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Dusk Diver 2

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Developer: WANIN International
Release Date: Aug. 30, 2022


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Switch/PS5/PS4 Preview - 'Dusk Diver 2'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 25, 2022 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Dusk Diver 2 is a Hack n’ Slash Action/RPG where you can battle against a variety of Chaos Beasts and set out on new adventures with Yumo and her friends.

Dusk Diver 2 opens up about a year after the events of the first game, but knowledge of the previous title isn't necessary. All of the background that you need to know is explained in the first 10 minutes of exposition. Protagonist Yang Yumo was an everyday girl until she accidentally slipped into a monster-filled alternate dimension, gained superpowers, and saved a little girl from evil alongside a wacky cast of characters whose secret hideout doubles as a convenience store. Yang, now a college student, is still doing her part-time monster-hunting work and dealing with the weird aftereffects of her previous adventure. However, the strange portals that had been dealt with are suddenly reappearing again, and it seems that it is up to Yang and pals to once again save the world.

Dusk Diver 2's combat is standard for the beat-'em-up genre, but it feels more weighty than many I've played. It's no Dark Souls, but aside from specific segments of super armor if you hit something (or get hit), it's going to have some strength behind it. You have Light and Heavy attacks, some of which can combo together. Light attacks are better for combos, but Heavy can usually break down enemy defenses. An enemy whose defenses are beaten down enough will enter Break state, where you can tap two of the shoulder buttons to perform a special attack that leaves them extra vulnerable to damage for a while. You can also cause Break by hitting enemies into walls or performing certain attacks.

The real key to having fun are special attacks. Each character has three attacks that they can equip at a time, but the menu makes it clear more will be unlocked later in the full game. Each attack uses up a bar of your SP meter, which recharges rather quickly. As long as you're stringing together combos and special moves, you can keep reusing attacks, lending combat a pleasant flow. Each character also has a special move they can perform with the Circle button that is usually defensive in nature. Yang creates 3D-printed plush dolls that rush at enemies or block attacks, and Leo enters a guard stance that significantly lessens damage and lets him power up his attacks.

There are going to be four different playable characters in Dusk Diver 2, but in our demo, we only played with protagonist Yang and the beefy, pile-driver-wielding Leo. You can swap between characters at any point, with each character having their own HP/SP/BP bars. As expected, Yang is an all-around solid character. She's fast and strong and hits enemies with the Electric status effect, which can leave them vulnerable to more damage. Leo is hard-hitting but slow, using the massive Alt Eisen-style pile driver on his arm to smash through enemy defenses and inflict a defense-lowering Burning status. On the other hand, he has a limited ammo system, which can weaken moves if you don't reload using a special action; it buffs you if you do. You can also call in the characters you're not currently playing as to perform a support attack, but that temporarily prevents you from switching.

Defense is just as important as offense in Dusk Diver 2. From what we've seen, you must weave offense and defensive actions together to achieve the best combat potential. This boils down to two specific skills: dodging and countering. Dodging is standard for the genre. You hit the dodge button, and you avoid attacks. Avoid them in the nick of time, and time slows down briefly. More importantly, you replenish SP, so you can go right back into laying down your high-damage super attacks. Counters function similarly. You need to hit the Special Action button right before your character is damaged by a powerful glowing-red attack. Doing so properly counters the enemy, leaving them vulnerable and exposing their weak points. On the boss of the demo, this was even essential to leaving them vulnerable to attack; otherwise, when they went into a berserker frenzy, they were incredibly difficult to pin down.

Beyond combat, you get to explore Taipei City, which exists in a colorful "memorable locations surrounded by faceless NPCs" style, as seen in something like Tokyo Mirage Sessions. There are side-quests to do for various people, different places to eat to get stat buffs, and stores where you can shop for various items. Our brief demo didn't give us too much of a glimpse into the inner workings of the city, but we saw that there will be a fair amount to do. There are even going to be side-quests for your friends and allies, which can unlock new abilities or power up existing ones.

Dusk Diver 2's preview build was short but sweet. It's from a smaller developer, but it's clear that it is going for a similar feel and style to something like Persona and doing so quite well. It's bright, colorful, and the combat feels genuinely engaging. I'm curious to see how it develops as the game progresses, but there's enough potential depth here that I can see it going places. I look forward to trying more when it comes to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch in August.

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