Yo-kai Watch 2 lets players enjoy some firsts in the series. The original game was almost entirely focused on the single player adventure. It was all about going around Springdale and savoring the solo experience. You could participate in local battles, but there was no real incentive for doing so. Yo-kai Watch 2 is all about making you want to connect with other players for various rewards.
The most basic of which is unlocking items you couldn’t earn on your own. A special dungeon is available to people who have access to both copies, either by getting both games on your own and connecting them or by meeting up with a friend in-person to join up. Medal Swap lets you trade medals locally or online with friends, letting you fill games in your collection. In each case, everyone gets to win. You work together to make each other better players and give yourselves more things to do. You’re able to build up your parties and make them stronger by undertaking new challenges and diversifying.
Yo-kai Watch 2’s Yo-kai Blasters is great for helping you understand the roles characters can play in your party. This is a local beat’em up mode, where you get to work with up to three people. (You could even try it alone, if you’d prefer.) It functions identically to the standard Terror Time mode in the game, only your Yo-kai can fight back against the pursuers and Gargaros. This lets you bide your time, collect more items and Oni Orbs, and strategize when considering if fighting back or fleeing for an exit is the wisest course of action. There’s even the Oni Orb Crank-a-Kai at the end, with the same sorts of rewards as the Terror Time gacha in the solo campaign.
It’s helpful when it comes to understanding the Yo-kai you’ve befriended, as it automatically groups your collected characters into traditional RPG roles. Your medals are divided into groups of Fighters, Tanks, Healers, and Rangers. Some characters’ roles have always been obvious. Tongus and Shmoopie are obviously healers, and certainly Jibanyan is a Fighter. For example, I thought of Damona as a Ranger or Spellcaster, but she’s a fighter here. Her description grades her stats, and her A in strength made me rethink my thoughts on benching her in favor of Frostail, and I brought her in to replace him. Comparing Buchinyan’s stat grades here to Jibanyan’s finally convinced me to bench the standard cat for the one that gives me the best of both mascot worlds.
Battle is about helping you learn how to handle yourself and your team under pressure. When you go online, you can try to fight for your side. You rise through the ranks when battling with a preset team of six. You know you can’t cheat or overpower your way through, as you can only set two S-rank Yo-kai and two A-ranks. Instead, it encourages creativity. Do you bother with healers or power through with aggressive allies? Which equipment should you assign to characters? Which characters play well off of each other? You can’t automatically go with your strongest characters or usual team. You have to put more thought into it.
I felt like the online fights in Yo-kai Watch 2 helped me with my strategic skills. I tended to rely on Moxie skills in standard boss fights during the campaign, since it felt like they packed just the right amount of punch for certain challenges. You can’t use those as liberally in an online fight. You could be wasting your time, especially if your opponent catches on to your strategy and begins picking people off. You need to be good and quick about accurately spinning the dial, to make sure the exact people you want and need are currently deployed. You have to know when to use the Model Z watch, with its poking ability that can get you extra spirit or deal bonus damage, and swap to the standard watch for its targeting ability. Even though you aren’t giving direct orders, you are always active in these matches. It makes you a better captain. Plus, it gives you points that you can stockpile for valuable Crank-a-Kai coins, which can in turn make you and your team better.
When you’re playing Yo-kai Watch 2, working with or against another person is a great way to make your experience better. Aside from learning valuable things about your characters and new strategies you can employ, you’re always earning new things that make your solo adventuring more interesting. Battle lets you earn points that can be put toward items and Crank-a-Kai coins. Busters gives you a chance to use the Oni Orb Crank-a-Kai, with its specific rewards and Yo-kai. Linking games or trading medals lets you into a new dungeon and gives you access to characters you might not have acquired on your own. It compliments your solo experience and incentivizes cooperating with and combating others.
Yo-kai Watch 2 is now available for the Nintendo 3DS in North America.