Despite a mostly lukewarm reception to the first game, IFI has just released Dusk Diver 2, a new action RPG sequel for PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch. We played the PlayStation 4 version.
Not having played the first game prior to this review, I read up on the plot as Dusk Diver 2 is a direct continuation of the story. Luckily, an in-game recap of the events in that first game is available as well, which helps at those moments where plot points and/or characters get referenced. It took a while for the characters and story to start resonating with me though, so perhaps you’ll get better results if you’re coming in having enjoyed the first game already.
Protagonist Yumo is a returning character, and has the ability to ‘dive’ into another dimension when you’re not exploring Ximending, which is where you live and work alongside most of the rest of the cast. Working at a shop, you’ll be performing delivery duties and running other errands, and although the nature of these jobs isn’t too exciting it’s a good way to explore the game’s well-realized locations.
As you get to know your environment, the game gradually introduces battles – both above ground and inside dungeons. And while Dusk Diver 2 might look a lot like a typical JRPG on the surface, these battles are of the real-time variety, often resolved through button mashing your way out of trouble. You’re not just spamming X though, as you have light and heavy attacks and a few specials. More adept players will even be able to make use of expert timing in order to pull off dodges and counters – useful strategies against stronger opponents.
You’ll also gradually unlock additional moves, but there isn’t enough variety in the enemies that the game throws at you – and most of them are resilient to the point where battles draw out too long for their own good. To break up the somewhat repetitive nature of the combat, you can switch between party members and explore different fight styles – though you apply character upgrades from the same pool of experience points and that makes it likely that you’ll develop a favorite rather than a balanced team.
Dusk Diver 2 features plenty of content, but a lot of the side quests you receive will quickly start to blend together – heading from waypoint to waypoint while you’re fighting a couple of bad guys along the way. What doesn’t help from that perspective is that the writing to support the story (or at least the English translation) doesn’t do a stellar job at keeping you engaged either. The core plot is interesting enough, but as mentioned before it didn’t grab me right away.
In a very populated genre, Dusk Diver 2 does little to stand out from the crowd, but if you enjoy this type of game then it ticks enough boxes for you, especially if you like your combat of the real time variety.