By Justin Guillou / December 11th, 2017
|Title||Senko no Ronde 2|
|Release Date||September 7. 2017|
|Genre||Shoot em up. fighting|
The Senko no Ronde series is an interesting one. For one, it offers a unique take on both fighting games and arcade style shooters. Also it is one of those titles that was largely ignored when it was initially localized and released worldwide as Wartech: Senko No Ronde. Funny enough, Ubisoft of all people pubished it! Senko no Ronde did have somewhat of a cult following as a much more story-focused sequel, Senko no Ronde DUO, was released in Japan and Touhou Genso Rondo Bullet Ballet was somewhat inspired by the title. This brings me to this current release, Senko no Ronde 2, which is a reboot of sorts of Senko no Ronde DUO. So if you were one of the people looking for a sequel to Wartech, Degica games has you covered in this release.
What sets Senko no Ronde 2 apart from the rest of the pack is that it plays like a mix of a fighting game and a bullet hell shooter. Characters have unique move lists and special abilities. It’s actually a really unique game and I don’t know what else to compare it to other than the aforementioned Touhou game and an obscure doujin title called Acceleration of Sugiri. Being a fighting game, you have the standard modes like arcade, versus and training mode. Essentially, you and an opponent face off in a ring and each of your characters feature an arsenal of various bullets and lasers that fill the screen as you try and lower your opponent’s life bar. Once a character’s life bar is depleted they enter Vanish mode. This is basically a second wind giving them access to stronger attacks. However, the trade off is that they will be defeated if they get hit an additional time.
One interesting aspect of the fights is the BOSS mode. Basically, when you activate this time stops and your character summons an even bigger robot that takes up a huge amount of the screen. While this is active you can use much stronger attacks than usual, however, should you take too much damage in this form you will lose it and be turned back to your regular form. If BOSS mode is activated while your character is in the ‘Vanish’ mode mentioned earlier, Final BOSS mode is activated, which is an even more powerful version of that character’s BOSS. This can really turn the tide of battle if used well. The mechanics in Senko no Ronde 2 will take some getting used to but once it clicks, it’s actually a lot of fun. In addition to the normal fighting game modes, Senko no Ronde 2 has Story Mode DUO, which is a retelling of the story mode from the original Senko no Ronde DUO.
The story mode plays out a bit like a visual novel. There is a lot of voiced dialogue and info being presented to the player with the occasional fight thrown in during key moments. The fights usually are normal bouts, but occasionally the mission objective is slightly different such as letting the time run out before defeating an opponent. The story mode is surprisingly lengthy for this kind of game, complete with hidden routes and bad endings often unlocked via dialogue choices.
The character art in this mode is a bit of a mixed bag to me. Some characters look fine but others seem to have really awkward looking expressions. To be fair, this character artwork was ported from the 2011 release, but it just makes you wish they used the new artwork found in the other modes instead. Also the story, while fairly interesting, is told in a bit of a convoluted way. Essentially you experience the story from at least three different perspectives and you end up playing certain scenarios out of order. While it all comes together by the end, it makes for a very confusing story, at least until you get far enough and start putting the pieces together. You should be able to get through it in about 5-6 hours but it will feel like more considering how much is going on.
The graphics are unfortunately not very impressive. This looks like a game that would have fit very well in the early 2000s. Hell it’s barely an improvement over the original Wartech, which also looked unimpressive for its time. The robot models are basic and lack the kind of distinctness that will make me remember them after playing this game. The backgrounds also are not very interesting and have kind of a bland look to them. You have your basic city and space colony levels, all things you would expect to see, but they seem to lack a certain distinct style to make them stand out.
I realize asking for better visuals in this kind of game is a bit of a stretch, considering many of these games come from smaller companies and the target audience likely expects the relatively low quality visuals, but I really think the shoot ’em up genre can benefit from a slight improvement in graphical power. It would be nice to finally see a shoot ’em up actually take advantage of the new hardware. At least the game runs at a very smooth 60 fps, making the battles a lot more fast paced and intense. The music that accompanies the action is also pretty good with a few catchy themes.
There is a gallery and encyclopedia for you to get familiarized with the series and the characters. If there is a problem with Senko no Ronde it’s that the game’s appeal is likely to be very limited due to how “out there” the concept and core gameplay is. That said, In Japan they are planning to have Tenjin from Virtual On and Assault Suits Valken as playable characters in the future. Both of those franchises are bigger and more recognizable than Senko no Ronde so perhaps this series is getting more popular, or at the very least may be getting more exposure.
If you are on board with the story and the learning curve, Senko no Ronde 2 can be a very fun game and there is plenty of content for you to enjoy. However, those of you that are a bit more reluctant to break outside of your comfort zone may not feel that the game is worth the $39.99 price tag. It might not look too appealing on the surface but if you give it a chance, you might discover a nice little hidden gem here. There is a demo available so at the very least you can try it before you buy it.
Review provided by publisher
Bullet-Hellfighting gamePCPlaystationSenkoSenko no RondeSenko no Ronde 2Wartech