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Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro review: Stunning but tough sequel that will test your mettle – Eugene Sowah

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After more than thirty years the sequel to Musashi Miyamoto’s fantasy adventure Ganryu is finally here

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Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro – Trailer for PS4 and Switch game

Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro

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Storybird Studio’s Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is the follow up to VISCO’s 1999 arcade classic Ganryu on the NEOGEO.

It’s a direct sequel to the classic arcade hack and slash adventure that follows legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto.

After over thirty years this revived classic finds new life on current generation consoles.

Ganryu 2 follows Musashi Miyamoto after his victory over Sasaki Kojirō in the first game. While meditating he is visited by the spirit of Sasaki Kojiro who threatens to destroy Japan unless Musashi fights him one last time to settle their rivalry.

Musashi Miyamoto sets off through Edo-period Japan to defeat his resurrected rival on the island of Ganryû-jima.

The retro inspired game features beautiful pixel-art graphics with a vibrant colour palette that really pops off the screen, especially on the Switch OLED.

Character models look great with intricate detail being paid to each of the main characters and bosses The enemies sport quirky designs, although some of them can be a tad repetitive.







Musashi Miyamoto returns to face off against is his rival Sasaki Kojirō in Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro
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Image:

Storybird Studio)

Each location is visually pleasing with every new area oozing so much distinct personality.

Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is a stellar looking retro-inspired game, with its punchy visuals and fantasy stylings of Edo-Japan really standing out.

The soundtrack is awesome, with each retro sounding theme invoking a sense of adventure, adding an extra atmosphere to every situation. The soundtrack is one of the highlights of Ganryu 2.

I did experience frame drop issues a few times during my playthrough, this mainly occurred whilst playing in undocked mode. But it didn’t make the game unplayable

Ganryu 2 is a hack and slash action adventure with platforming challenges scattered throughout each level.

Musashi Miyamoto will traverse through different action packed levels made up of two acts ending with a boss battle.

Levels are mostly linear and straightforward with some hidden power-ups and extra health items scattered throughout.







Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro retains all the action and intensity from the original
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Image:

Storybird Studio)

Musashi Miyamoto’s main exploration skill is the double jump ability that allows him to access new areas and find secrets.

The level design varies with each of the stages offering a vastly different challenge, keeping players on their toes.

Each of the bosses comes equipped with unique attack patterns that will force players to think up different strategies as opposed to just button mashing

Players will probably die a few times against the bosses but their attack patterns aren’t the hardest to learn, they just require patience and persistence.

Musashi Miyamoto comes equipped with his faithful Katana that can be used to cut enemies down in close combat melee.

His secondary weapon is a kunai that he can throw at enemies, there are several different types to be found which really opens up his attacking capabilities.







Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is tough with a steep learning curve
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Image:

Storybird Studio)

Musashi will also have access to devastating special attacks that can be activated once filling up the special meter.

Ganryu 2 is a great action-adventure but it can be incredibly hard at times with the difficulty spike being really unbalanced throughout.

Another glaring issue is that once you lose all three of your lives it’s an instant game over and players will have to restart from the beginning of that level.

As the game is somewhat difficult, it can be very frustrating to replay levels from the beginning once all lives are lost.

The game could do with a difficulty setting to make the experience less tough for casual players.

Saying that the game does have extra lives and health options hidden on each level to make the experience a little less gruelling.

But Ganryu 2 is a game that requires patience and practice to learn all the level designs and attack patterns to maximise efficiency during run-throughs.

Verdict 3/ 5

Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is a stunning looking sequel that excels in how a game in the genre should be designed in relation to enemies and levels.

However, the lack of a continue system and difficulty setting could frustrate casual gamers from completing this game.

But I do think there will be a fanbase of hardcore gamers who will attempt speed runs for the best times.

Overall Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is a great comeback for the series with a few tweaks needed to make the game more accessible.

Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro is out on 22 April for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC

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