The original Yo-kai Watch was a rather leisurely adventure. The game was structured into episodes, much like an anime, and gradually doled out access to new areas and abilities. It eased you into this monster collecting adventure. While this meant you were always prepared for everything, it also made some elements a little too easy and dragged out some storyline elements and gameplay features. With Yo-kai Watch 2, you’re immediately thrust into every important part of the game.
It all starts with a watch. Since some people may choose to skip the installment in favor of Yo-kai Watch 2, the introduction conveniently provides an excuse to reintroduce the Yo-kai Watch mechanic. A group of Yo-kai have plans for Springdale, and Nate or Kate having the watch and supernatural friends will ruin them. They subsequently erase the avatar and every Yo-kai’s memories of the previous games’ friendships and events. Fortunately, a mysterious watch shop shows up after a family outing involving donut acquisition, our hero or heroine gets the Yo-kai Watch again, and he or she reunites with Whisper and Jibanyan. With the crew back together, it’s back to more daily life episodes as you work your way toward more pressing and important encounters.
From there, Yo-kai Watch 2 really picks up. The first installment was rather limiting. You could only access certain parts of Springdale, keeping you from accessing new parts of your own town until the one, two, three, or even five hour mark. This also restricted access to certain gameplay elements. Yo-kai fusion and StreetPassing were off the table until you unlocked Blossom Heights and its Shoten Temple and Wayfarer Manor. Within the first hour or so, you have all of Yo-kai Watch 2’s major functions. You can find Yo-kai Hot Spots. You can StreetPass or evolve characters. Wisps begin showing up sooner in battle. Most importantly, by the seven hour mark I had access to the entire Springdale area. By the nine hour mark, I was at Harrisville. The game goes out of its way to pick up the pace.
This goes for storyline quests too. I felt like I was getting to Yo-kai Watch 2’s more important parts more quickly. If a storyline quest had a gap where key quests had to be fulfilled to proceed, there were usually only two or three in the earliest portions of the game. These key quests would also be tied to important elements. One was a Battle tutorial, which immediately unlocked online versus after its completion. (That was acquired within the first five hours.) Blasters and Medal Swap apps were unlocked around the same time, making sure I had prompt access to multiplayer components. I was absolutely prepared.
Which was great, because it made be feel like I wasn’t missing anything with Yo-kai Watch 2. As much as I enjoyed the original game, I felt like I’d need to do all this backtracking whenever a new feature or area opened up, as there’d be something from neighborhood specific shops, quests that made me try and find possibly forgotten places, and Yo-kai criminals that were difficult to keep track of. Yo-kai Watch 2 is on point. As I headed onto the train to Harrisville, after spending almost two hours just roaming around all of Springdale once it’d been unlocked, I had the Yo-kai Spots, Trophies, Yo-kai Cam, Yo-Criminals, Battle, Blaster, Medal Swap, and Weather apps available. Sure, I didn’t have a bike or fishing pole yet, but I had a D-rank watch, over $100, and 36 Medals. I felt like I could conquer anything.
The array of Yo-kai present in Yo-kai Watch 2 helped too. The original game had about 180 characters. Yo-kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls’ Medallium says there are 374 available. It pretty essentially doubles it. Since you get to upgrade the Yo-kai Watch. befriend Baku, and unlock the ability to scan physical medals within the first few hours, you’re getting fast access to a substantial number of characters right away. This means both the offline and online battles are more interesting, thanks to the wide variety. You have more options, which makes things more intriguing.
Even wandering around town, I found I had more reasons to pull out the Yo-kai Watch and explore. Yo-kai Hotspots open up early, with early Baffle Boards being found in Uptown Springdale, Breezy Hills, Blossom Heights, Shopper’s Row, and Downtown Springdale. Not all can have Yo-kai placed, but it’s very possible to have your initial Brushido evolved to Washogun and placed by the Bathhouse before heading to Harrisville. Gates of Whimsy appear rather readily, once you’ve been introduced to the Gourd Pond Museum. Leadonis are plentiful, guiding you to treasures if you can keep up. There were so many more ways to kill time, and I was able to start enjoying these extra features faster than before.
Yo-kai Watch had quite a task ahead of it last year. It was a Pokemon-like that needed to define itself. It had to introduce us to this new world and help us get accustomed to a different pace. Yo-kai Watch 2 doesn’t have that heavy a burden. Instead, it can offer a brief, but effective, refresher and get to the good stuff. It moves at such a wonderful pace, with new gameplay elements, areas, characters, and features introduced at the absolute best time. There’s no wondering and waiting when you’ll finally get to see a new part of town, upgrade your watch, head to the past, or go online. There are no unpleasant delays. You’re just able to immediately jump in and enjoy every part of this supernatural world.
Yo-kai Watch 2 will come to the Nintendo 3DS in North America on September 30, 2016.