Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 Review – A Worthy Emotional Sequel to This SRPG Series

    Title: Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2
    Developer: CyberConnect2
    Release Date: May 10, 2023
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: CyberConnect2
    Genre: SRPG

In 2021, CyberConnect2 released its first self-published game, Fuga: Melodies of Steel. Two years later, the team is delivering a follow-up with Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2, which acts as a sequel and a display of updated systems compared to its predecessor. However, in a display of “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” this is almost identical to the original release. Still, alongside a few new battle options, we get a story that treads new grounds of the emotional impact of war.

Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 is a direct sequel, picking up a year after the children fought against the Berman Empire and won the war. A few members of the team have been summoned to run a few tests on Taranis. However, as soon as half of the crew enters, the door shuts, and the tank comes to life. Without warning, the Taranis sets out on a rampage across Gasco, forcing the children to respond and jump in the Tarascus to chase down the tank and save their friends.

The first three chapters can be seen as an introduction to the characters and battle system, but it also highlights a few emotional themes in this game. Malt’s mental state is constantly up for debate as he deals with the dynamic bearing of having to be the leader of this group, which at times suffers a loss, and also deals with the fact that when he dies, time reverses for a second chance.

Fuga Melodies of Steel 2 4

Throughout the game, Malt will encounter many moments where the player gets to choose a response that can affect his Empathy or Resolution. These choices let you know which of these two traits will be affected, but it’s not always black and white, and you’ll likely agree with both sides.

While these unlock Leader Abilities to aid in battle, they also affect his capacity to handle some of the more strenuous events as he gives into a rage building inside him and an eagerness to put the fighting to rest. Although these characters have been through a lot, they are still children, which makes them impulsive in some circumstances. The narrative fuels this experience as you follow the twists and turns to the true ending.

Fuga Melodies of Steel 2 5

Similar to its predecessor, there are a few different endings to receive, but your first playthrough should conclude within 16 – 20 hours. It’s advised that you at least understand the events of the first game, but there is a recap option to fill you in. Still, this game requires some emotional investment, and playing through the first entry will likely be needed if you wish to get the most out of this experience.

I will say that it may come at the cost of some visual fatigue since they stylistically appear similar. Many assets are reused, including the in-game layout, battle map, text prompts, and various menus. It’s not a significant negative, though, given that you are technically navigating the same tank with a few upgrades to the exterior that assist in its battle capabilities.

Returning elements include Link Events that require characters to spend time and interact with each other. Affinity raises in several ways, including being battle partners or spending AP to talk during intermissions. In addition, players can once again utilize AP during intermissions to upgrade various areas of the tank, farm, fish, cook, rest, etc. In these moments, it’s tough to distinguish the two titles, but seeing these characters interact more is as charming as ever.

Fuga Melodies of Steel 2 6

In battle, players will move their tank across tracks where they may encounter branching paths that separate the difficulty of the route. I will say that if you take the most challenging course every time, you’ll likely be at a comfortable level to get through most encounters. One new feature allows players to utilize an airship that can send them back to various parts of the battle map to replay sections or even pay to send an air strike to upcoming enemies to make them easier. It’s an excellent addition, as it incentives completing dungeons for treasure, which is the easiest way to get coins.

Battles are very similar to the first game, but a few nice elemental additions are added to some attacks. Still, players will navigate battles by switching the characters to utilize their skills and weapons according to the weakness and defenses of the enemies. It’s possible to delay attacks, and if planned correctly, you can delay the enemy even further. Malt’s new Leader abilities also come into play randomly, where you can avoid damage or another action depending on which abilities you’ve unlocked.

Fuga Melodies of Steel 2 1

Also returning is the Soul Cannon, where players can sacrifice a child to win a boss fight. However, outside of losing a character, the outcome is a devastated crew for a series of days where Link Events won’t occur. An interesting addition has the Soul Cannon select a character randomly when the tank’s HP is critical. This heightens the requirement for strategy during fights, given that you need to know when to heal, attack, and utilize character-specific abilities.

Each character can also enter Hero Mode, which last five turns and gives them a slight benefit like improving healing skills or doubling damage. Further, some characters can utilize Link Abilities that cause some heavy damage.

Given these systems, the boss encounters will likely test your understanding of the battle system. Still, if you aren’t leveled high enough or don’t take advantage of the benefits from intermissions, the battle may end with a sacrifice to the Soul Cannon. Luckily, Managarm is here to save the day, which takes only a bit of the life of a character and causes significant damage to an enemy at the cost of lost experience. It’s a nice payoff, but one you may need to consider each time you use it.

Fuga Melodies of Steel 2 2

Navigating towns has definitely improved, where speaking with NPCs provides further insight into the state of the world and even a few bonus items as you choose responses during dialogue. It’s also possible to buy materials that can be used to upgrade the ship, but I couldn’t pull up a screen that shows which materials I needed, so I ended up just taking pictures during intermissions to pull up at the next store I encountered.

The enjoyment of Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 leans heavily on your investment in these characters. Luckily, that’s easy to do, given how well-written this narrative is. The opening chapters don’t reflect the trials the crew will encounter in the middle arc, as it leads to a conclusion crafted by player choice. There are a few New Game+ options to take advantage of that add replayability, but that leans into spoilers.

If you take full advantage of the abilities and various systems, Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 is a bit easier compared to the first entry. However, the automation of the Soul Cannon added some truly tense moments of gameplay because I hate using that thing, and you’ll never see me do it. There are purchasable items through the Deluxe Pack that allow you to use the weapons without consequence, but I never liked that option.

Fuga Melodies of Steel 2 3

Fuga: Melodies of Steel 2 is a remarkable sequel that borrows many gameplay elements and assets from its predecessor while introducing new systems that improve the experience. Regardless, the emotional impact of the story weighs differently on the cast this time as we explore Malt’s mental capability and how he struggles with leadership. It’s a genuinely addictive and heartwrenching experience that delivers during every moment of gameplay.

Review copy purchased by outlet or reviewer

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.

Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.