|Battle Arena Toshinden 2|
|Publisher||Arcade: Capcom - PlayStation: (Japan) Takara / (NA) Playmates Interactive Entertainment - PC: THQ|
|Platform||Arcade, PlayStation, Windows '95, Sega Saturn (URA)|
|Release date||Arcade: November 24, 1995 - PlayStation: (Japan) December 29, 1995 / (World) May 23, 1996 - Windows '95: 1996 - Saturn: September 27, 1996|
|Mode||Single player, multiplayer|
Battle Arena Toshinden 2 (闘神伝2) is a weapon based 3D fighting game developed by Tamsoft. It was released for the arcades by Capcom, followed by ports to the PlayStation and PC. It is the sequel to Battle Arena Toshinden, and was a departure in that it was developed for the arcades first, where as the original had been console exclusive.
An enhanced port/exclusive adaptation named Battle Arena Toshinden URA was released in 1996 for the Sega Saturn.
The core gameplay remains unchanged from the original Battle Arena Toshinden, but the game does include a simple combo system. The 3D movement was also altered to create slightly better balance in battle; differentiating from the first game, dodge rolling will no longer make the character temporarily immune to the opponent's attack (in the first game, it was possible for a character to dodge straight through even the most deadly attacks). As in the first game, a player falling out of the ring will result in a ring out, only this time, if both players fall out of the ring at the same time, the one who falls out last will be declared the winner.
Following the discovery of his treachery, Gaia has been branded a traitor and marked for death by Uranus and Master, the respective leaders of the Secret Society, who hold another Battle Arena Toshinden tournament in order to lure him out so that he can be swiftly eliminated by them and their loyal forces. In a complete state of personal desperation, Gaia turns to the previous tournament's fighters for help in having to overthrow his former allies, unaware that the entire situation is a deadly trap/scheme orchestrated by Uranus as she personally seeks to eliminate all who stands in her ambitious way of overthrowing Master and taking the Secret Society for herself.
As in the previous tournament, Eiji Shinjo advances to the finals and manages to defeat both Uranus and Master in battle, and even though he is still unable to locate his long-lost older brother Sho, a series of clues are left behind that may lead Eiji to Sho from within the near future. With the deaths of both Uranus and Master, it seems that the Secret Society has been crushed once and for all. However, unbeknownst to the participants, the tournament has secretly been observed through the eyes of the mysterious Vermilion, an agent for the Secret Society's long-time rival criminal group, the Organization, who start to put their own plan for the fighters in motion.
- Tracy - A notorious New York police officer who likes to fight against criminals with a reckless manner. She is assigned to look into the activities of the Secret Society.
- Chaos - An executive of the Secret Society who unexpectedly lost his memories and went completely insane. He is given the orders to eliminate the organization's traitor Gaia.
- Uranus - A beautiful angel-esque woman who happens to be the second-in-command of the Secret Society. She seeks to overthrow the organization's current leader so that she can take total and absolute control of the Secret Society. She serves as the sub-boss of the game.
- Master - A mysterious yet powerful female psychic who leads the Secret Society and seeks to destroy anything that stands in the organization's way of world domination. She serves as the final boss of the game.
- Vermilion - An unknown gunfighter who infiltrates the tournament for a shrouded agenda. He is a secret boss in both Battle Arena Toshinden 2 and Toshinden URA.
A special edition of Toshinden 2, named Battle Arena Toshinden 2 Plus was later released only in Japan for the PlayStation on The Best range (equivalent to the Greatest Hits and Platinum ranges in North America and Europe). It features enhanced graphics, improved control and tweaked CPU AI. It also makes some balancing tweaks to the characters' attacks. An option to save results, option settings and unlocked characters to a memory card was also added.
Toshinden 2 was ported to the PC. It is a Windows port of the PlayStation version with arcade graphical fidelity, the ability to play the game in higher resolutions and some additional options, such as the ability to remap all the controls (the PlayStation version only allows the remapping of the shoulder buttons). Unlike the original PlayStation port, it also saves unlocked characters, settings and results. However, the introductory movie was removed.
In reviews for Battle Arena Toshinden 2, critics generally commented that the game is good but shows little improvement over its predecessor and fails to measure up to marketplace competitors like Virtua Fighter 2 and Tekken 2. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly had a more positive reaction than most, praising the graphics and the new character Vermillion, though they did remark that the game was not as good as Virtua Fighter 2. A reviewer for Next Generation similarly said that though Battle Arena Toshinden 2 addresses many of the complaints made about the original game and has impressive light-sourcing effects, backgrounds, and overdrive super moves, it still fails to measure up to Virtua Fighter 2: "The depth of gameplay and complexity of the strategy isn't there, and the speed and smoothness of VF2 far outweighs Toshinden 2's light-sourcing and moving backgrounds. ... The initial 'wow' of the first Toshinden ... is gone and what's left is a fighting game that isn't deep, fast, or balanced enough to compete with the best." The magazine's later review of the arcade version was still less enthusiastic. The reviewer contended that the Toshinden series is not well-suited to the arcade environment, and criticized the fact that the arcade version is near-identical to the PlayStation version, since standards are higher in arcades.
Maximum's Rich Leadbetter argued that the changes from the original game, particularly the new characters Chaos and Vermillion, made the game better, but also felt that they were insufficient, particularly in light of the graphical advances PlayStation games had made since the original Toshinden was released. He concluded by advising PlayStation owners to wait for Tekken 2 instead. Major Mike of GamePro similarly described the game as "more of the same." While he stated the graphics are better than the first game, he derided the game's lack of intelligent fighting technique, particularly that combos are very limited and the fights essentially boil down to trading special attacks. IGN stated that the game's animations were not very smooth and the camera made gameplay challenging. Final comments on the game stated that although the game wasn't necessarily bad, it wasn't exactly outstanding either.