Battle Arena Toshinden, one of the PlayStation's first and hottest selling titles, has spawned a sequel, the first for the US PlayStation. While not a spectacular fighting game, BAT2 offers many new and exciting elements to the fighting game genre.
Graphically, BAT2 is not very different from its predecessor. Great 3-D characters use spectacular magical moves on their opponents. This time, however, the backgrounds are much worse than Battle Arena Toshinden. They look like cardboard cutouts, as opposed to the fantastic backgrounds of the original. Overall, the graphical changes made for Toshinden 2 are not too much of an improvent over the original Toshinden.
In comparison to Battle Arena Toshinden, the background music in this game is awful. Bland, uninspired music sharply contrasts with the catchy, vibrant tunes of the original. The voices are a point of controversy, since the original voices were kept in the US release. Overall, I don't like how the voice samples trail off so that the last few words are unintelligible, regardless of whether they're in Japanese or not.
This game is a sad rehash of the original Battle Arena Toshinden, with an overdrive bar added to the bottom of the screen which allows the players to execute super "overdrive" moves when the bar is charged. Bottom line: been there, done that.
The gameplay in Battle Arena Toshinden 2 is very similar to the Street Fighter engine. A nice touch is the ability to configure special moves to the top four shoulder buttons. The controversial desperation moves still exist, and they can still be done an infinite number of times once the player's life energy is lowered to blinking red. Special moves are primarily done in the quarter circle forward and dragon punch fashion, which is clearly reminiscent of Street Fighter.
Despite its shortcomings, Battle Arena Toshinden 2 is still fun to play. Not a must buy, but everyone should definitely rent it.