Yo-Kai Watch took the Japanese gaming market by storm and became a hit phenomenon that made its way to North America on the Nintendo 3DS. Though it borrowed a lot of elements from the Pokémon series, Yo-Kai Watch became popular enough for Nintendo to create an anime series, two theatrical movies, and a comic book based on the story about the elusive apparitions that lingered in our world. The sequel to the first game on Nintendo 3DS, Yo-Kai Watch 2, gives everyone more of the same tongue-in-cheek humor, passive battling, and spirit collection that everyone feel in love with. However, sometimes doing the exact same thing over again isn’t always the best idea when creating a sequel to a new franchise.
Same Start to Another Day
When I say Yo-Kai Watch 2 repeats the same beats as its predecessor, I mean that exactly. The beginning of Yo-Kai Watch 2 repeats almost everything from the start of the first game, although with a few changes to remind you that this is a sequel. The story begins with you having forgotten your time discovering the Yo-Kai Watch due to the mischievousness of two Yo-Kai sisters.
Events unfold in a similar fashion to the events of the previous game, like going through déjà vu, until finally everything falls into place and the game finally begins moving into new territory. I felt the recycled beginning could have been condensed into a smaller section, rather than making me go through an entire chapter at the start of the game. The rest of the story has similar themes and moral statements to that of the first game, which should come as no surprise to anyone that’s a fan of the series.
More of That Combat & Exploration
The battling and collecting of Yo-Kai is also the exact same as before, almost to a fault. One of the biggest issues with Yo-Kai Watch was how passive the battles felt. Unfortunately, what’s here is no different. Battles are still automatic and you have a minimum amount of control over the Yo-Kai in your party. Switching party members around during battle does add a small layer of strategy to battles, but it is very minute and still makes the combat simple, even during boss fights.
The commands for big attacks done on the 3DS touchpad are made easier than before, but they are identical to the last game. I was still tapping or spinning a wheel on the touchpad to power up a Yo-Kai’s big attack, only to then wait until another opportunity arose to do the same thing again. If you didn’t like the battle system in Yo-Kai Watch before, then you won’t be changing your mind about it here in the sequel.
Exploration in Yo-Kai Watch was always a stand-out to me because of the presentation. Moving around towns and searching for items or wild Yo-Kai was always the best parts about the game. Unlike in the Pokémon series, there’s a lot of detail in the backgrounds and layout of places you visit and the side quests you undertake. Searching for bugs on trees or elusive Yo-Kai in back alleys are time consuming ordeals outside of the main story. However, some of the fetch-quests for the main plot and side quests can become annoyingly repetitive at some point, especially when you need to travel far to obtain a specific item.
There are multiplayer functions in Yo-Kai Watch 2, something that wasn’t included in the first game. You can battle against friends with your team and even swap medals to obtain new Yo-Kai. This is somewhat helpful because of the two versions of Yo-Kai Watch 2 that are available, Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls. Connecting to another player with a different version however isn’t necessary to experience everything, which makes connecting Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls a little less special compared to how the Pokémon series has done in the past. There are also some restrictions to trading medals, which may be disappointing for some players hoping for some open-ended party customization.
The Final Say-So
If you really enjoyed Yo-Kai Watch on Nintendo 3DS, then you’re getting the exact same thing with its sequel. There’s very little new stuff here that fundamentally changes anything about the series. A lot of the issues with the passive combat are still here, which a shame for anyone that was hoping for more control during battles in Yo-Kai Watch 2. The simple narrative and humor is okay at best, but the recycled start of the story could be a letdown for some.