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River City Girls 2 Review

River City Girls 2

Developer: WayForward
Publisher: WayForward, Arc System Works
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.95 AUD / $39.99 USD – Available Here


After much anticipation from fans – and some delays – River City Girls 2 is finally here. The core gameplay from the first game remains the same but RCG 2 builds and expands upon it by a significant amount. The combat system was revamped, the number of selectable characters in the main quest was increased to six – while the original had only two – and the map is much bigger overall. It’s clear to me that RCG 2 is a better game than its predecessor but how good is it on its own?


River City Girls 2 is a direct sequel to the River City Girls. After defeating the final boss, Misako and Kyoko go back to their normal lives or so they thought. The patriarch of the Sanwakai family isn’t happy to hear that one of their own was beaten up by a pair of school girls, so he decides to take things personally.

The story retains the first game’s light-hearted and humorous tone. Important plot points are told using manga panels and they are often funny. I couldn’t avoid having a big smile on my face while watching how Marian – the damsel in distress from Double Dragon – became a muscular badass. The writing in general is light-hearted and fun. RCG 2 never takes itself seriously and that’s reflected in the character designs and goofy dialogues that are always trying to poke fun at something. It’s also chock-full with references to old Technos – the creators of River City Ransom – games. Important characters from Double Dragon, Combatribes and many other titles appear in a variety of ways even as common enemies. It’s a delightful trip down memory lane for fans of Technos’ portfolio such as me.


RCG 2 plays fundamentally the same as RCG. The player still has to traverse River City while beating down thugs and helping people. The explorable portions of River City increased exponentially and so has the amount of side-questing that you can do; these sometimes involve minigames that directly reference the River City Ransom franchise such as dodgeball. Exploring is also more varied with some areas having two or three floors in the same screen. A lot of hidden characters and passages fill the stages for a nice change of pace from all the brawling. The problem that comes with having so much to do and see in this game is the excessive time spent looking at loading screens. It takes between 4 to 7 seconds to load a new area on a base PlayStation 4, and the player is required to backtrack a lot between areas that many times take a bit more than two seconds to traverse if you’re just rushing through. If there’s something that harms the pacing of a beat ‘em up is a lot of downtime. It also dampens your desire to do side-quests, unless you have the patience of a saint.    

The combat has a lot of freedom to it. Each of the six characters has a huge repertoire of moves that are unlocked by leveling up or by simply buying them at the Lee brothers’ dojo. The controls respond well enough, but it would feel much better if the game ran at a higher frame rate. RCG2 currently runs at something close to 30 FPS and the performance also chugs down hard at certain points where a lot of effects are displayed.

Compared to the first game, it’s much easier and fun to follow with attacks after a launcher. You can bounce enemies for days before they land or even pursue your enemy in the air before finishing with a piledriver, for example. The partner system was also improved. Now, besides recruiting normal enemies, you also have the option to hire more powerful ones. It’s a lot of fun smacking multiple characters at once and calling in your buddies to extend the combo even more.

Boss battles are fun, and each one has a unique pattern that you must overcome before you can continue to deplete their HP. Most of these patterns are simple and easy to deal with. One boss in particular has a very nice surprise in store for fans. RCG2 isn’t really a difficult game. The only perceived difference for me while switching between normal, tough and nightmare difficulties was an increase on the damage output of enemies and especially stage hazards.


If you’ve played the first RCG, you probably already know that this sequel looks almost exactly the same. To clarify, RCG2 uses sprite work to compose its characters and backgrounds. Many of the previous game’s assets are reused here. Some areas seem to be expanded, while others are completely new. This same notion also applies to the animations. Multi-layered areas are sometimes confusing which makes it a bit hard to discern if a layer is in the front or in the back but these are minor complaints. Overall, RCG2’s sprite work is detailed and a lot of work and care were put into animating the characters’ ample move set.


Megan McDuffee returns as a composer and singer. Her songs have a distinct melody to them, and they make for a nice contrast to the simpler tunes that can be heard throughout the game.  Sound effects are also a mix between modern and classic 8-bit fare. The dialogues are plentiful in this game, and as far as I can tell, they are all voiced. This time you can choose between English and Japanese voice-overs which is a huge plus: Which one you’ll choose will depend on your preferences since both VOs are very well-done.


Wayforward did a nice job on River City Girls 2. It’s a bigger and better game than its previous iteration. Unfortunately, RCG2’s technical constraints detract a lot from the overall experience. There are indications that at least some of these issues are getting addressed soon. I truly hope that that’s the case, as I’d even start a new save to enjoy the game in its proper form.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.


A much more modern and enjoyable beat 'em up than its predecessor, River City Girls 2 does almost everything right. Despite that, its performance issues get in the way of the fun.
Claudio Meira
Claudio Meirahttps://www.capsulecomputers.com.au/
I have been playing video games for 36 years. I should be put in a museum by now, but here I am, writing about them.
A much more modern and enjoyable beat 'em up than its predecessor, River City Girls 2 does almost everything right. Despite that, its performance issues get in the way of the fun. River City Girls 2 Review