Over three years since River City Girls launched, we’re finally getting a proper sequel. Here’s our review of River City Girls 2, based on the PlayStation 5 version of the game.
WayForward released River City Girls back in 2019, but we enjoyed it so much in our review that it doesn’t seem that long ago as we still remember it fondly. And while River City Girls Zero provided us with an extra dose of River City Girls just a few months ago, that was essentially a re-released 1994 SNES game and we were eagerly anticipating a proper follow-up to the series.
Misako and Kyoko return for the sequel, but after being kicked out of school by the Yakuza members who now rule the city they quickly get out of practice, just hanging out at home. It’s a fun nudge towards the fact that it makes little sense that tutorials are commonplace in sequels even though the characters are experienced fighters, and this sense of humor carries over to the rest of the game as well, making confrontations with other characters and bosses both fun and challenging at the same time. Expect plenty of in-jokes as well, at least if you’re familiar with Kunio-kun and other classic brawling games.
The story isn’t just “okay, now get back in shape and kick some ass” either, as Misako and Kyoko now join forces with Sabuko, who also has an axe to grind with the Yakuza. You can select other (new) characters to play with as well, though the core mechanics are extremely similar to those in the first game – and they still lend themselves extremely well to cooperative multiplayer action. With plenty of optional quests (including dodge ball!) and upgrades to discover, there’s always a reason to push on, and navigating the city is still as handy as ever thanks to the in-game map.
There are a few new additions though, depending on how you’d like to play the game. If you enjoy multiplayer of the online variety, then the newly included support for online co-op is obviously a big one – though we tend to think that nothing beats a bit of couch co-op. Also interesting, both on- and offline, is the recruitment system – you can bring other fighters into the battle with you, which is a great way of changing up the dynamics of a fight for a little bit. In addition, even the existing characters like Misako and Kyoko have new moves and combo opportunities, all of which are subtle enhancements to the original’s formula.
As mentioned, boss fights are fun but can also be very challenging, with some attack patterns that are borderline frustrating until you finally manage to deal with them. This is especially true when playing solo and you can’t share your frustrations and tips with one another, so River City Girls 2 is definitely a game we’d recommend playing together if you have the opportunity. It’s a good sequel if you’re playing solo as well though, and an easy recommendation for those who enjoyed the first game.