Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors – Review
Follow Genre: RPG (adult)
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV
Tested on: PlayStation TV

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors – Review

Site Score
7.9
Good: Better plot than you'd expect, Decent mechanics
Bad: Censorship, Certainly not for everyone
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

A year and a half ago Criminal Girls: Invite Only made its way to the West, albeit a very censored version, which wasn’t received all too well by many other sites. Yet we concluded that the game had some fun mechanics, a better plot than you’d imagine and even with the censorship in place, proved to be a fun experience. This time around we have the chance to present you with our opinion of Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors, which in essence is more of the same, albeit polished, prettier and with less censorship. We were ready to break out our ‘motivational’ tactics, to save some girls from the fiery depths of hell.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

Story

In a world very much like ours there’s a diversity between actual criminals, convicts as it were, and delinquents, those who have evil intentions but never truly acted on them, or at least not that much. Even though these young delinquents have done nothing wrong, yet, they are denied access to heaven if they perish, but they get a second chance at life if they redeem themselves at the doorstep of hell. While these poor souls, seven in this game, should not wade through hell, due to an outbreak of condemned convicts they are sent there anyway, as it seems there is an actual convict hiding amongst the seven girls.

You, the program instructor, are also an innocent soul called down to hell, in order to escort these girls to salvation. In a normal scenario, it would feel like a dream for a ‘program instructor’ as yourself, but due to the outbreak, you are also sent to hell, and you will not be revived until someone comes to get you. Nonetheless, even with your memories gone of who you were outside the fiery abyss, you feel responsible for these girls, and you decide you will not leave them behind in hell, and help them ‘reform’ even if it means you’ll have to climb out of hell with your bare hands.

Overall, just like the previous game, the story content seems to be rather slim and the plot simplistic, and to a certain extent this is true. Nonetheless, the overall theme is catchy, the plot of girls being sent to hell works, especially in combination with the kinky theme the game is aiming for. That being said, it’s the overall character development that makes this game interesting and appealing for those who are looking for some extra story value. Even with some cliché characters in place, very much like in the first game, they blossom and open up as you progress towards their resurrection.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

Graphics

Graphically the game hasn’t gone up by leaps and bounds compared to the first installment of Criminal Girls, but the fairly pleasant visuals got tweaked and polished, making everything into a more coherent and picturesque whole. Conversations are brought in a visual novel-like formula, where the characters pop up rather large on your screen, have their say, with slight shifts of animations, making it feel a bit less static, as subtle as the movements may be. Roaming around the map is presented in a totally different style, as you’ll play the game from a top-down perspective looking at the ‘chibi’ versions of the otherwise good looking characters. During combat sequences you’ll also see the adorable versions of the delinquents, with simple skill animations and slight movements, again polishing the appearance of the first game.

The punishment scenes (redubbed motivation scenes in the West) are still censored, as we tend to be offended more easily than our Japanese colleagues, but NIS America has gotten rid of the purple mist surrounding these kinky scenes, and opted for more subtle changes. While in the original Japanese version the girls were often tied up, to make things seem even more sexual, our version removed most of the ‘bondage’ items and opted for a clearer look. Nonetheless, the overall sexy vibe remains intact, even with some color and position changes in place. Even though censorship for games like this remains rather silly, it’s fun to see that the overall formula hasn’t been tampered with as much as it was in the original game.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

Sound

Catchy music greets you when you boot up the game, and the overall soundtrack is likeable, upbeat and gets you in the proper mood to climb up all the way from hell, to redeem the girls under your care. Nonetheless, it’s pretty much the voice acting, just like with many of NIS America’s releases, that properly sets the tone.

Every one of the characters’ appearances is enforced by the voice that comes with each of them, creating certain cliché characters, but pleasant ones nonetheless. All Japanese voice acting is done in a superb fashion, creating the proper atmosphere for things to come, without overstepping the boundaries of overacting. There’s only one minor issue, which was already present in the previous iteration, namely the lack of ‘voice acting’ during the motivation scenes. While you motivate (torture) the girls, they all just take it without uttering a single word, moan or grunt, making it seem as if the girls do this on a daily basis and are desensitized to what is actually going on. The Japanese version did have sounds during these sections, making it feel more natural. This is one of those cases where censorship actually makes things dirtier/worse.

Gameplay

Just like its predecessor Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is an old school 2D J-RPG at heart, with some quirky leveling mechanics built around it. Again you find yourself roaming the depths of hell, hoping to climb to the top and redeem the girls under your care, but to do so, many convicts (monsters) stand in your way, thus grinding, leveling and backtracking seem to be the formula of this title.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

As for the J-RPG elements, things don’t stray away too far from what the genre often sets as a standard. You’ll be wading through the many different floors of hell, where many segments have their own theme, boss battles and so on. You’ll be playing from a top-down perspective, with four of the seven girls always in your party, but you’ll be able to switch them freely during combat if so desired. The only real original quirks are that girls can work together in combat, you can coach your girls during combat and that skills are unlocked by cracking out your kinky S&M toys in order to properly motivate the young delinquents. While the latter sounds rather wrong and dirty, you’ll just be limited to something akin to a quick time event, with a sexy anime girl in the background. In this installment you’ll often see two girls in the motivation mini-games, but the second girl doesn’t receive any experience or doesn’t really serve a purpose mechanics-wise.

After properly motivating the girls, you’ll get to choose a skill every time you level up. Each motivation game can go up to level five, meaning there are a proper amount of skills for you to choose from. You’ll always have the option to choose between two skills, each being another type, but more than often it’s quite unclear what the advantage or disadvantage of both types are. Luckily, you’ll be able to switch skills if you change your mind. Even though you have many skills to learn per character, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to choose them freely, as it all depends on mana consumption and the fact that combat is like Russian roulette. Executable skills will be offered each turn, and if you’re lucky, combat begins with powerful skills, if not, you’ll have to make do with what you get. We only had one issue with the motivation games, namely the controls, when playing it on our PlayStation TV. The controls feel imprecise, and not optimized for those who’d rather play the game on TV, instead of their handheld.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

Combat in Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors also follows a fairly traditional turn based format, where you get to pick one of your girls who will be able to attack during each of your turns. While only separate attacks are possible at the beginning, you’ll be able to let the girls work together, the more you motivate them, and thus unlock new skills or let them unleash buffs and powerful other skills. Other special chain skills can also be found if you are fond of exploring every nook and cranny of the different floors of hell. Even though you have seven girls in your party, you will be able to switch one character per turn, if you really want to use all the skills of your team, or simply want to make sure everyone makes it out alive. Keep in mind, as this game is pretty much a dungeon crawler, you’ll have to occupy yourself with heaps of battles, if you want to make steady progress, even on the easy difficulty level.

Even though the game is all about escaping from hell, hoping to get resurrected, together with the girls under your care, there are a few side-quests in the form of ‘girl wishes’, which are exactly that. After enough motivation, the girls will open up and start asking you favors, which often involve backtracking to defeat certain foes, find items and so on. While these quests aren’t obligatory, they are useful as they unlock passive effects upon completion, such as mana reduction per character, and add a bit of story content to the entire package.

Conclusion

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors might look like pure fan service but just like the first installment, there’s more than meets the eye. You’ll have a reasonably decent plot to work with, with amusing character development and fun, solid mechanics. Graphically the game is rather pleasing, especially for those who are into Ecchi experiences, all accompanied by a properly set atmosphere. If  you liked the first game, this one offers less censorship, polished graphics and improved mechanics.

Criminal Girls 2 Party Favors

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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