Review by DJellybean

"Though Giga Wing 2 is a graphical and musical enhancement over the original, it simply doesn't deliver quite like the original."

Giga Wing was itself a pretty unique shooter, and what made it more unique was the use of the Reflect Force that reflected shots back at enemies. Giga Wing 2 is of the same premise, but there is noticable improvements in the visual and audio area. However, Giga Wing 2 somehow lost its flare along the way.

Graphically, Giga Wing 2 is an improvement over the original. Gone are the Street Fighter 2 style graphics and in are the polygonal graphics and pre-rendered backgrounds played on the Naomi board. Despite the graphical improvements, there is still noticable slowdown, mainly when you reflect about 100 shots or when the screen is filled with a ton of small flying enemies. The lighting effects and explosions come out nicely and are pure eye candy as much of the animation for these effects are colorful and usually fill up an entire screen. However, because the game is in 3-D, the game feels a little slower than the last game, though bullets seem to travel a bit faster. More animated and bright 2-D is probably what this game should have been, graphically at least.

Despite orchestrated music, the overall quality of the tracks are poor and uninspired. Much of the music in the game consists nothing more than simply rehashes of cello/organ pieces that lack motivation and inspiration behind them. It never quite fit the game well because the game is supposed to be fast paced and filled with action, but the music is rather subdued as well as the sound effects. There isn't an option to change the volume of the music or sound, so you're stuck with rather bland orchestrated music and muffled sound.

Giga Wing 2 offers some decent replay value, by adding score attack mode and 4 player simultaneous play, but shooters often do not get many extras because of the genre that they are. Score attack mode allows the player to obtain hundreds of trillions of points to even a few 10's of quintillion of points. There is a gallery option, but even then the artwork isn't much to be admired upon. The only redeeming value in replaying the game is for points.

Gameplay itself seems to have taken a step backwards. Despite the graphical enhancements, it just barely feels like a shooter anymore. The concepts from the last game are still here, but the Reflect Force has a new option in the Reflect Laser. This option will allow the player to collect all the shots and fire them back at every target on the screen, with the strength of the shots determined by the number of enemy fire that is absorbed. The reflect barrier is the same as before, you reflect back shots at opponents, but unlike the Reflect Laser, this option doesn't allow a limit to be shot back at opponents...making the laser essentially useless.

The game also features 5 planes from the previous game, these planes have been slightly altered, but nonetheless are pretty much the same as in the previous game. Their bomb effects are the same as the pilot who uses their own respective planes. Every plane in the game varies in their total attributes, with one having more firepower while another being quicker. A nice feature about the game is that it allows one player to control 4 planes at once. With this 4-player feature, a player selects either 4 of the same plane or mix and match and all 4 planes form a diamond of 4 planes that acts like a larger plane, but you still have 4x the number of bombs at your disposal. If you happen to use 4 Porschka-Dash, the game slows down incredibly as 40 heat seeking missiles come out at once.

Like the previous game, slowdown is a welcomed addition because it allows the player more time to dodge enemy fire. However, the game doesn't have as much slowdown as the previous game...which is good depending on the player. The bullets in this game themselves are a bit harder to dodge because bosses now have much more speed in their firepower. Sometimes it's impossible to dodge and you are forced to use a bomb or take the bullet.

The scoring system is a bit different this time, as boss break no longer factors into the scoring. New to the game are vulcannons. Vulcannons are score multipliers that are like the points icons that result from downed enemy ships, but they come in abundance and can only be activated if the screen fills up with enough points icons. The special effects of this is quite pleasing, but the main problem with it is that it tends to hide enemy fire.

The storyline in the game is rather simple, but it's not nearly as varied as the last game as a combination of different characters or single characters resulted in different quotes. Every character in the game goes through pretty much the same quotes, regardless of who you pair up against, and there is no unique ending for each character. This isn't much of a gripe because the storyline has never been important in shooters anyways.

Overall: 7/10
The game itself really lacked something from the previous game. Whether it was the bland music, the slow gameplay, or the fact that there is no possible way to dodge boss fire, the game simply isn't as good as the last game. What hurts even more is that there wasn't enough to separate this game from GW, instead the game was a step-down from the previous game. The musical scores are unimpressive and lack of extras makes this hardly a purchase. However, if you haven't played the first GW, this is a title worth picking up, just don't expect it to be the best shooter ever.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 07/19/04

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