Kamen Rider: Battride War II recently hit PlayStation 3 and Wii U in Japan, providing another ample dose of action that blends the worlds of Neo-Heisei-era Riders and the gameplay stylings of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Needless to say there’s an endless well of beating dudes up to enjoy here, and if both Musou-style games and Kamen Rider are your bag, you’ll be right in the sweet spot with this one.
You needn’t have religiously followed every recent Kamen Rider series to appreciate playing as their respective Riders in Battride War II. Some familiarity certainly helps, serving to heighten the excitement of selecting, say, Fourze for the first time and marveling at all his insane attacks. Even the shows I didn’t follow had plenty of surprises hidden in the combos of their respective protagonists, though, with standard attacks unleashing a flurry of bullets before transitioning into a series of blows that freeze everyone in the player’s path the next. That comprises about one second of playing as Kamen Rider Wizard so you can imagine what the rest of the campaign is like.
All the heavy-duty yelling and destruction is centered on a selection of Kamen Rider movies this time around, including Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, Kamen Rider W Forever: A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate, and Kamen Rider Wizard in Magic Land. Hopping back and forth through various features as the Rider of your choosing eventually builds to the ultimate goal: Taking out King Dark, the giant leader of the Government of Darkness who first appeared in 1974’s Kamen Rider X. It’s fitting, then, that we’re fighting him and everyone who serves under him 40 years later.
While you’ll continue to unlock new Riders to control—from newcomer Kamen Rider Gaim to Wizard, Fourze, OOO, and more—you’ll likely grow accustomed to a smaller handful of preferred standbys and level them up accordingly. Missions are as straightforward as can be, but it’s the Kamen Rider flavor that really makes this a heavy dose of Musou worth swallowing. While Battride War II isn’t going to change the mind of anyone who doesn’t enjoy playing this type of game, it’s so over-the-top wild with its attacks and style that the rest should find it pretty hard to resist.
A few minor qualms keep Battride War II from being as consistently fun as possible. Summoning and hopping on your motorcycle is pretty underwhelming and comes off as an afterthought that was wedged in simply because, well, it’s Kamen Rider. Bike animations are really stiff and the controls are a little too all over the place to lend any necessary weight, though it is fun to skid into arenas and pull off a leaping attack at just the right moment. There are also a few Riders who just aren’t that fun to play as, as it all comes down to how smoothly their moves chain together. Even though I mentioned Fourze earlier on, those crazy moves don’t transition from one to the other as seamlessly as some of the other characters’.
Despite some repetition that comes with the territory, though, Eighting did a decent enough job of replicating the colorful early morning fun of Toei’s long-running series. Like the shows and movies it brings to life, story comes in a distant second to the action, and the way enemies behave and collapse to the ground right before exploding is appropriately rubber-suited. I missed out on the first Battride War, but it’s not too surprising to find tokusatsu to be a nice fit for this type of game.
Beyond the main Chronicle campaign—which has branching paths with bonus missions and more—there’s an unlockable Survival mode, a Free Mission mode, and a Gallery. Kamen Rider: Battride War II will definitely scratch the itch of anyone who’s into modern Kamen Rider shows, and your average hack-and-slash fan might just get their own Rider-size kick out of the henshin hero Musou madness at hand.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
System(s): PlayStation 3, Wii U
Thanks to Play-Asia.com for providing a PlayStation 3 copy of Kamen Rider: Battride War II for review