As soon you start playing Aragami 2, you’ll not only notice the improved graphical fidelity, but also how different the controls and general feel of the game are compared to the 2016 release. It’s almost night and day in some areas, and a few of the modernisations go a long way in making this long-awaited sequel stand out.
Aragami 2’s Modern Tricks
One of the new major additions is the ability to see who or what’s around the corner. Even though it’s a fairly common feature in action-stealth titles like The Last of Us, it works really well with Aragami 2 to help keep up the pace and plan out your next move accordingly. In stark contrast, the original would often force you to stop at each bend, then constantly swing around the camera like a sitting duck that’s had way too much caffeine. This ONE aspect definitely grinded my gears after a while. I know some people prefer the au natural kind of approach, but I was never the biggest fan of this style.
Another welcomed feature is the option to knock out enemies, instead of simply stealth-killing each target. And this time, the player can actually move away any would-be victims directly out of sight. This is legitimately great, as it helps avoid that frustrating detection mechanic from the original, where some guard would just happen to stumble upon a corpse you cut down in the middle of a road.
The best part about this feature is – without a doubt – how you can quickly pick up an enemy, walk a couple paces to the edge of the map, and then suddenly throw them off of a cliff, never to be seen again! It’s so satisfying!
Stick To Stealth, Please!
But in all seriousness, knocking out enemies is a great way to clear a path in Aragami 2 and gain some easy S Ranks for all you completionist types out there. Since most missions the player is sent on require a tricky trek back to the start portal, leaving a bunch of incapacitated enemies out of sight will easily lower your mission time, and give you the highly sought after ‘No Hostiles Killed’ bonus at the results screen.
Even better is that it’ll let you avoid combat entirely… Another new addition that never really feels quite right. Instead of being insta-killed by a beam of light like in the first entry, the player can actually fight back in this sequel. That being said, the combat system seems a little too tacked on for my tastes. It borrows the stamina gauge mechanic from the Souls-borne games but just feels so off for some reason. If I could sum up the combat of Aragami 2 in three words, it’d be “jank-riddled mess”.
What isn’t anywhere near as jank though, are the ability tree moves. It’s tonnes of fun using the Wraith skill to escape from a sticky situation, or assassinating an enemy with the Bloodsmoke technique to remove a target under a heavy, concealing fog. Even the cliche ninja staples like the shuriken and smoke screen barrier make for some exciting gameplay moments that grant players even more ways to tackle a mission.
The Mission Layouts of Aragami 2
Speaking of missions, that’s the way Aragami 2 is structured. Basically, someone from the town has business that needs taking care of, and of course, you’ll be the one picking up the slack. Each completed mission grants XP, gold and other goodies for improving your character with stat bonuses and ability upgrades. Plus, you can even team up with two other players using cross-play. However, we weren’t able to test out the co-op features, unfortunately.
The missions themselves are mostly just ‘kill the target’ or ‘investigate the area’ kind of affairs, albeit the core of Aragami 2 always keeps stealth at the forefront, and it honestly feels incredibly intuitive. Apart from the combat, it’s hard to criticize the general gameplay, besides the Shadow Leap being a little finicky this time around, but that’s pretty much it when it comes to the negatives. The story is slotted somewhere in between these missions too, although there’s hardly anything going on here if I’m being completely honest… Yep, already forgotten most of the plot!
If you have even the most fleeting of interests in stealth titles, then definitely check this sequel out. You don’t even have to play the original, just jump right in and have a grand ol’ time taking down some goons – the gameplay is THAT addictive. Once you begin unlocking all the new abilities and start mastering the controls, it only gets better from then on out. The story and characters are practically non-existent, but that’s not what you’re here for. As a whole, besides a couple of slip-ups in the combat department and a few other niggles here and there, Aragami 2 is more than worth the price of admission. Oh, and did I mention that the music is pretty spectacular? Time to get stealthin’, lads.
Aragami 2 improves on many aspects of the original. Listen mode enhances the flow of gameplay, moveable bodies grant the player additional stratagems and the modernised controls feel much better overall. Even though the combat mechanics are absolutely horrendous and the story/characters are as basic as it gets, Aragami 2 is still a great time for action and stealth game fans alike.
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