Review: Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls


Stop trying to make fetch happen

Like Chris, I too fell in love with Yo-Kai Watch, though even before it launched here in America as I was playing an import copy before then. 

While Chris seemed to enjoy the Bony Spirits a lot, I find myself torn about Fleshy Souls (the only difference being the two version being some exclusive Yokai from what I can tell). This sequel has more of what I loved from the first game, however, it has even more of what I didn't, so much so that the bad almost outweighs the good, but not quite.

Yo-Kai Watch 2 (3DS)
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Nintendo
MSRP: $39.99
Released: July 10, 2014 (Japan), September 30, 2016, TBA 2017 (EU)

If you've never played Yo-Kai Watch, do yourself a favor and quickly play through the first one. I'll wait. Done? Okay, so you know how you there a few fetch quests here and there that had you running around with an awful stamina meter that quickly runs out? Imagine a game where you do that, but even more so and you've got Yo-Kai Watch 2.

While this game has a much bigger world, tons of new Yokai to befriend, and a lot more personality from the main characters, it seems to amplify all the problems the original had, but especially fetch quests. While the original had a fair share of them, this sequel has you doing fetch quests for a majority of the game be it side missions of story quests.

On top of that, you don't get the faster bicycle until much later in the game than the original, meaning tedious running back and forth to collect items, catch Yokai, chat with characters or whatever the quests call for. While you do eventually unlock the ability to fast travel it is still done via mirrors that have to be activated to do so, and by the time you've found them all, you'll most likely have already completed the game.

Length-wise this sequel lasts at least double what the first game did, much of the time is due to the developers seeming purposefully doing things to slow down progress. Not only is there the aforementioned fetch quests that require the boring exercise of running all around the world with the awful stamina meter, but also a train system that sometimes has you just sitting still for over a minute (I timed it) while the train moves with no interaction or dialogue happening on screen.

There are multiple quests that force you to use the train system, even if you have fast travel unlocked due to some of the train stations not having a mirror to travel to. It honestly baffles me how anyone thought this kind of obviously stalling would be beneficial, and it makes the original look like a much more refined package.

Like I said, it isn't all bad, as there is a ton to love here. All the main characters get a lot more dialogue and personality, especially Whisper and Jibanyan (that orange cat you see everywhere). All of the new Yokai are colorful, cute, or just plain silly, even if many of them are just reskins of Jibanyan. The Yokai designs are far more interesting to me than anything Pokémon has done in a long time, but obviously, that is very subjective.

The same battling system from the first game makes a return, with some additional minigames to activate Soultimate moves or purify Yokai. If you're not familiar, Yokai attack automatically aside from their ultimate moves which must be manually activated. During battles only three Yokai are on the playing field out of six total, but you're able to rotate in the others at any time. Bosses are still here, and even cooler than ever such as a giant skeleton that gets his moves from an equally big capsule machine.

Additionally, now you can battle and trade Yokai with friends, as well as play the simple but fun Yo-Kai Watch Blasters cooperative beat-'em-up (which eventually had its own standalone spinoff called Yokai Watch Busters in Japan, that literally has Yokai running a ghost-busting service from an old fire station like Ghostbusters).

Even with its failings, I still love Yo-Kai Watch 2. It may not be as tight of a package or have enough variety in its quests, but the additional multiplayer components and new Yokai make this worth picking up. If you never played the first one, you should, but it isn't required as you won't be missing out on much as you can't transfer Yokai between the two games, so this is a decent place to start. Just be prepared to 'play fetch' a lot. A whole lot. But in the end you get a bunch of spoopy ghost friends, so what could be better than that? (Don't say Pokémon.)

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls reviewed by Jed Whitaker



Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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Jed Whitaker
Jed Whitaker   gamer profile



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