River City Girls 2 is out in North America and Europe, and you might be ready to get out of the house and evict an army of murderous gangsters from all the coolest spots in town. Misako, Kyoko, Riki, Kunio, Marian, and Provie are all up to the task. But if you’re looking to have a bit of a smoother start, we’ve collected a few spoiler-free tips to help you along. In our guide you’ll find some things we wish we had known starting out, as well as a few hints for the curious.
Fight Your Way (Through)
River City Girls 2 is a brawler, so expect to punch your way through a whole army of yakuza thugs on your way towards Sabu, the big man on top. Unlike some older-school arcade brawlers, though, it’s also an RPG, with levels, progression, and unlockable skills. That means fighting is rewarding, particularly when you’re starting out. Beating everything in your way senseless is a great way to gather up money, which you’ll need to buy supplies, skills, food, and accessories. It’s also a way to gather up XP, which is needed to level up.
Leveling up will improve your stats, which make you do more damage and take less, among other things. A character at the maximum initial level of 30 will take significantly less damage from a goon’s attack than a level 1 newbie, giving you room to breath when dealing with bosses or tough enemies.
Home Sweet Hideout
The hideout is a new addition to River City Girls 2, and there’s one in every zone. Every hideout is a safe zone, and serves as a place to swap characters, pull healing items out of storage, and change out your assist attacks. You’ll also have the option to respawn here if you die, in exchange for no monetary penalty. Early on, going home is the smart move, because it allows you to beat up more baddies on the way to the objective, earning you more money and XP.
Once you unlock a new zone, try to locate the hideout by exploring nearby areas. That way you’ll minimize your return time if you die.
Money Makes the World Bow Down
Money is the lifeblood of River City Girls 2, and you’ll need it to buy everything, including new attacks. Early-game players should focus on saving their cash to spend on moves at the dojo. New moves expand your combat toolkit, letting you beat up enemies and earn more money, more effectively. Accessories also tend to be more expensive, and are better considered “Nice to Have” rather than “Critical” things like new moves and healing supplies.
When you can afford them, though, some accessories can be very powerful. The Socks and Fire Gem accessories are particularly strong, as they add shock and fire effects to your heavy attacks. These have a chance to stun or ignite enemies, disabling them briefly and even transferring the effect to enemies they touch.
Play the Story to Unlock Marian and Provie
Marian Kelly from Double Dragon and Provie from River City Underground are arguably the headline additions to River City Girls 2. Unfortunately for the impatient, they’re not available at the start of a fresh game. You’ll need to play through the story to encounter, then unlock the two for use in your roster.
Marian is unlocked first, and you’ll encounter her as you make your way into the Flatiron district from Downtown. Provie is unlocked in the closing moments of your time in Uptown.
Both characters join with a slightly lower level than your active character (about half their level if you’ve been soloing the game with a single character on normal), and can be swapped to from a hideout.
Make sure to visit a dojo before proceeding with the game, as they’ll need to buy moves to expand their move list past the basics. Luckily, they should have a fairly fat stack of cash when they join, so you should be able to buy a good number of moves off the bat.
You’ll unlock new moves as you level up. Some new moves are available immediately, while others must be purchased at the dojo. You’ll have your full move list accessible (provided you have the money) by the time you hit level 15.
When buying new moves, focus on “Normal” and “Heavy” attacks first over specials. Normal attacks in particular extend your core combo, meaning you have a better chance of knocking a foe out faster. Heavy attacks are also key tools, as they knock away enemies and give you breathing room. Running and aerial heavies are particularly potent tools for resetting an encounter in your favor.
Special moves can be very strong, but demand special meter use, and can even be interrupted if you’re trying to use them in the middle of a heated scrum. Similarly, grab moves are strong, but you rarely get a chance to use them, since you can only grab an enemy that’s dizzy or begging for their life. Get grab moves last if you’re short on cash.
Feast and Be Strong
River City Girls 2 has over forty shops scattered throughout River City, and many of them are food stores, serving everything from candy to haunted dumplings. You might think the shops redundant for selling food that mostly heals you, but there’s a reason to splurge on good eats. Almost all the food items in the game add points to specific stats the first time a character eats them.
That means that besides healing, eating food is a great way to strengthen your character beyond what you’d gain just from leveling up. It’s also the closest River City Girls 2 gets to allowing you to “build” a character out like a true RPG.
So if you’ve got some money left over after buying new moves or accessories, consider dropping by an eatery and spending it on some grub. Even if you’re not injured, you can choose to “Store It” to deposit the food item in your inventory for later consumption. You can even eat food in combat, so it’s a good way to keep yourself healthy during a pitched boss battle.
An Enemy in Need is a Friend on Your Trigger Buttons
As in River City Girls, you can recruit enemies to your gang by beating them up so much they beg for mercy. You’ll often see this when tackling the last enemy onscreen. When they start begging, walk up to them to grab them, then hit one of your trigger buttons (or its keyboard equivalent). This recruits the enemy to your side and turns them into an assist attack.
Most of the enemies in the game are palette-swaps of several basic types. This means they perform the same assist attack when called in. However, a few with unique color schemes and names have differing, sometimes much stronger assist attacks. For example, the Terminator-like cyborgs usually do a three-hit combo when called, but one special cyborg will lash out with a telescoping arm, knocking enemies away in one direction. Another delivers an electric shock, stunning enemies and setting them up for your combo.
Thus it’s good advice to try to recruit at least one of every new enemy you encounter. You can switch out assists at your hideout, tailoring them to your fighting style.
One caveat: Assist character have limited health. If you summon them and they get hit by an enemy attack during their animation, they’ll take a point of damage. An assist that gets “killed” is unavailable, and will need to be reset at the hideout.
A few characters can be hired for money to become one of your assists. These characters usually signal their availability via a side quest notification. If you walk over there and pay ’em, they’ll pop into your bar like a newly recruited baddie. Their assists can be uniquely powerful, so they’re often worth looking up. If they get killed, they’ll need to be rehired, though. You can’t equip them in at the hideout.
These tips should help you get a head start on headbutting Sanwakai gangsters out of the city in River City Girls 2.
River City Girls 2 is available on on Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.