Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Kanketsu Hen has you pick up right where you left off in Shutsudou Hen. A gargantuan head of stone and his malevolent henchwomen must be stopped in their imperialistic tracks, and the one way you can put an end to their evil antics is by beating the lot of 'em at mahjong. Once again, points that can be spent on techniques to turn a hand in your favor accrue as you tally victories.
You'll find your mahjong-match opponents here to be keener and tougher than the minor-leaguers you encountered in Shutsudou Hen. Particularly talented is the aforementioned hard-head of terror.
There's a good bit of work to do before you can square off with that ill-mannered fellow, though. Shutsudou Hen fans will begin play with a sense of anticipation, as it's clear from the start that the major villains introduced in Jantei 2's opening half will finally have to be confronted and dealt with.
Indeed, emphasis is placed on action right from the get-go; there isn't any "be a good guy and help some whiny kids" prologue-type fodder to sit through this time. Kanketsu Hen is the game's battle-heavy chapter--villains make their moves, and the hero responds by stepping up and... getting his ass kicked repeatedly.
There isn't much you can do to aid the luckless lad during the pre-mahjong-match scenes of battery. While options as to actions to be taken are occasionally offered in Shutsudou Hen, Kanketsu asks that you simply sit back and enjoy the show. As the choices players make in Shutsudou are largely inconsequential, this is actually a case of improvement via omission.
For-the-better changes were also made in the department of visuals. The borders housing animated sequences are not as austere this time around, and there aren't quite as many awkward-looking motions and sketches to cringe at--though there are still bits of graphical goofiness to be observed.
Aside from the punching-bag-of-a-protagonist, the game's graceless good guys don't receive as much on-air time as they do in Shutsudou. Kanketsu's cameraman concentrates instead on providing as many naughty looks at the evil girls as he can. Shots of panties and bare skin abound, though in relative dirty-PCE-game terms things never become all that visually perverse.
Things never become dull or irritating either, as Kanketsu Hen resolves the Jantei 2 story in satisfying fashion. Most PCE mahjong games are quite similar to one another mechanically; it's typically context that separates the good from the unappealing. Jantei 2's action, drama, and interesting characters enable it to claim a spot among the worthwhile ones.