The realm of beat’em ups is vast, and the world of its cult classics is even grander. One title that perfectly fits this mold is Dusk Diver, a largely overlooked and ambitious action-adventure experience initially released in 2019. It starred protagonist Yang Yumo, a student caught up in a struggle involving several dimensional traversal, supernatural elements, and humanity as a whole. While the title was met with middling critical reception, it quickly amassed a dedicated fanbase. And now fans finally have another entry to feast on with the upcoming localization of Dusk Diver 2.
This sequel picks up from the events of the first entry, reintroducing Yumo and the rest of the primary cast. In fact, I first noticed that understanding the previous game is quite honestly paramount to parsing the narrative here. Constant references and discussions regarding previous events, locations, and characters occur, so if one has not played the first game, they’ll definitely feel lost.
However, there is a handy dandy Gallery mode housing brief summations of the first Dusk Diver for uninformed players, which is highly appreciated. Still, I instead recommend just playing through the prior title to grasp the full context. It’s a relatively brief experience. For those reasons, I won’t detail the beginnings of the plot here, but there is an impressive degree of character interaction and exposition, emphasizing this game’s narrative ambition.
Regarding the real meat of the experience here, gameplay, Dusk Diver 2 is proving to be an addictive romp. Characters can perform multi-hit strikes with varied combo strings, counters, special skills, and dashing in the midst of combat. Additionally, the controllable party member can be actively swapped, further diversifying strategic possibilities, though there is a timed gauge in place so this mechanic can’t be abused.
There’s an immense number of mechanics to get the hang of, and the title isn’t shy about throwing tutorials your way. Because of that, everything from the beginning can feel legitimately overwhelming. Honestly, though, Dusk Diver 2 is learned better by doing, with the occasional tutorial reference to clarify particular intricacies via the menu.
It seems best to take things slow, staving any potential intimidation in favor of combative experimentation. There are learnable skills and stat distribution points earned through level up as well, leading to increased user variance dependent on one’s desired playstyle. I’m eager to see how impactful these stat allocations truly are in the grand scheme of events and whether the characters’ skill sets will actually strongly differentiate if their boons innately differ.
Another element I’m looking forward to trying out is the meal system, which is akin to the Yakuza series in execution. A fullness gauge dictates the capacity of Yumo’s hunger, and stat buffs are granted depending on the chosen dish. Of course, countless take-out meals are choosable, too, so the sheer anticipation of equipment and food synergy is compelling.
Dusk Diver 2 is shaping up to be a genuinely satisfying action brawler thanks to its extensive character customization, myriad of interlinked mechanics, and more. In addition, the narrative’s unabashed direct connectivity to the first Dusk Diver is also thrilling due to the prominent potential of enhanced development for the same core cast. Here’s hoping these initially vital elements retain their staying power and coalesce to greater heights as the game continues.
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