The sequel to the critically acclaimed Ganryu, Hakuma Kojiro is a new and improved experience. Players get more than twice as many stages for even more intense fighting. With this game, players can enjoy one of the most competitive genres in modern gaming-Fighting games!
The “ganryu 2 review” is a game that has been released in Japan. The game is the sequel to Ganryu: Kojiro of the North Sea, which was released in 2011.
What is it about 2022 and sequels to previously unreleased Neo Geo games? We kicked off the year with the fantastic Windjammers 2, and now Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro has arrived a few months later. This raised the most important issue of all: who the heck was Ganryu in the first place? I’d be surprised if you’d heard of, much alone played, its predecessor, which was a pretty niche side-scrolling action game launched for the Neo Geo in 1999, well after the system’s heyday. I’m not sure why the creators and publisher decided there was a need for a sequel, but hey, I’m not complaining. It might have been a lot worse.
It’s a lot of fun to run and slash at the same time. I wish I didn’t have to double-tap to run, but what can I say…
Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is an action-platformer in the vein of Strider. More so in the sense that you control a samurai/ninja hybrid with a moveset that is extremely similar to Strider Shiryu’s from the late 1980s. You have a fast-paced katana strike that also acts as a projectile deflector, a limited number of kunais, and a screen-clearing magic attack that is good for crowd management but worthless against bosses (more on that later). In reality, the game closely resembles Strider’s gameplay, right down to its shortcomings, such as the need of a double-tap on the directional pad or analog stick to run. For crying out loud, we’re ninjas. Why in the world would I want to step into a game where everyone is out to kill me?
Given how successfully the game manages to seem like an even more detailed rendition on the legendary Neo Geo “24-bit” graphical art style, it’s difficult not to fall for the game’s graphics. It’s even more impressive when you consider that the game was created on a current engine (Unity). It looks fantastic and performs well. I’ve heard that other versions of the game have had framerate difficulties, but I haven’t seen any with the Xbox One version. The music is also rather wonderful, featuring traditional Japanese instruments blended with more contemporary sensibilities. Although I had hoped for a little more, shall we say, “pizazz” from it.
The adversaries in Ganryu 2 are a pushover, which is both amusing and irritating…
I’ve given this game a lot of praise so far, but I can’t say I’ve had as much fun with it as I’d hoped. It tries much too hard to be a quarter muncher from the 1990s, as seen by its exasperating difficulty spikes. Simply said, this is the game that puts you into somewhat reasonable levels before punishing you with a monster that demands enormous amounts of skill and memory to overcome. Bosses, as is typical in games like these, pack a lot of punch and have much too much health straight away.
I understand why they’re so difficult in an arcade game: they’re supposed to be the stumbling block that requires the player to use a lot of lives (and money). I would have understood if Ganryu 2 had been a genuine arcade game in an actual arcade cabinet. However, as a consumer product with an upfront entry cost, I believe a difficulty slider would have been beneficial to the game. Its limited lives system goes against the “if at first you don’t succeed, try again” ethos seen in games like Dark Souls I may repeat a combat as many times as I want in these games without worrying about my limited lives. That is not the case in this instance. You’re out after three strikes.
…until you reach the boss of the level.
To avoid sounding like a scratched record pleading for a difficulty slider, Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is the kind of game that would have been a lot more fun if it had one. It excels in many areas, including aesthetics and handling, but some of the game’s difficulty spikes, most notably its unpleasant boss battles, will irritate many players. Overall, a solid arcade action game that brought back memories of oldies like Strider… However, I’m likely to stick to the more fun sources of inspiration.
Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro uses a contemporary engine to mimic the graphical style of the first game with additional detail and particle effects. For the most part, it works rather well.
From the wonderful gaming sensation while chopping down foes in front of you to how bothersome it is to double tap in order to run, it plays similarly to arcade classics like Strider.
All things considered, it’s a really decent soundtrack, with a lot of traditional Japanese music tossed in for good measure. I did, however, anticipate a little more “pizazz” from it.
This would have been a lot better game if dealing with the emotional rollercoaster that is the difficulty curve wasn’t so aggravating.
Final Score: 7.5
On PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is now available.
On the Xbox One, the game was reviewed.
The publisher gave a copy of Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro.
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