Rengoku 2: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N.
You never really know what to expect from the sequel to a bad game. Sometimes developers listen to their audience and work on fixing everything that was wrong with the first title. Other times developers put on their blinders and forge ahead with the same, broken formula. Rengoku 2: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N. leans towards the latter of these two scenarios
Rengoku's story takes place inside the hellish Rengoku tower, where the immortal robots know as Autonomous Dueling Armed Machines (ADAM) have been sealed away to fight for all eternity. Your ascent through the tower is prompted when you begin to question your existence. The story features number of links to Dante's Divine Comedy but this is unfortunately more interesting in theory then in practice due to the very sparse dialog.
A strong point of Rengoku is the heavy customization you can do to your character. Throughout the tower you'll find a myriad of weapons and upgrades which you'll actually use to replace body parts. Equipping a revolver in your head slot results in a character H.R. Giger might have dreamt up.
Rengoku's suffers from some serious pacing problems. You'll spend almost all of your time wandering from room to room of the mazelike tower trying to unlock the next floor. This invariably requires you to kill nearly everything on the level which makes the ascent feel like more of a grind then it should. The combat in Rengoku is functional, but it's hamstrung by some less then tight controls which combine with the fact that you're often outgunned to lead to some really frustrating deaths. Still, the constant search for better parts and the implementation of those parts in battle can be satisfying. A multiplayer mode lends some more value to the game, but it lacks the customization available in the single player.
Rengoku's presentation doesn't do much to shake the feeling that the whole game is a dungeon crawl. While there have been some improvements over last year's game, the environments still look repetitive and bland. Even the robots which technically look really bizarre up close tend to look generic at combat distances. The sound effects are similarly week and undistinguished.
It's a shame that there wasn't more effort made to improve upon the original Rengoku. As it stands, Rengoku 2 is only marginally better then its predecessor and still suffers from many of the exact same flaws that made the first game so dismal.