Ganryu 2 – Hakuma Kojiro review by

Nowadays, players’ demands require publishers to adapt and offer a variety of experiences, combining action, puzzle, and exploration. And so we see adventures looking in all directions multiply (with the occasional risk of staying on the surface) and it’s often the standalone scene that focuses on the genre to get the best out of it. With Ganryu 2, Storybird Studio plunges us into the world of Beat’em up by offering a sequel to the game of the same name released in arcades and on Neo Geo. An old-fashioned action game set against the backdrop of a Japanese legend!

Based on the fictional life of Takezo Shinmen, also known as Musashi Miyamoto, Ganryu 2 – Hakuma Kojiro takes place in 17th century feudal Japan.. The game takes place in different seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall, winter), and the game features one of the iconic characters of the archipelago. Having lived from 1584 to 1645, this man – who is considered the most famous swordsman in the country’s history – made a legend by performing a legendary duel against Kojiro Sasaki on the island of Funa. This legendary battle continues to fuel the stories related to the founding of Japan, and with all these legends the Storybird title has been imbued with.

ghost killer

Ganryu 2: A demanding and perfect shinobi salute

After his victorious encounter against Kojiro Sasaki, Musashi Miyamoto decides to retire after a busy life on the battlefields. To meditate and experiment with art and calligraphy, he settled in Hokkaido Prefecture in northern Japan. One day, while he was in the middle of a therapy session, the character was affected by a vision. His lifelong enemy, Kojiro Sasaki, appears as a spirit and demands revenge! Realizing that a great danger is approaching, Musashi Miyamoto regains his saber and goes to fight the entity demons in order to reach the island of Janryu Jima to defeat them once and for all, Kojiro, the one everyone calls… Janryu!

Ganryu 2: A demanding and perfect shinobi saluteGanryu 2: A demanding and perfect shinobi salute

Like the original, Ganryu 2 is a straight to the point title. A mix between Shinobi and Ninja Spirit, the title alternates between action and platforms. The avatar can kick, throw kona, or even slash enemies while running. In terms of movement, perhaps because of his past, Musashi can only double-jump and wall-jump. This sequel to Ganryu fully assumes its heritage without trying to modify the formula: we press, we advance, we press, we advance, etc. To diversify the progression, the swordsman still has access to special powers that can be activated when the energy bar is full. The set seems a bit rigid at first, but we get caught up in the game and the realization turns out to be just right. But the difficulty, in bad doses, can put off…

Learning by failure

Ganryu 2 is a business that leaves nothing out and also forces you to get rid of its lack of subtlety. Hit chests (or collision mask, in other words the enemy’s sensitive area) are not always very visible and a small lag spoils the hero’s progress. If we combine this with the challenge of certain stages (barrels in the mine, some bosses, a sudden level 4 temperature rise, etc.), Storybird quickly becomes a title hardcore Which will only allow it to be tamed by the most daring and nostalgic people who will not find it difficult to immerse themselves in the sensualities of the 90s. A fix to offer a choice in difficulty wouldn’t be a bad idea, because the graphics are really great, the animation is successful and the atmosphere as a whole is very immersive. The musical atmosphere, with very Japanese undertones, also brings a lot to the experience. But it is clear that an option for novice players, which will only be to integrate waypoints into levels, will not be so much. Only at this “price” will all players be able to enjoy the five levels of Ganryu 2, even if not all courses are inspiring. The most resistant anyway will be happy to collect many hidden Hanafuda cards before restarting levels to improve their playback. But you have to take Ganryu 2 for what it is, a breathtaking ’90s action that turned out to be quite generic in terms of progression and level design.

Ganryu 2: A demanding and perfect shinobi saluteGanryu 2: A demanding and perfect shinobi salute


strength point

  • Ninja in action!
  • A variety of environments
  • Interesting arcade approach
  • sound quality

Weak points

  • No crossing points (barriers)
  • accuracy issues
  • some slowdown
  • Fairly flat levels
  • Character who lacks flexibility
  • There is no difficulty option

Released in 1999, Ganryu isn’t a game that made media history, but it had a really fun vibe and constant action. This sequel follows in the footsteps of its sons without trying to update the formula, which may seem far from current expectations. Without being a bad player, Ganryu 2 has a poorly balanced difficulty which makes it just for genre specialists and challenge enthusiasts. The lack of a checkpoint (passing point) is detrimental and forces the player to get out of annoying accuracy concerns quickly. So we constantly oscillate between the joy of evolving and the frustration of restarting the entire level with each failure. It’s a shame because the realization, even if the inspiration isn’t always there, is absolutely valid. A little piece that would make up the experience, but as it is, the whole is pretty much perfect.

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