BATTLE ARENA TOSHINDEN 2
This game was one of the most wanted games around Christmas time. People was expecting a groundbreaking title. We have seen nice shots of the game and were promised something very special. I loved Toshinden and I was hoping for a 300% improvement. Toshinden was no doubt one of the game which made people buy the PlayStation. But however, the game wasn't perfect. It had a sluggish framerate, and there was a lot of polygon gliches. But it was the only REAL 3D game on the market. You could go to the left or right instead of just going forward and backward.
After playing the sequel for the last two weeks, I must say that I'm a bit disappointed. Let's start with the intro. In Toshinden, all you get was a picture with some text and speech. Now you get a long computer rendered FMV combined with live actors. The rendered characters looks really impressive, but the live actors were rather crap. If they were left out, the intro would be the best one ever. In this sequel you can choose from 11 basic characters ( 8 old ones, 3 new ones ). Every character is looking real nice. They are big and detailed, much better then the original. Some of the backgrounds are also excellent, but many of them are drawn back by some poor texture-mapping and huge blocks. For example, in Gaia's stage, there is water flowing around the arena. The "water" is actually same big blocks moving around in a boring pattern. In Eiji's stage, you fight inside a cave, which doesn't really look that nice. If they used the excellent smooth background artwork on the sequel, this game would have a much better feel. The fighting is also speeded up, but the smooth feeling of the original is gone ( it's up to you to decide if it's a bad thing ). I found the combo possibilities worse too. The camera movement is also a minus. When your opponent is beaten, the camera don't focus on you, instead it tries to capture both characters, which doesn't look good at all. The bouncing seems to be too exaggerated. When someone is beaten, he rolls back a mile, and most of the time it leads to ring-outs. The balance between the characters is damn unfair too. Ellis is too hard to beat, Gaia's moves do insane damage etc. The polygon glitches is back too. The new overdrive feature is a bit good. Some overdrive move looks real lethal. The Life bar has also to be much shorter before it starts to flash red, and the desperation moves are rather useless compared to the overdrive moves. The best side of the game must be the music. Most of the tracks are just superb.
Overall, this game is great and disappointing at the same time. It could be a lot better. I could sit here and write about the improvements and the drawbacks all the night, but I think you should go out and try this game if you can and then decide whether it's worth buying or not. I recommend it, though.