Dusk Diver 2 – Review
Follow Genre: Musou, RPG
Developer: WANIN International
Publisher: Idea Factory
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch
Tested on: Switch

Dusk Diver 2 – Review

Site Score
Good: Great story with likable characters
Bad: Repetivive dungeons and lackluster combat system
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Although the original Dusk Diver game was released back in 2019, it flew under our radar and we never got around to reviewing it. With Dusk Diver 2, we’re aiming to rectify this and are giving the Dusk Diver franchise a fair shot. After its release on PC a couple of months ago, Dusk Diver 2 has now arrived on consoles, so it seemed like the right opportunity to take an in-depth look at this musou RPG hybrid. The game certainly looks -and sounds- intriguing but can it deliver? Read on to find out!


We hadn’t played the original Dusk Diver, so we went in blind and this proved to be a bit of a hindrance in the early stages of Dusk Diver 2’s story. This is a direct sequel to that original game after all, and we had to piece together the events that took place in that first game. While the main character, Yang Yumo, does recap the game during a short monologue, accompanied by still images of key characters and events in the game, this felt more like a quick refresher for those returning to the Dusk Diver universe, rather than a way to get new players up to speed with what they should know. The game hits the ground running after this introductory monologue, and although we appreciate the fast-paced storytelling implemented here, we would’ve preferred a (skippable) lengthier introduction to the characters. To give you an idea of the depth of this recap, two main characters are simply introduced with the phrase: “Of course, I also befriended Bahet and Viada…”, and nothing else is said about these two.

That said, Dusk Diver 2 takes players to the Ximending district in Taipei, where Yang Yumo is trying to master the so-called dragon vein power that she discovered in the first game. Together with her coworkers at Tumaz Mart, Yumo takes care of interdimensional fissures that connect the Ximending district with an otherworldly counterpart known as Youshanding, where chaos beasts roam. It’s during one of the outings where Yumo’s crew is dealing with a fissure that they run into the Dark Diver, a mysterious figure that is hunting a young boy. His motives are unknown, but apparently, this is all connected to Elysium, a sinister organization that engaged in a conflict with the Kunlunians, who have jurisdiction over Youshanding. Naturally, Yumo and her crew get caught up in this conflict. The story that unfolds then is well-written and filled with a cast of likable side characters.


It’s difficult to ignore that Dusk Diver 2 took some visual inspiration from the Persona series, with Persona 5 in particular. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the game is certainly easy on the eyes, with a stylish interface, great character designs, and gorgeous environments. The fantastic visuals do come at the cost of lackluster visual performance, however. The frame rate isn’t consistent, although surprisingly, we noticed that most of the slowdown didn’t occur during gameplay but during cutscenes. Of course, these slowdowns may be less of a problem in the PC or PlayStation versions of the game, as we are looking at the Switch version here.


From the catchy music to the excellent voice acting, Dusk Diver 2’s soundscape knocks it out of the park. While the game, unfortunately, doesn’t feature full voice acting, the Japanese cast does an excellent job in the scenes that are voiced as well as during combat. The same can be said about the sound effects, which are crisp and give the on-screen action some punch. The OST varies from electric guitar-laden combat music to poppy tunes during lighter dialogue moments, and we couldn’t be happier with the music selection as it was one of the main things that kept us playing.


While the majority of Dusk Diver 2’s gameplay centers around Musou-style combat, the game is actually an RPG at heart. You’ll be wandering around a wide variety of dungeons, battling waves of enemies, and completing both story quests and side quests. There are a plethora of playable characters too, each with their own moveset. At first glance, it felt like Dusk Diver 2 had a lot to offer, but as we spent more and more time with the game, our initial impressions soured, as we felt that the game quickly became very repetitive and never lived up to its true potential.

The combat system is easy enough to get to grips with, but it also feels lacking because it’s almost oversimplified. Dusk Diver 2’s combat aims to emulate the feeling of the 1000 vs. 1 action seen in games like Samurai Warriors, but there are usually only a handful of enemies on-screen at any given time. This would be fine if Dusk Diver 2’s combat was built around chaining together attacks and creating combos, similar to what you’d see in games like Bayonetta, but unfortunately, Dusk Diver 2 lacks the complexity and elegance of an elaborate move system. Instead, you’ll be mindlessly bashing buttons as you chip away at enemy hit points. The actual fights themselves feel like a chore, rather than a challenge: there are no attack patterns to figure out, nor are there strategies that you can employ. You simply hack away, and enemies soak up damage, sometimes taking several minutes to take out. The only “strategy” or combat variety to be found was that different playable characters had different movesets, but that wasn’t enough to keep us engaged.

As for the dungeons themselves, we lauded the initial variety and inventive dungeon mechanics, such as one based around a gacha machine, as well as the typical environmental dungeons, but sadly, they grew rather stale way too quickly. The majority of these turned out to be lengthy corridors where wave after wave of enemies were waiting in interconnected rooms. Add to this that you had to backtrack and revisit several dungeons multiple times, and you end up with a game that feels like it’s padding itself to create the illusion of longevity. Dusk Diver 2’s biggest weakness, it seems, is that it is built on a decent foundation, but that the developers never truly push the game to what it could be, instead repeating content over and over again. We would’ve been fine with a short but sweet adventure, but it seems like everything was done to increase the game’s length in order to justify an AAA price.

Despite this unnecessary padding, Dusk Diver 2 is still a surprisingly short game, especially for its genre. Playing through the main storyline will run you roughly 12 hours, although we reckon this could be pushed up to about 15-ish hours if you decide to take on every side mission. Not that we’d recommend this, as they typically boil down to repetitive fetch quests and the rewards typically aren’t worth it. While sidequests tend to be the main source of “ultimate” moves for several cast members, we didn’t feel like these were absolutely necessary because of how unbalanced combat felt in the first place. Should you succeed in completing the main story, you’ll unlock a New Game+ mode, but as we weren’t overly impressed with what the base game had to offer, we can’t imagine such a mode to salvage Dusk Diver 2’s overall gameplay experience.


We were initially very impressed with what Dusk Diver 2 seemingly had to offer but the more time we spent with the game, the more it disappointed us. It’s a shame because the potential is definitely there, buried beneath repetitive dungeon crawls, an underwhelming combat system, and visual performance issues. On the upside, the story was well written and the characters were likable enough to keep us engaged, but the overall blandness of the gameplay meant that we weren’t motivated to check out Dusk Diver 2’s New Game+. This is a game that you could consider on sale but it definitely isn’t worth it at full price.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Dusk Diver 2 - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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