YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Role-playing Game
 
Rating: PG
 
Release Date: 29/09/2017
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


User Rating
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Positives


- Charming and interesting Yo-kai designs
- Plethora of content to explore
- Battle system is still fun

Negatives


- Early story is too similar to the original YO-KAI WATCH
- Not many improvements made to game formula


Posted October 13, 2017 by

 
Full Article
 
 

When YO-KAI WATCH first released in Japan, it was met by relative success, but it wasn’t until the anime series began that the series really took off. After middling first week sales, YO-KAI WATCH went on to become a phenom that hit high sales in Japan normally reserved for the likes of Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest and Pokemon. While the series has been cruising along in Japan, the West have had to wait until late 2017 for YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters, a third edition of YO-KAI WATCH 2 that was originally released in late 2014. As you’d expect from a sequel, Psychic Specters certainly builds on the base constructed by the first game, but is so close to the original that some might be disappointed.

Psychic Specters opens just after the end of the first game, as a mysterious group of Yo-kai fly across the town and wipe the memories of yourself and all the Yo-kai you had befriended. It’s a simple and effective way to reset and retcon the power you had accumulated in the original game, allowing them to continue the story while avoiding power-creep. This also works to set up the defining theme of the early game – déjà vu – which is what I felt constantly as I played through. This was especially noticeable early in the game, where complete quest lines and story points were copied wholesale from the original YO-KAI WATCH. Once again, I was befriending Baku, an ant-eater like Yo-kai who can transform to look like yourself, so that I could sneak out at night. Once again, I was helping the owner of Timers & More find things to upgrade my YO-KAI WATCH. While the story does begin to deviate the more you play, the early game is so similar to the last one that I quickly grew bored and began to lose focus. A bit more differentiation in the early running would have helped make the game that much more engaging.

For the most part in Psychic Specters, you’ll be taking part in the same types of mini-games and activities that you did in the original game. Bug catching is back, with the frustrating impreciseness still intact, as is fishing, fusing and other activities. There’s certainly heaps of content to play around with in the world of Psychic Specters, with a range of new mini-games, like the new rhythm dance troops and secret doors that lead to a variety of different challenges. This is one place where Psychic Specters truly expands on the original game, creating a world that is full of fun things to do as you roam it. The other way the game expands on the original formula is with the introduction of over 200 new Yo-kai. Some of these are completely new, while others are altered versions of existing Y0-kai. Along with some Yo-kai receiving different evolution methods in Psychic Specters, this leaves you with a raft of favourites to befriend, as well as completely new friends to try out in battle. Psychic Specters certainly provides you with value for money as far as content goes.

If you haven’t played the first YO-KAI WATCH before, the battle system is a semi-automated real-time system. Three of your team of six Yo-kai will be on-screen at any one time and will automatically attack the enemy and support themselves. While they do this, you’re able to make them target specific enemy Yo-kai, swap them out by spinning the dial on the bottom screen of the 3DS and unleash their Soultimate Moves by completing small mini-games during battle. It’s an interesting and unique system that is unlike anything else I’ve played. Even two games in, I still enjoy furiously tapping at coins on my screen so that my Jibanyan can unleash his Paws of Fury to obliterate a group of enemy Yo-kai. The addition of a new style unlocked later in the game keeps the system fresh as well, if you feel like a change after spending some time with the regular system.

The real strength of YO-KAI WATCH comes from its Yo-kai designs and the world they inhabit. A plethora of content to consume means nothing if the things surrounding it are bland and dull. The world is vibrant, using a range of colours that catch the eye, with different areas following slightly different architectural themes. Characters are all unique and look good, but it’s the outlandish designs of the Yo-kai themselves that truly catch the eye. Filled with colourful, sometimes cute, sometimes garish, and always higher interesting designs, the Yo-kai pull the entire game together. Some are reskins and alterations of other Yo-kai, as opposed to completely new designs, but even they are fun to look at. The visual variety is immense, easily hitting the sort of design variety we started seeing in Pokemon Gold/Silver and Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire.

YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters is a game that is inherently interesting to me, as its combination of monster collecting and plethora of content are things that appeal to me. The early story, and its adherence to following the original game’s plotpoints, is disengaging and takes away from the positive changes the game makes. YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters is a charming RPG filled with character and plenty to do, but if you’ve played the original game, keep in mind that you’ll largely get more of the same.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting. Also, pugs are awesome. Puglife.