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Dusk Diver 2: Review of the new anime-style action rpg. Did we like it?

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Dusk Diver 2 is a very interesting game on paper but it actually suffers from some technical and structural defects.

Dusk Diver 2: Review of the new anime-style action rpg.  Did we like it?

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Released around the globe in October 2019, the first Dusk Diver for PlayStation 4 it closed quite abruptly, giving the player the impression that Yumo and the other protagonists of the story had much more to tell. A suspicion that became a reality in early 2022, when the sequel packaged by the boys WANIN International landed on PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Thanks to the publisher Idea Factory International, the product that had long been confined to the Asian continent has finally reached western markets, which is why we immediately jumped on the PlayStation 5 version of Dusk Diver 2, which curiously is only available in our hemisphere. Remembering that the title has already been available for purchase since August 30th, it’s time to find out whether or not the Taiwanese studio has managed to perfect the progenitor’s formula!

A war between factions

Although Dusk Diver 2 is set exactly one year after the conclusion of the first game, its story restarts directly after the events of the previous episode.

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Following the defeat of Nemea by Yang Yumo, Leo, Bahet and Le Viada, the fusion between the human world and Youshanding (a reality identical to the real one, but populated by frightening creatures) has been averted, but the problems for the city of Taipei and the increasingly vast and improvised staff of the Tumaz Mart are far from finished. Not only the menacing Beasts of Chaos have never completely disappeared from Youshanding, but some mysterious organizations are also competing for dominance over the “Dragon Vein”, a particular form of energy that powers the very advanced technology developed by the gods of Kunlun and Elysium. Having unwittingly kept her powers, which in the meantime have even increased, the young Yumo is therefore forced to set aside her studies again to patrol the streets of the Ximending commercial district and protect it from the various threats that have settled there.

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Net of a rather hasty writing, the plot of Dusk Diver 2 entertains the player with interesting developments and some twists, which however they can only be fully understood if this has already completed Yumo’s previous adventure. The references to the first chapter of the saga are indeed continuous, and unfortunately the brief initial summary that the developer has made to meet newbies does not actually provide the notions necessary to directly address the sequel.

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If in the first hours the references are sporadic and mostly linked to the reintroduction of the cronies – whose characterization has instead been explored and deepened properly through a series of secondary missions – in the second part of the campaign they become frequent. Therefore, anyone not familiar with the Dusk Diver universe could struggle to get carried away by the events narrated by the sequel, whose longevity settles around 13-20 hoursdepending on the time spent on the over sixty side missions included in the package.

A team effort

Qualitatively speaking, the narrative plot of the product does not differ much from what was seen in the progenitor, so much so that the real revolution used by WANIN International focuses almost exclusively on its combat system. As pointed out in our test of Dusk Diver 2, the developers have tried to give more variety to the gameplay of the second episode, first making the other main characters playable.

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While in the first Dusk Diver it was only possible to control Yang Yumo, who during the battle could briefly summon the allied deities and borrow their tools of death to unleash devastating special techniques, the most appreciated novelty of the sequel must be identified precisely in the possibility of impersonating all the various co-stars, who are also characterized by well-diversified fighting styles. Light and fast, Yumo is the classic street fighter, not surprisingly the girl tends to to trap opponents with an almost infinite sequence of kicks and punches; perfect for melee, this also has some skills that electrify the enemies, abruptly interrupting their offensive and offering Yumo herself some easy targets. Characterized by a beefy physique, Leo excels in heavy blows and his weapon consumes bullets to trigger area attacks, while the long-range guns of the fascinating Le Viada allow it to provoke opponents, simultaneously hitting a certain number of Beasts of the Chaos and at the same time keep a decent safety distance.

Putting aside the fifth playable character, about which we prefer not to anticipate anything, the most effective fighter of the band is undoubtedly the musician Bahet, who with his gigantic scythe manages to chain a frightening number of combos with ease and slaughter surrounding opponentsregardless of whether this is on the ground or in mid-air.

