patrol of one of the sides as a newly awakened Ichiyou to discover her roots and the truth behind what is going on.”
Well…past of course they ‘visit key events’ being replaced with an irritating Rock-paper-scissors roulette battle system. Confused? Well then, look at the image above. Imagine the stuff that looks like an ‘outer-circle’ spinning at a pretty high-speed while the player has to press a button to either attack(green triangle), counter (red circle) or defend (purple square). What you press (and the timing) would then decide on what happens – pressed attack when the roulette had stopped at defend at the top? You win, and the character gets to damage the enemy. Pressed attack by counter? You lose, and the characters hp is depleted. Both are the same? Stale-mate. Meanwhile, each side also has a special bar that is filled by both won turns & stale-mates. Filled it? Well then you get to perform a unblockable attack that does increased damage(and fills CG’s in the gallery, because each character has their own special)
Problem? Thanks to how much it’s based on luck/RNG it’s far too easy to just keep…constantly either losing or stalemating over & over. The enemy doesn’t care about even keeping things fair by keeping their supposed ‘seems to perform x often’ when each standard battle consists of 2 crows and a mini-boss.
Issue nr 2? The boss battles (and more so the final one) feel like retarded slogs thanks to how little even special attacks would deplete their HP and there is no way to increase the damage and you often are stuck with only Kira+her boyfriend in the final fight. Special combos are pretty much just for show, as unlocking them is just worth maybe the short series of scenes that would unlock them.
A neat feature was probably how completing the gallery/all the good ends unlocked scene replay by where it lists all the events/short scenes in the game.
Case in point? Good ol’ Suguru returns (Saiga Mitsuki) as a capturable character and while his MnS felt utterly detestable…I have to admit that in this game, he turns into the most adorkable tsundere ever that deserves lots of hugs (๑´ლ`๑)♡ Heck, I’d say he’s probably the character/route I like most in the game as Yoshino (Kishio Daisuke) & Ryou (Kondou Takashi). The rest just ranged between sorta-ok (Azumi) and just meh (the Yata trio)
Kira as a heroine…was also nice improvement after Hina. While not exactly QR-level awesome, she’d head close to being Kureha’s ancestor by being more of an ass-kicker with a fine sense of humor then a moping damsel in distress.
I enjoyed it, so (irritating mechanics aside) it was fun to see both the upgraded old characters appearing alongside the new ones as both wouldn’t feel less important. The added option of making one of the 1st games routes canon if one had a save from that was a neat idea, as the events/epilogues involving that made Hina more interesting.
The game does have it’s fair share of flaws 1)be it said battle mechanic where even the ‘cheat-mode’ unlocked for completing a character of each side…is basically useless when you auto-lose of what feels 80% of the time
2)Certain parts of the plot just feel like it did a nosedive to crapville between games when basically every possible bad thing that has happened in the MnS world is suddenly all the fault of newly revealed true villain x. Whut…
3) Similar case is also by the multiples, when while some are still funny/interesting…there’s also a fair bit of ones that’d feel like ”…what was even the point of that?” ie 5 lines of Ryou basically complimenting his students=>Noticing the floor will have to be switched out=>SIGH
4) Speaking of multiples, the rng for those feels crappy to when on top of there being much more slots for ‘randomly chosen between set a’…the game seemed to be inclined to often choose the same thing 3-4 times in a row even without it being caused by save/reload.
5) While the switch to Anime-style was indeed an improvement…many times the style used mostly for the epilogues/cover image made me wish it was used for the whole game instead. That, and this port seemed to make it more obvious when CG’s get cut-off by Kira literally seeming like they cut off her head in one of them
6) Only 3 characters actually get a kiss CG.
7) I get it’s for the new players…but did they really have to force-feed the exposition about the 2 clans all over again? As if hearing it in the 1st game wasn’t enough, the only time they’d over to skip one was when it would Katase introducing wth the Yata are.
Otherwise…it was a fun series to replay, I guess? Awkward art aside, a lot of the music felt pretty good (more so vocal songs like Chapter & Sen no Yoru to Hitotsu no Asa), the story/setting was decent, often the romantic scenes felt quite ヽ(= ´ ェ `=)ノうふふ♪ adorable. Heck, this 2nd game even made me like Kishio and wish he’d do more roles like Yoshino. The odd placing of some buttons would also be balanced out by having a force-skip button, quick saves being store as a list and the ‘use backlog to jump back to a previous line’ function.
tldr; Suguru as a true route was adorable and deserves playthrough by anyone who enjoyed the 1st game at least a little. Just be warned that the routes take much longer (aka at least 5 h each?) as meanwhile I, will deal with feeling oh so dumb about how it took oh-so-many years till finally the whole Yata+karasu=Yatagarasu realiztion struck.