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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
3.8
Visuals
3.5
Audio
6.5
Gameplay
4.0
Features
4.0
Replay
1.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PSP
PUBLISHER:
Konami
DEVELOPER:
Hudson Soft
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
September 12, 2006
ESRB RATING:
Teen
 Written by Jason Young  on January 17, 2007

Review: Allow me to start with a haiku...


Stricken By Anguish
Playing Rengoku Tonight
For The Stairway Broke


Every now and then, there's a game that's so horrible beyond words that it's indescribable by any word in the human language. Now, make a sequel to this game, make a couple of slight tweaks, and what do you get? More utter garbage. That's exactly what Rengoku II: The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N. presents to the player.

Eerily similar to the original (including but not limited to uninspiring level design, the same exact horrible story, and the use of an unbalanced battle system), Rengoku II has players experiencing a post-apocalyptic world by taking control of an A.D.A.M. (Autonomous Dueling Armed Machines) unit that experiences a reawakening and decides to fight and discover what it once was.

During the game, players will guide their A.D.A.M. through multiple stages that allow them to equip over 300 weapons that can be scavenged off the bodies of your opponents. Although this sounds cool in theory, none of the weapons are unlimited. Additionally, constantly relying on a weapon will cause a specific part of the body to overheat creating for a very unbalanced style of gameplay. While most of the same gameplay remains from the original, a couple of slight tweaks to the system are of note. Players can now strafe while they fire their weapons and can now use the analog stick to control their units.

However, these slight tweaks do nothing during the midst of a tough battle. Since the sequel's gameplay is largely based off of the original, combos are essential in order to beat down an opponent. The only problem: players will find the lag more of a challenge than anything else in the game. Every time you switch a weapon, there's lag. Try to chain together attacks, there's lag. The problem with the lag is that the slight one to two seconds where you're waiting in between attacks is just enough for your opponent to break your combo. Hence your best bet in the game is to just beat down your opponent with the same weapon over and over until you overheat. Fun, huh?

Then there's the problem of the enemies themselves. Every time you enter a new tower, the opponents in the new area will be about twice as strong as the ones from the previous area and have weapons that surpass anything that you have. Naturally, this leads to death after death. Often, its better just to start off from your previous save points, which are only available at the start of each stage, than die over and over again.

Graphically, the game drops dramatically after the beautiful opening cinema. From the insipid level design to the pink robots, the game reminds us of a blind date gone horribly horribly wrong. Often, the game's textures are heavily generic, although thankfully iit is a slight improvement from the last game. Audibly, the game's techno-inspired tunes sound great on the PSP speaker's but sadly, that's about the game's only positive point.

Although the multiplayer mode can be entertaining for a bit, good luck trying to find someone else who actually owns the game. Or at least will admit to owning it. Keeping with the only saving grace of the last game, you get to run around a tower with other players looking for weapons until you find each other. The problem: you're literally forced to use up your last weapon before you pick up a new one. Leaving you as a sitting duck about 99.99% of the time.

Bottom Line
Calling this game a nice $30.00 coaster would be a compliment, as it would mean that you'd actually have to go into a store and buy it. Instead, avoid it like the plague and hope that it gets buried somewhere in a New Mexican Desert.


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