YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Lex Firth 29.09.2017

Review for YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters on Nintendo 3DS

It's found its feet since its initial reception as something of a Pokémon copycat, and now the YO-KAI WATCH franchise can be very much seen as its own success story; while the reception in the West may not have been as frantic, it's a behemoth in Japan, with a super-successful series of games, an anime, a manga, and a colossal number of toys behind it. Of course, with a series so unavoidable, it's inevitable that the team behind it will want to keep pushing out releases at a lightning pace, and the release of YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters just six months after that of its sibling versions proves just that. The question is, does Psychic Specters stand up to repeat examination so soon after Fleshy Souls and Bony Spirits?

Taking cues from entries in the Pokémon franchise such as Emerald and Platinum, Psychic Specters is essentially the "third version" of YO-KAI WATCH 2 as a whole - that is to say, a game that retains the core essence of its predecessors, while adding a host of new content to entice repeat buyers. The plot, structure, and central gameplay here are nigh-on identical to Fleshy Souls and Bony Spirits, with the only real difference being the extra content tacked onto the side.

Screenshot for YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters on Nintendo 3DS

Therein lies Psychic Specters' biggest problem - it simply isn't fresh enough. Where Pokémon Emerald and Platinum completely refreshed their original products, adding in new plot points and areas, as well as fixing numerous faults with their sister games, Psychic Specters is almost completely unchanged, even down to the UI. This means that previously reported problems, such as the frustratingly plodding pace of its early plot, and its insistence on retreading old areas and storylines, haven't been fixed, and so the main game experience is just as flawed.

As for the new content itself, it's hit and miss. There are a handful of new side-quests, which although entertaining - the ones about the butler-cum-sidekick YO-KAI Whisper's ancestry are a particular highlight - are also fairly short, and don't particularly enrich the storyline on the whole. There's also a new battle mode in the form of a selection of trains filled with specific categories of powerful YO-KAI, but this again only serves to demonstrate how weak the game's battle system is - just like its prequel, it's entirely automatic and the lack of notable player input makes it a complete bore.

Screenshot for YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters on Nintendo 3DS

In order to entice Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls players back into Springdale, there's also the option to transfer save data from those two games directly into Psychic Specters - made a lot easier by the fact that the main game plot is essentially the same across all three entries, so those who haven't quite finished the original two can jump straight into the expanded version. It's certainly convenient, but it also raises the question of just how worthwhile Psychic Specters is as a fully priced retail release, when its handful of actually new content can be accessed from the outset and used up in just a few hours.

There's also the issue of the version exclusive YO-KAI: originally, some could only be found in Bony Spir-its while others were locked to Fleshy Souls; Psychic Specters further exacerbates the problem by making it impossible to get certain YO-KAI from these two releases, such as the creatures exclusive to the downloadable versions of each game; for those without a friend with a copy of the games, trading for these exclusive YO-KAI is also out of the question, with no Pokémon-style Global Trade Station to speak of.

To soften the blow, there are a host of new obtainable YO-KAI, including the story-relevant "Wicked" tribe; however, despite being satisfyingly powerful to use, the vast majority are based on existing YO-KAI - a trend that already pervades the expansive YO-KAI Medallium - making them slightly disappointing to actually obtain.

Screenshot for YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters on Nintendo 3DS

However, for all the negativity, one thing that still emanates from YO-KAI WATCH 2 at every turn is its charm, and that's definitely still present in Psychic Specters. Its plot may be a little bit thin, but it's also genuinely entertaining and wonderfully translated, despite its unmistakably Japanese origins. Newcomers who aren't familiar with this cast of characters will find themselves at home with them almost instantly thanks to a great script, and if there's one thing that this entry's lack of innovation is good for, it's that it makes this the best jumping-on point for those unfamiliar with the franchise on the whole - there's definitely the most content here out of all of the games, and the stiffness of the first game is less apparent.

On the whole, it's difficult to know whether to recommend YO-KAI WATCH 2 - faithful YO-KAI fans are likely to find themselves more than a little disappointed at the lack of substantial new content here that really justifies the asking price, while casual newcomers may not be all that interested in the more hardcore-orientated bonus content that this newer, more expensive release has in store.

Screenshot for YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

While there's nothing fundamentally wrong with Psychic Specters - it is, after all, the most compre-hensive entry in the series, and Level-5's signature polish emanates throughout - yet it is also more than a little disappointing to see a fully-priced release add so little to the base game. Hardcore fans intent on purchasing should be aware that the new content is a little on the thin side, although it does make for a decent place for newbies to start their YO-KAI collection.

Developer

Level-5

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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