[PS Vita Double JRPG Review] Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors Review
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is the sequel to Criminal Girls: Invite Only. After the success of the first game in the series, NIS America has decided to give us its sequel on Sony’s portable.
Is this a game you should try on your PS Vita? Come read our Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors review to find out!
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors Trailer
This is a double review for the PlayStation Vita versions of Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors. The game was played by EdEN and Ceidz. This review presents what they both had to say.
You start the game when Toko, your senior officer, explains that you are the new Program Instructor so you must, therefore, go pick up the Delinquents you will set out to reform. This all sounds foreign to you, because it seems you have lost your memory. Due to the situation, Toko allows you to ask as several questions so that you can relearn the basic information that you need to know to complete your task.
It is thanks to this that you can learn about the Hell Spire, a building located between Hell and the real world. It turns out you’re a guest in Hell and will get to go back home once you’ve finished your mission. Delinquents are the (bad) girls who died before they could do some serious damage while alive. Unfortunately, they have what is called “criminal DNA” and you must reform them to keep them away from Hell. If you manage to reform a girl, then you’ll save her soul.
After this, you’ll be introduced to the girls you’ll try to reform. You’ll meet seven girls who you must get to join you so that they can be saved. As you talk with then, you’ll get to learn more about each one, getting a glimpse at their unique and quirky personalities. They won’t all follow you at first, which is the game basically easing you into their gameplay mechanics, one step at a time. That way you’ll first learn about combat before you need to learn about switching girls while in combat, not to mention the Coaching system.
Coaching is an option by which you can encourage the girls to do better in battle, but you must be careful with it since you will need to select between four actions, and each might have a good or bad effect on the girls. Depending on what you select, a girl will either gain a bonus buff or be penalized and have lower stats if her alignment does not match what you’ve selected. For example, if you select the S alignment for Coaching, the ATK and MAT stats will increase for girls that react well to the Coaching, but it will decrease for girls who don’t like it.
As mentioned by EdEN, Criminal Girls 2 is basically a dungeon crawler with random encounters, but given my first plunge into the Criminal Girls universe, I was VERY pleasantly surprised by the turn-based battle system. Playing each battle was a BLAST!
Gameplay-wise, you don’t have full direct control over the girls, because each of the four girls in your party suggests one attack or skill for every round in a fight and only one action can be selected for each turn. I loved this gameplay mechanic as only one of the character takes the lead for each turn, but as you progress through the Motivation mini-games (more on this later), you’ll unlock more actions that require more than one playable character per turn, and that’s when you’ll decimate your enemies!
The difficulty of the battles were fair during normal fights, and (thankfully) each member gets experience even if they didn’t directly participate in battle, but that doesn’t mean that you can only rely on your favorite characters because, as the game progresses, you’ll NEED to use all seven party members for harder fights. Speaking of which, I already mentioned the difficulty of the normal fights, but the boss fights are in a different league. Fighting them requires every ounce of power you have in your party, and drag on for way too long. A typical boss fight can last between 15 and 20 minutes, which was a bit too much for me.
Motivation is a key gameplay mechanic by which you can help the girls to relax in a… private setting. Essentially, this is where you can use CM points earned in battle (which is different from the experience points earned for leveling up) to unlock the different skills each team member will use during the combat. Motivation starts off pretty tame since, at first, you can only scrub the girls with a brush as you get rid of some foam here and there. But, as you can imagine from the poses the girls are in during Motivation scenes, things will quickly escalate. Those motivation sequences are definitively ecchi but it doesn’t go as far as hentai.
I absolutely loved the gorgeous art style this game has. It switches from a 16-Bit-esque setting in the dungeons, to a cuter chibi version of the characters in battle (as shown in the screenshot below), and the Motivations scenes were… hmm, very well drawn. Oh, and the battle and victory themes are catchy! I also love how the different completed zones can be visited anytime so you can backtrack in a flash to your heart’s content, which should technically make this one a game with no missable trophies (but a lot of content to experience!).
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors was quite a surprise, turning out to be a far better JRPG than we initially thought. The battle system and the core mechanics are near perfect, and there was nothing getting in our way of enjoying the game. We mentioned that the boss fights were a bit long to beat, but this isn’t a deal breaker and will definitively please some gamers. The game is fully voice acted with Japanese audio and is subtitled in English text.
The Motivation sequences will, however, sadly not be to the taste of every gamer, so if you can’t stand those, this game will definitely not be for you – but you’ll miss all the other goodnesses this game has to offer. We had a ton o fun writing this double Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors review, and we’ll continue to push strong until we can each have that Platinum trophy in our collection!
(Ceidz) Oh, and forget about Motivating your party in the bus or while in bed, next to your wife who is trying to get some sleep. I tested it, and it’s awkward.
Cost: $39.99 (Vita)
PSN Game size: 1.3GB
You can purchase Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors from the PSN.
This Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors review is based on PS Vita copies provided by NIS America.