Rengoku II: The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N. Review

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Developer: Hudson Soft Publisher: Konami
Release Date: September 12, 2006 Also On: None

I’m not familiar with Rengoku II: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N. and I had never even heard of it before I received it as a review copy. Apparently it is a sequel to a poorly scored PlayStation Portable post-launch title named Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory. Another Rengoku is under development for the PlayStation 3, though no release date has been confirmed yet. Rengoku II: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N. is a game where you must fight ADAMs (Autonomous Dueling Armed Machines) in a never-ending war locked in a tower.

Sound interesting? Well, it all goes downhill from there. Pretty much what you get with Rengoku II is room-to-room fighting. You start the game naked and unequipped, but as you begin to fight and kill your opponents, you will attain weapons (guns, sword, etc.), armor pieces and upgrades. Konami claims that there are over 300 weapons and upgrades on the back of the box, but if they’re there, I didn’t see them all. They’re probably including different variations and whatnot, but still, the objective of the game isn’t going to stray from “kill all enemies, plus the boss”.

If you feel a bit like you’ve been here before, it’s probably because the levels remind me a bit of Konami’s PlayStation Portable FPS Coded Arms. The levels are futuristic, dark and narrow. Overall though, the environments are rather repetitive and don’t seem to have much to them. You’re probably going to get bored running around these corridors. The level design is pretty equivalent to the gameplay: mundane and low variety.

The battles are pretty straightforward, but you are allowed to customize your weapons and upgrades. The good thing is killing an opponent can earn you upgrades and other items. The bad thing is once you die, you restart the level with none of the weapons and upgrades that you gained throughout the rest of the game. You’re going to have to retrace your path to collect all of those upgrades again, a tedious task for a tedious game.

Rengoku II: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N. does have a multi-player mode, but as I don’t have two PSPs or a friend that owns one, I was unable to give it a try. Add a couple points to replay value nonetheless if you have a second PSP to play it on (up to 4 can play using 1 UMD).Other than that, you really don’t have much reason to ever play Rengoku II again. Honestly, it’s hard to see you getting $40 worth of game time out of it, let alone justifying the purchase of a bland action game.

If you were a fan of the first Rengoku on PlayStation Portable, you will probably feel well at home here. For everyone else, this is nothing more than a treacherous path through a dark and monotonous tower. The weapons, upgrades and melee attacks aren’t enough to save what is an unsatisfying gameplay experience. Worse yet, the PSP’s controls don’t suit this game very well either. I recommend passing this up for another game from Konami, like Coded Arms.

Graphics: 4
Sound: 4
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7.5
Final: 4.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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