Review: Makeruna! Makendo 2 for PS3, PSP, PS Vita

Sections: 2D, Consoles, Developers, Exclusives, Fighting, Game-Companies, Genres, Handhelds, Originals, PS3, PSP & PSPgo, Publishers, Reviews, Vita

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Title: Makeruna! Makendo2
Price: $5.99
System(s): PS Vita (Also on PS3, PSP)
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher (Developer): Gungho Online Entertainment America (Fill-In Cafe)
ESRB Rating: N/A, I’d say it’s probably good for all ages, or at most ages 10 and up.

Makeruna! Makendo 2 is your typical, 2D Japanese fighter. This means you have a cast of 9 crazy characters whose names all start with “Ma” and have really weird day jobs when they’re not beating each other up. It’s a sequel to Makeruna! Makendo/Kendo Rage, a SNES game about a girl who likes kendo and is called upon by a paranormal investigator to fight supernatural creatures invading the town. This makes her into the magical girl Makendo. Makeruna! Makendo 2 is pretty different, being a fighting game and all, but then again a zombie does show up.

Pick out a name that starts with Ma- and get in the ring!

Makeruna! Makendo 2 is kind of odd, but I think I can help make things a little clearer. This is pretty unusual, but I’ll try and explain as best I can. There are various characters whose names all start with the character “Ma” which get together to fight one another. Each one wants to attempt to be the strongest and best. There are event scenes between each match, but it’s okay if you don’t understand them. All you really need to know is Makendo is a magical girl who’s been tasked with defeating bad guys around town. She and Masoccer, Makkey, Madonna, Maririn, Macho, Makenka, Makenro and Makenpo have all gotten together to fight each other for various reasons. Also, Makkey is a zombie dancer/comedian/clown.

If you’ve every played any 2D fighting game before, you’ll know how to play Makeruna! Makendo 2. Players move characters with the D-pad, perform standard attacks with the action buttons and use button press combinations to unleash special attacks and magic attacks. You have to win two rounds to proceed to the next match. If you have enough magic and the situation is right, you can also perform special ultimate attacks that do extra damage. Plus, it’s easy to understand despite being a PS1 Import, as menu options are in English and the event scenes in the story mode are the only moments where players face walls of text.

You’ll never win if you don’t level up

I want to start by explaining that you’ll probably never win the first round of your first Makeruna! Makendo 2 match. That’s because the characters actually level up while they fight. Landing hits earns experience, which increases your character’s hit points, magic and I’m guessing strength as well since it seemed my attacks did more damage as my characters leveled up. This leveling takes place both during a match and after a win, and if all goes well, a character should be around level 15 by the third match. It’s an interesting mechanic that rewards players for being aggressive and one of the few things that really makes Makeruna! Makendo 2 stand out.

The other selling point are the characters themselves. The sprite art looks really good and every character is pretty detailed. They look like they’ve stepped straight out of an 80’s anime cartoon, which is never a bad thing. Especially since, in this case, they’ve stepped over the “crazy” line allowing us to wonder why a ballerina named Madonna fighting a tennis dude named Makenro. The backgrounds are pretty detailed as well, with each character getting his or her own home stage that takes the fight to places like a soccer field.

Still, those two positives can’t really outweigh the fact that everything else about Makeruna! Makendo 2 is ordinary and banal. Each character doesn’t have very many special moves, for example, with each having three special moves, two magic spells and one super attack. Not to mention the story mode isn’t all that engaging. You go through the same lineup in the same order in the Story mode. The computer AI is adequate, but it isn’t terribly challenging. I had the feeling that after going through the story mode twice and playing a few rounds with a friend, I’d done everything there was to do. It’s a really disappointing feeling to have, especially since you hope fighting games have at least some staying power.

Just another 2D fighter

I’ll be frank, I wasn’t wow-ed by Makeruna! Makendo 2. It’s a good game, but then so are a number of other 2D, Japanese fighters. While the characters are pretty neat and I liked the leveling system, nothing else really stood out. People who collect PS1 Imports or are looking for a retro fighter to add to their lineup of games should look into Makeruna! Makendo 2, but a classic SNK or Capcom fighter would be a better choice. Makeruna! Makendo 2 doesn’t have what it takes to hold players’ attention for more than a handful of sittings.

Site [Makeruna! Makendo2]

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  • NumberoneSone

    Nice 2D fighting with leveling system sounds great!