We’re once again taking a look at some of the lower profile releases we managed to check out this past week. New DLC entries for Evil Genius 2 and Partisans 1941 are featured, as well as a new game in the Touhou series – Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy of Common Flowers
Evil Genius 2 – The Might of Espectro
It’s only been about a month since we reviewed Evil Genius 2, but its first DLC release is already upon us. The new Cabal pack, which can be bought separately or as part of the game’s season pass, offers players a new henchman to play with: Espectro.
Espectro is part of a number of side missions that deal with defeating and subsequently using a new character – one who also brings new equipment into the mix. With the Indoctrination Chamber you can modify the look of a quartet of existing henchmen as well, and there’s an Interrogation Device at your disposal as well.
The new content definitely feels like it fits into the existing mix seamlessly, although a campaign restart is required to actually use it – you can’t integrate Espectro into your existing savegames, even though the gameplay itself doesn’t change drastically. Although not a major issue depending on how ready you are to start anew, it’s something to consider if you’re thinking about grabbing the upcoming DLC packs as well – they might work the same way.
Partisans 1941 – Back Into Battle
We covered Partisans 1941 a while ago, and were pleasantly surprised to see a brand new DLC release for it last week. Back Into Batle may not offer a new narrative campaign, but it does add depth to the existing content while also giving players additional maps and missions to play.
Seven new locations are available in the game’s mission mode, and you can also engage with a brand new gameplay type by selection Heroic Defense, which is a wave-based take on the existing real-time tactical combat premise. New scenarios (that are customizable in terms of team members, abilities and loadouts) also offer additional replay value. Team members have also been fleshed out a little with additional dialogue that you’ll see when they’re sitting at the campfire, which enriches the narrative experience.
Although some of the content in Back to Battle certainly feels like it should have been part of a standard title update available to everyone, the new maps and new gameplay mode definitely add to the experience for loyal fans of the game, or those who’d like to experience a new take on the formula.
Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy of Common Flowers
We’ve seen the Touhou name pop up in relation to new videogames many times over the past few years, and we’ve reviewed a number of them as well. They’ve spanned genres from bullet hell shooters to RPG and have been seen in 2D, 3D and even VR. The brand new Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy of Common Flowers may sound almost philosophical with its title, but it continues the Touhou series’ aptitude for action – this time in the form of a relatively traditional 2D fighting game.
Unlike games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Injustice, Touhou Hyouibana is focused primarily on melee combat – somewhat resembling classic arcade brawlers of the 1980s in that sense. That’s not the only similarity with classic arcade games either, since the game doesn’t give you any instructions beyond a description of what each button does. There’s a melee attack, a special attack and a shooting attack, but anything beyond that is anyone’s guess. I suppose it’s why I resorted mostly to melee since hammering buttons seemed like a solid tactic.
So there’s a bit of a learning curve here as you learn that the controls are actually a bit more intricate than just button mashing your way through enemies. It’s a shame that there’s absolutely no handholding for any of that though, since there’s no tutorial to teach you about timing, combos or special moves. There’s a practice mode where you can try and uncover all of that for yourself, but without as much as an in-game reference page for the moves it all feels a bit lazy.
With a decent roster of characters (almost 20 in total) there’s some fun local arcade-like multiplayer to enjoy here, in addition to the single player story campaigns. These are very bare-bones though, much like the text-driven ‘stories’ of the old arcade fighters and nothing like the cinematic experiences that now come with games like Injustice 2 or Mortal Kombat 11.
The anime/cartoon-like visuals in Touhou Hyouibana: Antinomy of Common Flowers are excellent though, and made me realize that I’ve been missing franchises like Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Skullgirls and Under Night In-Birth Exe. All of those were fun to take on the go, and thanks to the Switch release of Touhou Hyouibana you can do the same here. On the big screen (it’s on PS4 as well) it’s not quite up to the level of those games I mentioned above, but it’s solid fun in local multiplayer.