Fans of old-fashioned stealth will find a lot to love about Aragami 2.
Sequel to Lince Works’ 2016 hit, Aragami 2 doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the series to enjoy it thanks to a whole new story complete with a new protagonist. His name’s Kurai by default, but you can change that if you wish. Because after all, this is your adventure. You are an Aragami, and you’re not alone.
While co-op was a feature of the original Aragami, here it’s much more of a focus. In Aragami 2 up to three players can join forces and work their way through just over 50 missions, working as a team to complete their objectives like ghosts, bloodthirsty maniacs or anywhere in between. And with the focus on multiplayer comes customisation, allowing each player to make their character their own.
An experience system means that, over the course of the game, levels can be earned and skill points obtained. They can then be used to unlock a wide range of active and passive skills, opening up new gameplay opportunities. The first skill you learn, Whisper, doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it does come in handy when trying to attract the attention of enemies. Level yourself up considerably, however, and you’ll be able to unlock snazzy supernatural skills like Shadow Kill, which allows you to kills enemies silently from a distance.
On the cosmetic side of things, blueprints can be found by completing missions that allow you to craft new equipment. There are dyes, too, so you can change their colour. Though not all blueprints are for cosmetic items; some will allow you to craft useful tools such as shurikens or potions with various effects. And then there are charms, which can be equipped to your gear to provide various stat adjustments. You might want to sacrifice a bit of attack power for a bonus to stealth, for example.
So far, so good. And so it’s a shame that Aragami 2 soon settles into becoming an overly repetitive stealth experience. While it has a story, chances are you won’t really care about it, and so all it has to really stand on are its character development and the gameplay itself. And the game’s structure does it no favours.
With the town where you can learn new skills and manage your equipment serving as a hub, missions are accepted from a noticeboard before you travel through a portal to undertake them. The trouble is, Aragami 2 will have you visiting the same locations time and time again as you beaver away at its hefty campaign. While things like the number of enemies present and their locations might change, it doesn’t make things that much more exciting. Throw in repetitive objectives like eavesdropping on enemies, collecting items and killing targets, and you have a game that’s enjoyable in small doses but soon grows tiresome.
It’s fun learning new shadow powers and putting them to good use, however. It’s also pretty cool that unlike most stealth games, Aragami 2 empowers you; thanks to your abilities and a new combat system, getting caught is never quite as catastrophic as you figure it might be. But even those can’t make the loop of ‘enter a map, complete menial task, escape, enter another map, complete another menial task, escape again’ fun in the long run. If Aragami 2 had half the number of missions but made them a little more varied and involved, it would be a much better game.
Making matters worse is the fact that it’s so rough around the edges. From enemies warping a little as you trigger a stealth kill animation, to frequently dumb A.I., there’s so much here that gives off an air of a game that perhaps needed a little more time in development. The change in visual style is also disappointing, with the graphics here being underwhelming. There’s also a fair amount of screen tearing when playing on PS5 which is rather off-putting.
With a patch or two, chances are Aragami 2 will turn into a game that’s well worth a stealth fan’s time and money, especially if they like dabbling in multiplayer. Until then though, you might want to think twice before diving in. While it’s initially fun nipping around Aragami 2‘s maps thanks to traversal options such as shadow leap, and later unlockable abilities really empower you, repetition does take its toll on the experience. All the while, frequent bugs and technical issues make you wonder if you’re playing something that was ready to step into the light for all to see.
Aragami 2 Review – GameSpew’s Score