Action Hack'N'Slash Review RPG

Dusk Diver 2 – Preview | Hack’n’Slash in Taipei

Dusk Diver 2 is finally hacking and slashing its way to consoles in the West later this year. Following the events of the original Dusk Diver, this Action RPG has you take control of Yang Yumo, fighting the forces of chaos and protecting Taipei.

To set your expectations, this is merely a preview – not one of our normal detailed reviews. We’ve kindly been granted early access and will only be giving impressions based on the opening chapters of the Dusk Diver 2.

Dusk Diver 2 - Yumo's Power

Dimension Hopping Girl

The game starts with a very brief recap of what previously happened to Yang Yumo – now a college student. It initially gives a sci-fi impression, starting in a laboratory and discussing having unstated issues with her powers. At first, I found myself somewhat confused as it kept referring to events from the previous game, but I eventually started to pick things up.

Yumo works with a small group, including a demanding boss that pays her minimum wage. On the face of it, she’s just working at a convenience store, but she also helps to protect the city. We find ourselves diving through fissures into hidden dimensions and fighting.

It’s not just as simple as good versus evil though. There seem to be various factions with an interest in these alternate dimensions and politicking over actions taken. We also start to see a big company move into Taipei and the effects they have. There have also been some unusual events, such as people not in control of their own actions and others quietly spying on our adventure.

While we’re only looking at the early game in this preview, the story does seem like it’s setting up several threads that could be weaved into an interesting plot.

Dusk Diver 2 - Taipei City

Exploring Worlds

Despite the initial sci-fi feel, we spend a lot of our time in regular Taipei City. It’s a fairly small area, at least so far, but it feels full. Exploring the city, we can find a variety of NPCs to talk to, enemies to fight, restaurants to eat at, items and collectibles to pick up, and side quests.

In terms of side quests, these are fairly standard. Go somewhere, talk to someone or beat something up. Some are just random NPCs with a line or two of dialogue, while others include story scenes to get to know the characters better. For example, at one point we run around the city trying to find Yusha’s lost wallet while getting to see both her kindness and how forgetful she is. It’s nice to have these to flesh out characters we otherwise don’t seem to interact with much.

Outside of Taipei, we dive into the other dimensions. So far these have varied quite a lot. One early one with a particularly strong theme was designed after an arcade. It had a giant ice hockey table with pucks to avoid, tokens to collect to move forward, a whack a mole themed after our boss, and more. Another was a more generic word, with floating platforms and crystals dotted around. A recolored version of the city itself seems to pop up often too. I’m hoping to see more of the strongly themed ones going forward, as it was certainly more interesting than a lot of levels in some other action RPGs.

Dusk Diver 2 - Arcade World

Hacking and Slashing

Dusk Diver 2 stands out for its combat. It focuses on combos and smooth transitions, with it being possible to keep up a never-ending flow of movement and hits.

Most fights end up as you versus a handful of enemies at a time. You have plenty of options in how to fight, with the standard being to dodge around and mix combos of light and heavy attacks. That said, you can equip three specials that can be used on a cooldown, dashes towards enemies, and some other special abilities.

One feature I really like here is the dodging. It is fairly easy to get hit if not paying attention, but dodging with the correct timing can slow everything down and feels incredibly satisfying. Using techniques like this, combos, and more can also net you bonuses at the end of the battle, which adds a nice motivation.

You don’t just have Yuno as an option though. She’s best at the non-stop combos and high speed, with options to electrify enemies. You can also switch to other characters with different focuses, such as a heavier fighter that focuses more on blocks and area of effect attacks or one with a long-distance focus. These feel very different to play as, which I certainly appreciated.

Dusk Diver 2 - Combat

It’s an RPG Too!

While the hack and slash combat is at center stage, Dusk Diver 2 does include RPG elements as well.

One feature I always appreciate in games is included: it lets the player manually control the growth of stats. Essentially you earn experience through battle, can choose which stats to raise, and doing this levels your character up. It even lets you choose which character to give the experience to from a central pool. Beyond that, there is spending resources to level up weapons, buying items, and choosing skills.

Exploring those restaurants helps too. Eating there can give your characters a buff.

Dusk Diver 2 - Nemea

Technically Not The Best

While the combat is great, the technical side of Dusk Diver 2 does let things down a bit. As this is a preview, I’d usually be somewhat lenient thinking it may be fixed before release, but the game has been released on console in Asia almost half a year ago.

I’ve not come across any major issues, but I’ve often noticed textures not loading in right away and NPCs that ‘teleport’ or suddenly stop moving, which is immersion-breaking. Another graphics-related issue is that the game targets 60FPS on PS4/PS5 and 30FPS on Switch. I’m playing on a PlayStation 5, but while often smooth, it sometimes does stutter when panning over areas. Fortunately, this only happens when finding a new place.

I have come across some unusual collision barriers. There are occasional places where you can’t go right up to a wall. This may be the developers taking a shortcut rather than a technical issue, as it looks like they’ve just drawn a barrier from one part that sticks out.

I only got delayed by a technical issue once. An enemy got stuck on a high-up platform somehow. Fortunately, they made their way down somehow.

Production Values

Outside of the issues mentioned above, Dusk Diver 2 does look quite good. It typically runs smoothly, at least on the PlayStation 5. Generic NPCs are styled in a way that some may not like and may not always fit their character, but story-related characters all have a good amount of detail and interesting designs.

Also, it has jiggle physics and destructible clothing if you’re into that.

Dusk Diver 2 comes with partial voicing. There’s no English for dub fans, but you can listen to it in Japanese or Chinese.

Final Thoughts

While I can only comment on the early moments of Dusk Diver 2, it does seem to hold a good amount of promise. The combat is satisfying and it looks like it’ll add even more options going forward. The story seems like it could be interesting too. While the technical issues do bring it down, so far they’ve not caused any major issues. I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4|5, PC

If you enjoy Hack’N’Slash games, then perhaps you’d like our review of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

Many thanks go to Reef Entertainment for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

If you’d like to see more articles from us, please remember to follow us on Twitter🐦 and consider turning notifications on. Or type in your E-mail address and click the button for free email updates. You can also come chat with us on Discord.

Support High-Quality And Detailed Coverage

Want to support the cost of us bringing you these articles or just buy us a coffee for a job well done? Click the Ko-fi button below. You can even find some digital goodies in our shop~!