Criminal Girls 2:Party Favors is a Japanese Role Playing Game developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America it is a sequel to Criminal Girls: Invite Only, also for the PS Vita (and reviewed here)It was released physically on 20 September, 16 and on PSN on 11 October, 2016 in North America. The game is PlayStation TV compatible.
As in the first game, you are a Reformation Instructor in Hell. Your job is to guide the souls of delinquents, girls who have yet to commit a crime punishable by damnation, but are close enough to need guidance to reform. Unfortunately you have lost your memory and suddenly fin yourself with seven delinquents to guide through hell. Each are headstrong and resistant in their own way but you have to get them to work together to ascend the Spire. The only issue is, you find out there should only be six girls…
Criminal Girls 2 plays exactly like the previous game, with you moving your 2d characters through the mazes of hell. Monster encounters random, except for boss fights and when it is needed to move the story along. The story is told though Japanese voice acting with English subtitles with 2D images of the characters with limited animation. You explore the levels, only saving at camps at various locations.
The girls that you guide pretty much follow the typical anime tropes as the first game. You have the regular sized girls (Shinoa and Lily), the well endowed women (Yurine and Tsukyasa) and the uncomfortably jailbait-like ones (Kuroe, Mizuki and Sui). Of course the girls are old enough to no get NIS in trouble. Each character has their own personality as well. Shinoa is caring and trusting; Lilly comes off as a rich snob but does have a soft spot; Yurine is a bit ditzy but wants to help, Sui is sarcastic and analytical, Tsukasa is a bit of a tease, Kuroe is shy and talks through her donkey doll, Baron; and, Mizuki who is a clumsy girl who’s child-like nature makes motivating her creepy.
Combat is turned base and when you go into a encounter, the screen changes and you see four of your girls , two on either side of the screen and the monster(s) in the middle. As the Instructor, you do not attack, you only choose which character to take battle advice. That action will be take that round then the monsters go (if they didn’t attack first. Some action have two characters attack at once. You can also heal your girls with items or switch a girl out for another character. These actions do not count towards the turn. You can also use skill as spells that the character has learned. After the battle, the characters get experience to level up their hit points and CM points with can go towards items in the shop or to towards the motivation mini games.
Yes , the Motivation system is back. In order to get the girls to fight, you must motivate them with various punishments. There are five Motivational mini-games: Scrubby Scrub, which you scrub soap off the girls; Spanking X, which is spanking two girls at a time; Slimeshot, which you spray your goo, er slime on the girls (that’s not suggestive…); and Shocking bondage, in which you shock the girls when they are all tied up. As their Motivation level goes up, you unlock more attacks, magic or stat bonuses for that character. You will have two types of skills, S Skills and M skills. They can affect your character when you coach them in battle, enabling them to deal more damage (S) or reduce damage take (M).
The gameplay is like a typical JRPG. There will be a lot of grinding to get up levels and to unlock abilities. You can go up to 30 second without having a random encounter and when you start out with only one girl fighting, some enemies will be tough. Getting enough CM points to motivate the girls will be your priority as your attacks will improve. All characters get XP after battles so don’t worry if you tend to stick with your favourite four.
Graphic-wise, it looks the same as the first game. The dungeons change a bit from level to level but it can become a bit repetitive. The monsters still look like they did in the first game, with some of them not resembling the creature the game says they are. But, hey, you’re in Hell, scrubbing and spanking girls to redeem them. Nothing has to make sense.
Now, it has to be obvious that his game must have been somewhat censored to be brought out west. Japan has some different sensibilities that may not fly in the west. So the girls have been aged up (or, more accurately, all traces of age have been removed and it is assumed that they are old enough to drink in Alberta at the very least.). Some changes NIS admitted were redrawn art for the motivation mini-games, removing elements that might have been considered explicit, removing the yelps and moans from the mini-games ,and even changing the name of the Motivation system (originally it was called Punishment.) Compared to the pink mist obscuring the Motivation mini-game in Criminal Girls: Invite Only, this is acceptable.
Overall, this is a okay game for those who do not mind the tediousness of a grindy JRPG. You definitely have to be in the mood for it if you want to get far in this game. Looking back, I think I judged the first one a bit harshly, mostly because of the annoying censorship and the battle mechanics. But I seethe strategy in the system now and the censorship is not as prominent in this game,. But it is not a overly pretty game, save for the characters themselves. It is a long, dark bland game, but then again, it is set in Hell.
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favours is available through online retailers, such as Video Games Plus and Rice Digital on online on the PlayStation Store. There was a Collector’s Edition available as well as a standard copy. Prices may vary by your country .
3.5 out of 5