Rengoku II: Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N. review

  • Great-looking androids
  • The boss enemies' savagery
  • Absurdly dangerous guns
  • The combat system
  • The frustration of cheap kills
  • Boredom between frustrations

Due to an error, this review was originally posted with a score of 6, instead of the score assigned by the author. We have changed the article to reflect the correct score. The text is unchanged. We regret this error.

There's no reason to think that Rengoku II would be good. The original game was an atrocity. But hope lived because there is so much potential for fun in the basic idea of the series. Futuristic androids (A.D.A.M.s) trapped in eternal battle in a tower representing the seven deadly sins for the amusement of the humans who made and then abandoned them? Intrinsically, this is a neat idea.

When you find out the androids can take the guns, blades, flamethrowers and other weapons of horrific destruction and make them part of their bodies, it sounds even better. The robot designs evoke a horrifying but stylish vision of robots and technology.

Unfortunately, all of that isn't enough - just like it wasn't enough for the first game. Being able to make your head an axe, or your chest a revolver with arms, doesn’t make up for not being able to really use those weapons effectively. The combat demands smooth transitions from attack to attack to create the combos you need to survive, but the weapons don't actually allow for those smooth combos. It's usually physically impossible to excel in combat.

Your death means leaving all of your equipped weaponry where you died, and being sent back to the beginning of the tower. Getting to your body means teleporting back to the fatal floor and fighting back through it with whatever subpar weapons you had in storage. Plan on dying again on these corpse runs, as you run into the enemies that killed you earlier - this time while you have B-list weapons. Once you finally have your A-game weapons back, you have to find an equipment station. In the far future it's really hard to equip items, apparently, because you can't do it on the fly. So, plan on dying even more - while you desperately try to get ready for battle once again.

Another infuriating oddity is that every weapon has limited uses, even items such as swords. Once your sword has run out of ammo - yes, a loaded sword - you can't just swap it for a working sword without running to an equipment station or getting a lucky power up.

In the end, Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N.'s gravest flaw is its beat-for-beat recreation of the original game's many problems. None of these issues are new, and they haven't been improved in any notable way since the first game. We're asking you nicely, Konami: Please stop releasing Rengoku games.

More Info

Available Platforms: PSP
Genre: Fighting
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Hudson Soft
Franchise: Rengoku
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Fantasy Violence

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