It may seem obvious, but stealth games tend to live or die on their clarity. Not just that of your protagonist as they sink their blade into an enemy’s jugular, but of their systems, the rules that govern the whole experience. There’s nothing less enjoyable in a sneak-‘em-up than getting caught without knowing why, so we’re pleased to report that Aragami 2 is so transparent it’s almost invisible.
Every action you take is communicated through a razor-sharp art style with the ultimate effect that failure – i.e. being spotted – is always, to drop the cliché, entirely your fault. And you simply must avoid being spotted, lest you are thrown into Aragami 2’s weakest link; combat is clunky, clumsy, and entirely unenjoyable. Slash, block, parry – it’s less advanced than even the earliest Prince of Persia, and never satisfies even with unlockable upgrades.
Thankfully, the core stealth is spot-on. Thanks to the sheer lucidity of the environments, HUD, and your own expanding move set, it’s incredibly satisfying to plot your assassination of a target, theft of a mystical scroll, or simply to pass through an outpost completely undetected. You’ll need to balance your abilities with the stamina required to utilise them, which makes a number of different stealthy approaches equally rewarding.
You can tackle the game in multiplayer with up to three ninjas, which is fun to coordinate but lacks the atmosphere and challenge of solo missions. Structurally, Aragami 2 is a little repetitive with you taking on tasks from the hub before visiting the different locations, with many repeat visits, but we found these repetitions to be a good opportunity to practice new skills.
Ultimately, poor combat fails to sour the strong level and encounter design here that meshes beautifully with well-thought-out controls and plenty of mechanical variety. An impressive sequel, but perhaps lacking the purity of its predecessor.