Published on July 3rd, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham
River City Girls 2 Review
Summary: River City Girls 2 is a superb sequel that builds on the already brilliant original in small but meaningful ways.
River City Refined
River City Girls 2 is the dictionary definition of a great sequel. That is to say, it takes pretty much everything that worked in the original and builds on it in some meaningful way.
There is no part of the phenomenal River City Girls that hasn’t been expanded on, refined, or literally doubled in this superb sequel to Way Forward’s barmy teen brawler.
River City Girls 2 opens moments after the first game ends. Our heroes, Kyoko and Misako are reunited with their boyfriends as Sabbo lands in the garbage after being drop-kicked out of her office window. Her gang in disarray, she’s quickly scooped up by her obnoxious brother Ken and taken to see her incarcerated father Sabu, aka the boss from River City Ransom. Seeing that his children have failed him, he breaks out of prison by walking through the nearest brick wall and swiftly takes over the city again and puts his idiot son in charge of the High School, who then expells Kyoko and Misako.
The pair then spend two months at Kyokos playing video games before getting sucked into a scheme to take River City back from the Yakuza during a trip to the mall to pick up the new Vampire Puncher game.
The first thing you’ll notice is that you can now select the River City Boys right off the bat, but that’s not the best part. As you brawl your way through the city you’ll unlock even more fighters including Street dancer Proovie, who skates around enemies and uses breakdancing moves to pummel punks. However, it’s the addition of Marian from Double Dragon as a playable character that is the real highlight. With her legendary abs, Marian uses heavy attacks and boxing moves to knock out anyone stupid enough to get in her way.
The presentation is still absolutely delightful, with a superb pixelated art style, great voice work from the cast, and another cracking soundtrack by Megan McDuffee, with both bangers returning from the original as well as new tracks created specifically for the new boss fights and areas you’ll visit throughout the sequel.
The writing is as witty and razor-sharp as the original, and the banter between Kyoko, Misako, and their friends and enemies is still incredibly entertaining and funny throughout. While the higher stakes story, although less idiosyncratic than its predecessors plot to track down their boyfriends, it’s still a riot throughout.
Though the setting is the same and many of the rank-and-file thugs you’ll fight are the same as those seen in River City Girls, the areas and world map has been expanded while returning areas have had additional levels of detail added, which makes them all feel a little more lived in.
Likewise, a lot of side characters and shopkeepers return, like Billy and Jimmy running the local Dojos, while Skullmageddon has been given a much bigger role in the story.
The general brawling is still tons of fun, but the highlight once again is the game’s brilliant boss battles that see you taking on everyone from dodging gunfire from Sabo’s douchy brother Ken in a cinema and a hypnotized Marian dumping toxic waste on you in the sewers, all the way to an epic showdown with Sabu.
The multiplayer has been expanded as well as it now allows for four players to battle it out in either online or local coop. Though we didn’t get a chance to try the game online during our playtest, the local coop is seamless and allows extra players to easily drop in and out at any time.
River City Girls 2, is just more River City Girls and I have no problems with that at all. Though it doesn’t revolutionize the formula in any major way, it never needed to as River City Girls was pretty much perfect to begin with.
With satisfying combat, brilliant boss fights, gorgeous graphics, a superb soundtrack and seamless multiplayer, River City Girls 2 is one of the best brawlers I have had the pleasure to play.