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Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors Review

When you think of Hell you probably think of fires raging, demons ripping people to shreds, and an incredible amount of suffering, right? That’s not the case with Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors. In this journey, you play as a Program Instructor, who is tasked with helping seven beautiful girls get a second chance at life through “reformation.” This is, of course, met with many different challenges from an antagonizing pest that is constantly slowing down your progress by making you go through trials and tribulations in attempt to keep you in Hell forever.

From the beginning of the game you have access to five of the seven characters, but can only use four during battle. The battles start off pretty simplistic due to the lack of skills, but eventually get much more involved with combo attacks, skill attacks, group heals, and support skills. You earn these skills by “motivating” the girls using bondage style mini-games such as “Scrubby Scrub", "Spanking X" and "Pinch the Balls” which I will get to later.

Once you have a few skills under your belt and you start fighting stronger enemies, the game really begins. During fights each girl has an attack, heal, or support option. These options are mostly situational, so if you have a lot of magic power or MP, you’ll most likely be forced to attack using a skill. Also, if your characters are low on health, your healer or healers will get a healing prompt. The game definitely knows what situation you are in, which makes the battle system a lot of fun. There are a few ways that you can re-randomize the skills as well, just in case you don’t like the hand you were dealt. It’s always nice when a game attempts to change up the turn-based fighting, but it’s even better when the game nails a unique design. 

As I mentioned before, you use mini-games unlock new skills. Each mini-game has four levels and after each completed level you get to choose one of two skills. These mini-games use the in-game currency, CM, so you can’t just play them whenever you want, but as long as you’re doing well you can get a new skill every 2-3 attempts. Now I’ve played a few games with fan service and I feel that there is no reason to make a big deal about them, but the one mini-game that I felt was a little odd was "Shocking Bondage." The other mini-games aren’t really meant to inflict pain, although I really have no idea what is actually happening in “Pinch the Balls", but this one does and I don’t know why. You may have heard about the western version’s censorship, but after watching a few videos and doing some research, I would say that the censorship is being blown way out of proportion. There are only a few things that changed and the most noticeable one is the sounds that the girls make while actively playing one of the mini-games. There is also supposed to be a reduction in restraints, but when you think “censorship” you imagine something that is much more explicit and that’s not really the case here. So if you’re in the mood to protest the game because we aren’t getting the “real” version or something along those lines, I’d have to say that the fight you’re putting up is a lot of effort for something that really doesn’t change your experience. With all of that being said, I do have an issue with how the mini-games and the story are somewhat disconnected.

Criminal Girls 2 is all about facing your demons and getting a second chance at life. The girls start off timid, nervous, and reluctant, but as the story progresses they become powerful and confident. So my issue lies in the fact that you have the development of strong girls only to shock, pinch, and scrub them. There is even one scene when one of the girls appears to have a tear on her cheek. I’m not even saying that the motivational games are a problem, but there is definitely a better way to work them into the story. Maybe next time the motivational tactics can unleash some sort of direct ability from them that makes a bit more sense. I’m not a game designer by any means, and I trust NIS, but there has to be a way to incorporate these activities in a more seamless way. Are you ready to get back to the gameplay? Me too!

As you traverse through Hell you find quite a lot of landscapes. There’s Bloody Hell, which features big stuffed animals (or real animals) with severed heads and blood everywhere, Sunken Memories which is dark and has school / home feel to it, Maze Hell which has butterflies and flowers everywhere and a few more. The changes in scenery make it a lot easier to traverse through, compared to a game which is just fire and demons over and over. I really enjoyed the different levels and always looked forward to see what the next one held. 

There are also plenty of enemies in the game and the only time you really feel like you’re seeing the same enemy over and over is when you’re grinding. This is a nice touch, because there are a lot of games with fan service that rely on the sexuality of characters to propel them through the story. There are also many interactions between the characters that show fantastic character development. You really feel like you’re learning a lot about the girls and you begin rooting for them. 

Overall Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is a JRPG that with many upsides. I do wish that the mini-games were more connected to the story and who knows, maybe we will see that in Criminal Girls 3. If you’re looking for a new JRPG to play then Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors should definitely be on your radar. I mean, there’s no doubt that this is the sexiest journey through Hell you’ll ever take!

4 out of 5 stars 

Thank you to NIS for providing the code!

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