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Reviews


 Windows Version
(7 / 10) Ain't Sweet Valley
by ExMortis on 8/31/2013 12:00:00 AM

Having never played the original Battle High, I decided to give the sequel a shot since resident FAB diehard The S voiced a few characters. Plus it's like two dollars or something. A fun, full-featured little game, I'd say it's worth three bucks at least, but it's not without issues.

BH2 has a sizable cast, and despite generally smallish movelists, they're all well differentiated. There are two punches and two kicks, a universal hop overhead, and a throw button--for my own personal taste I'd rather throws just be assigned to a hard attack.

Characters can use meter by canceling any attack (whether it hits or not) into a forward or back dash, which opens up feint as well as combo options. You can also airdash with meter, canceling or not. Each character has one super as well as a super mode ("elemental something-or-other"), the properties of which vary from student to student. Super armor, speed, magnetism, automatic projectiles, a Dark Phoenix-style alternate mode... plenty of variety.

For such a budget priced game, the feature list is staggering. Story mode, a well done combo challenge mode that remembers your progress, built-in achievements tied to unlockable palettes (16 costumes! I love costumes). There are bonus mini-games called "extracurriculars" which sort of mind bogglingly are restricted to their own mode. They should really appear as bonus stages in the main game. The Training mode is lacking an infinite meter option so Challenge mode ends up suiting the purpose better, although you can turn on hitboxes in Training.

The game plays conservatively, relying on links and two-in-ones for combos rather than gatlings or chains. Juggling is fairly generous, however. The combination of smallish sprites and large widescreen playing field clashes with characters' arsenals; there's no valid gameplay reason for that much distance. Projectiles are on the slow/bad side across the board and it takes like five and a half dashes to cross the whole screen. Adding to the conservative feeling, the cast was definitely balanced on the safe side; although everyone has their own gimmick, none of them go totally nuts with it. What really saves BH2 from underpowered mediocrity for me, though, is the ability to cancel specials into other specials on hit. You can do some interesting stuff with that.

Visually the game is solid, with clean illustrations and competent if not adventurous backgrounds. The sprites are well enough animated and, I dunno, a few notches above the average doujin or small studio project. Voices are OK, but of uneven quality. They do serve to round out the characters, though. Music is... music exists. It's milquetoast.

My biggest issue with the game (and I'm playing the PC version) is significant slowdown for no apparent reason and for extended periods of time. The game will sometimes slow to, say, 75% speed and stay that way for a round or more. Judging by Desura comments, at least one other person besides me suffers from this, but not everyone does, so who the hell knows. A plus on the technical side is the game supports my two-dualshocks-through-chinese-adapter setup, which is more than most commercial games can boast.

Overall, a cool little package with plenty of content for the price. I look forward to what Pointfive comes out with in the future.


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