Having equipped each fighter with sets of moves and abilities that on balance make them unique, developer WANIN has well thought of bringing the number of characters that can be dragged onto the battlefield to four, even allowing the player to take control of a different hero at any time. Where the support skills are limited to asking for the sudden intervention of an ally, the possibility of changing the controlled character on the fly has greatly benefited the playful component of Dusk Diver 2, as it favors the adoption of strategies aimed at exploiting to one’s advantage. the exclusive skills of the individual team members.

It is only a pity that the study did not also intervene on the pace of the clashes, which in our opinion is not entirely satisfactory. Accomplices the very predictable attack patterns of the enemies, the excessive amount of health points at their disposal and the poor artificial intelligence that maneuvers them, without forgetting the limitation of the moveset of Yumo and his companions, the fight phases of the beat’em up, that at least on paper must have been adrenaline, in the long run they are boring and repetitive. Except for the boss fights, during which the difficulty very often undergoes a dizzying surge, most of the time we find ourselves fighting for several minutes against immobile opponents and unable to offer the slightest stimulus to the user.

The other serious flaw of Dusk Diver 2 is represented by the party growth system, which just like in the first episode requires you to manually spend the accumulated experience to improve the parameters of the fighters.

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Applied to the original Dusk Diver, which at the time included only one playable character, this solution incentivized to customize Yumo’s stats according to the user’s preferences and play style. Since the experience points accumulated in the sequel are not individual, but shared between all fighters, in Dusk Diver 2 the player is instead forced to dose the expenditure to ensure that their units grow hand in hand. As a result, if in the first few hours we tried to upgrade everyone, the difficulty peaks and the meager rewards in terms of experience points obtained through the disputes pushed us in the long run to improve almost exclusively the parameters of Yumo and Bahet, namely the characters more suitable for melee. At present, the formula of Dusk Diver 2 appears to be penalizing and moreover rIt takes long grinding sessions.

In that of Taipei

Moving on to the analysis of the technical and artistic sector, we must recognize that Dusk Diver 2 has roughly met our expectations. In terms of performance, the product undoubtedly performs better than its predecessor, especially on the PlayStation 5, where the frame rate is almost always around 60 FPS (with sporadic dips) and loading times when moving from one area to another in Taipei take only a couple of seconds.

Regardless of the platform, the title is however plagued by the annoying phenomenon of stuttering, especially when it finds itself having to load hordes of enemies or “slenderman” into the city, which to our great regret take on a real shape only when you get closer.

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On the flip side, the Ximending business district and the other areas of the Taiwanese capital are very beautiful and colorful, also thanks to the anime style much appreciated in the first Dusk Diver and that the WANIN International studio has wisely chosen to preserve. The polygonal models of Yumo and his companions may not be as detailed as the excellent artwork that accompanies the exchange of words, but compared to the progenitor we have noticed perceptible improvements.

Nothing to complain, however, on the dubbing – in this case available in Chinese and Japanese – and on the lively soundtrack, whose electronic songs are well suited to the urban context of Taipei and battles with the Beasts of Chaos.

Dusk Diver 2
Dusk Diver 2Version Analyzed PlayStation 5By expanding the roster of playable characters and the number of fighters that can be dragged on the front line, the guys at WANIN International have endowed Dusk Diver 2 with a pleasant strategic component completely absent in the first episode. However, instead of conceiving a new growth system reasoned and designed specifically for the team, the studio has kept the leveling system of the original, which allowed to manually intervene on the parameters of the Yang Yumo alone. Being shared among the various members of the gang, the experience points accumulated through the clashes are not sufficient to simultaneously improve the fighters available to the player, who is often forced to focus on one or two heroes to cope with a balance of difficulty to be reviewed. at most, neglecting the remaining three. Compared to the progenitor, Dusk Diver 2 has in short made some appreciable steps forward, but the road to perfect the formula of the saga and express its full potential would still seem long.

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