I wanted to like Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits; I really appreciated the first game, understanding that it was just the first iteration in a new franchise. Unfortunately, the second game in the franchise does little to set itself apart from its predecessor. The sequel does little to cover up the bare nature of the first game. Whereas the original Yo-kai Watch was new and full of potential, Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls do little to deepen the gameplay and even less to keep it interesting.
Yo-kai Watch 2 features not only the same main character as the first game, but also the same locale for the most part. Though the game does include a few new areas, they fail to add anything substantive to the equation. The biggest problem is that Yo-kai Watch 2 concentrates far too much on its fluffy story than it does on creative a fun and rewarding gameplay system.
Instead, the game centers on boring fetch quests. A player will run to a location, talk to a character for five minutes, run to another location, talk to another character for five minutes, and then maybe, just maybe, fight a few Yo-kai battles. There is far too much dead space in Yo-kai Watch 2 which not only leads to monotony, but even boredom.
Yes, there are a few features added. There are new Yo-kai, of course, which will give collectors an incentive to run around the game world. Unfortunately, I still feel that Yo-kai Watch’s system for catching new Yo-kai is broken. Instead doing damage and throwing a Pokeball, or trying to talk the Yo-kai into joining your team, the system in Yo-kai Watch requires players to feed monsters food in order to recruit them. Unfortunately, spending food on a Yo-kai is by no means a guarantee to catch it, and more importantly, without any indicator of success, players can spend hours battling the same Yo-kai again and again without any success.
There are now online trading and battling modes that players can interact with as well, although they should have been in the first game to begin with.
Unfortunately, trading and battling Yo-kai online is not that much of a thrill to do. Given the game’s lack of an in-depth battle system or an advanced stats system, battling online with friends rarely correlates to skill level. When other 3DS RPGs are bringing with them deep battle mechanics and innovative strategy systems, an auto-battle type of system like in Yo-kai Watch simply isn’t good enough to stay entertaining for long periods of time.
On the bright side, Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls have new and interesting character designs. I loved finding each new Yo-kai in the wild, albeit the ability to catch each one was far more difficult than it should have been. Moreover, the dialogue, when not too drawn out, was actually pretty funny at times – the localizers did a great job with the content they were given. The soundtrack was engaging as well, especially in some of the new locales.
The original Yo-kai Watch got a pass when it came to battle depth and strategy, but Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls do not enjoy the same luxury. The battle system is not improved in any way, and as a result is both shallow and slow. The story itself pushes in too many words and fetch quests to stay interesting, and the cool dungeons in the game are few and far between.
If you’re waiting for a monster-collecting RPG to play this fall, it will likely be best to wait until Pokemon Sun and Moon release next month.