I never played the original Aragami. I liked the look of it and the idea of its gameplay loop, but I loathe fail-state stealth games. The moment you’re spotted things go horribly awry and you can’t fight back?. No thanks.
It’s never made sense to me that an undead ninja would be unable to fight back in a pinch, so I’m incredibly glad that Aragami 2, on top of all the usual stealth shenanigans you’d expect, adds in some proper combat options, too.
After a few hours with a preview build of the game, things are looking good for this stealth sequel.
Sneaky, Sneaky, Sir
You can now parry, block, dodge, and just button-mash your way through some of the fights. It’s not an ideal thing to do, though, because while Aragami does allow for a bit more flexibility in viable playstyles, you’re definitely better off using the ridiculous array of unlockable stealth skills.
Along with being able to crouch, hang off of ledges, and double jump, you also have access to a few supernatural abilities, including the ability to teleport to a ledge if you’re within a certain range and even the ability to go into shadow vision to see everything around you that’s a threat.
These are just the abilities you start off with; it turns out that there are a lot of other abilities you can unlock as you play that all feel a lot like new toys, but where your toys let you kill people or knock them out.
All of this gameplay takes place across missions that you take from your village, all with the aim of keeping the Rashomon Valley safe. Missions vary between attacking specific places or people, finding different items, rescuing people, and just generally exploring areas. While you’re essentially running between objective markers, and it’s all fairly good fun, it’s not without its flaws.
Incredibly Cool Backflip, Followed by Two Minutes of Being Lost
While most of the levels are designed in a way that allows you to move fluidly from one cool stealth move to another, and that feels great every single time, there are a fair few moments where you just kind of wander around a bit aimlessly. They don’t ruin the game (at least so far; this is a preview after all), they do make things a bit lackluster and crop up more than I’d like.
On the plus side (though this isn’t something I’ve had a chance to check out just yet), there is actually co-op in Aragami 2. While I did start to suspect some of the missions could creep into being repetitive when playing solo, I imagine that’s completely offset by running around as a group of three trying to maintain stealth while undoubtedly getting in each other’s way.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Keeping an Eye on a Stealth Game Feels Heretical
Aragami 2 is definitely a game I’m going to be keeping an eye on. Its mix of stealth and action really helps it break away from what I was worried about in the original, and the style is just cartoony enough to justify the absurd shadow powers you’ll be learning as you hack, slash, and sneak your way through the stunning scenery.
There’s a lot of promise here, and while I’d definitely be less inclined to keep up with things if it was exclusively solo, co-op always enhances a game, so I’ll be checking back in with the final product when it launches September 17 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and XSX|S.