Flying around closed-off arenas in a mech while trying to take down your opponent is an intriguing premise for a fighting game. Senko no Ronde 2 continues this formula by offering plenty of thrilling matches so if you're ready, let's fight!
About this time last year, I reviewed Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet. Back then, I didn't realise that it was basically a Senko no Ronde game set in the Touhou universe. Therefore, when I started playing Senko no Ronde 2 (which is the first game I played in the series), it all seemed very familiar. Anyway, you control a mech of your choosing then duke it out against a succession of opponents within circular arenas. You do so by firing an array of long-range weaponry and unleashing a few various special moves. You can also fly close to your foe so you can bash them up melee-style. It's a winning formula that results in some enjoyable and often exciting matches. When you factor in the high difficulty of more challenging fights, the gameplay really starts to shine as your abilities improve. Gamers looking for a unique spin on competitive gameplay should definitely give it a try.
Something that Senko no Ronde 2 does very well is include a wide assortment of characters (with matching mechs) and arenas. Keep in mind, each character has a distinct set of attacks and abilities so experimenting with all of them can be very rewarding. That is, if you're up for putting in the time to do so. The Japanese voice cast does a decent job of fleshing out these characters although I can't help but wish there was an English voice option. The stages themselves look fantastic. There's even one that's almost identical to the space colony from Zone of the Enders. Although each one is interesting to observe as you battle, they don't really alter the gameplay but at least they offer plenty of visual variety. On top of this, the energetic electronic soundtrack is reminiscent of early-2000s arcade games and it does a great job of amplifying the onscreen action. Simply put, Senko no Ronde 2 is a great sounding and looking game.
Senko no Ronde 2 includes your basic arcade mode and local multiplayer. However, there are a couple of additional modes that add a ton of replay value. The first is online multiplayer where you take on opponents in order to increase your rank. Secondly, the story mode features branching paths and loads of dialogue sequences with the odd battle interspersed between. On top of all this, there are loads of gallery items to unlock. You can spend hours playing Senko no Ronde 2 and still have much more to see and do.
All of that being said, the story mode can be rather tedious. I usually enjoy watching characters interact in these sorts of games but the cast here came across as mostly forced and uninteresting. As a result, progressing in story mode can end up feeling overwhelmingly monotonous after a while. This is too bad because the concept of branching paths is quite promising.
WarTech: Senko no Ronde
If you'd like more shoot 'em up fighting action, be sure to check out WarTech: Senko no Ronde for Xbox 360. It released worldwide a decade ago and is the definitive version of the original Senko no Ronde arcade game.
Although Senko no Ronde 2 seems like a great game so far, it has one major flaw that's sure to alienate many gamers who try it out. Basically, the controls are incredibly complicated and tough to master. Each shoulder button and face button is mapped to a different action. Considering most similar games have you use about 3 buttons, imagine trying to memorize 8. Also, there are moves that you can only pull off by using a combination of these actions. Therefore, there's a very steep learning curve that most gamers probably wouldn't have the patience to overcome. The only other issue is the fact that the game world is very unmemorable due to the generic characters and general lack of personality. When you compare this to Touhou Genso Rondo which features simpler controls and a charming game world, it's disappointing. That being said, the gameplay here is definitely much more visceral and there's far more variety.
Senko no Ronde 2 offers a satisfying blend of genres that results in some engaging competitive gameplay. Considering you need plenty of patience to master its complex controls, make sure you're willing to put in the necessary effort before entering the arena.
- + Enjoyable and challenging blend of fighting and shoot 'em up gameplay
- + Lots of characters and arenas
- + Good amount of replay value
- - Controls are rather complex and require a lot of practice to master
- - Game world is mostly unmemorable
- - Story mode is quite monotonous