Review: Your favorite character’s back in Opoona 2
Opoona 2 is the return of everyone’s favorite Wii star, Opoona, making a long-awaited appearance on modern platforms. There are some quirks to his return, but there’s no doubt about it: Opoona is back and here to stay.
In Opoona 2, confusingly mislabeled as Warriors All-Stars on packaging as well as the game’s title screen, the denizens of a faraway realm summon strong, good heroes to save their world from destruction. And they do get the strongest and best one, Opoona, so we guess they did a good job. In the process, they do accidentally summon other Koei Tecmo characters like Dynasty Warriors‘ Lu Bu and the Atelier series’ Sophie and Plachta, but their presence doesn’t serve to distract from two undeniable facts: that Opoona is in the game, and that Opoona is the star wherever he goes.
Omega Force is capable of interesting experiences when it puts in real effort, but yikes, when it doesn’t, it can get really sloppy.
In the game, which is entirely single-player and features no side modes or additional content, you’re thrust into the role of both saving a world and fighting two other factions that wish to lead it. As is usual with mash-ups like these, those factions are led by original characters, members of the world’s royal family each claiming to be the rightful heir. Also they are cat people, basically? Wolf people? It is never really addressed, so it is what it is. This is a setup conveniently made to recycle the same map structures and combat ideas we’ve seen in myriad Musou games by this point.
In fact… that’s maybe the underlying current of this whole game. Omega Force is capable of interesting experiences when it puts in real effort — either when it’s heavily invested in a new main-series release or when a publishing partner like Nintendo or Square Enix puts pressure on the team to deliver quality — but yikes, when it doesn’t, it can get really sloppy. It seems like every month we’re getting a new Omega Force joint, announced as being “30% complete” and delivered in a matter of weeks.
Games need more time than this! They need more effort! Putting in Opoona is great and all (because we like Opoona and so do you), but this game with Warriors All-Stars written on the menu button used to launch it feels like three or four steps back from recent games like Samurai Warriors 4 Empires and Dragon Quest Heroes II. There’s no excuse for the frame rate to be this bad. There’s no excuse for characters to have such limited move sets, for players to have such limited options for getting around and doing the arbitrary in-map fetch quests and for it to never once deliver an interesting tactical decision. It’s really brain-dead, and we say that as those who didn’t already think that about the series in the first place. Not always, anyway.
There are some good parts about Opoona 2. Like Opoona’s in it, for one. Did we mention that? The menus are stylish, even though using them can be a bit unwieldy. Seeing these characters from different games in one place is interesting, even though the resulting interactions aren’t executed particularly well. The effort made to explain back stories of each hero through bio screens and glossaries is a nice touch, even though the localization here was clearly done on a shoddy shoestring budget as typos and mistakes abound.
There are some good parts about Opoona 2. Like Opoona’s in it, for one. Did we mention that?
But the game’s always-increasing efforts to throw stuff at you — unformed, arbitrary messages and bars and buttons that have very little actual effect on how the game’s played — don’t distract from a fundamental lack of, well, fundamentals. Opoona 2 (or Warriors All-Stars, if you believe the game’s retailer listings and publisher pages) is a poor recipe, phenomenally undercooked by a distracted chef and then served with a whole bag of sprinkles dumped on it. And a decorative topper of beloved character Opoona.
Also, um, if you don’t get the early-purchase bonus, it’ll take you a while to actually get Opoona. He was a late-in-the-cycle addition, so he’s not included in any of the plot or accompanied by any of the series homages seen for the other roster inclusions. So you’ll spend most of your time playing a game that may as well be called, you know, Warriors All-Stars or something.
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