Aragami 2 Hands-On: Become One with the Shadows or Just Go Full Sekiro

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If you played the original Aragami, then you might be surprised to learn that in Aragami 2 you can forsake stealth altogether. That’s right — where the first game was so dedicated to stealth that outright combat was an almost guaranteed death, its follow-up just handed me a katana and said “good luck.” Don’t get me wrong: Aragami 2 is still a stealth game at heart with lots of incentives to stick to the shadows, but when I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar, killing every witness seemed to do the trick just fine. Add in the planned 3-player co-op and Aragami’s sequel looks like it will be leaning a lot more heavily on the “action” part of “stealth-action.”

After 3+ hours with Aragami 2, I feel confident saying that it’s shaping up to be an ambitious follow-up to a cult classic that puts stealth and using darkness to your advantage front and center. Most of my time was spent lurking in the shadows, taking out enemies from the cover of dark, and teleporting from place-to-place in an effort to accomplish my goals unseen.

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But Aragami 2 also introduces an all-new combat system that has stamina meters, guard breaks, parrying, and finishers — all things you find in more action-focused games like Sekiro or Ghost of Tsushima. It’s pretty crazy how feasible combat is as a viable option too! There were plenty of times where I was caught with my pants down in a situation that would have meant “game over” in Aragami 1, but now I was able to engage in some quick swordplay to eliminate anyone who stood in my way.

It’s a far cry from the original Aragami, where being sneaky was the only path to success.

To be clear, it’s not exactly advisable to charge headlong swinging your katana around. Enemies gang up on you, use ranged attacks, and knock the snot out of you once you run out of stamina. You can die very quickly if you lack skill. But it’s not impossible to complete a lot of levels without even trying to hide. In fact, sometimes I found myself in an area with a few enemies that might take a minute or two to pick off, so rather than do that I’d just openly engage them to finish things quickly. It’s a far cry from the original Aragami where being sneaky was the only path to success. And although all of my time with Aragami 2 was solo, I can only imagine how much more viable open combat will be when playing on a team of 3 in co-op.

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This philosophical shift can be seen in other areas too, like how light sources no longer sapped me of strength like I was a vampire, and now I could teleport to ledges even if they weren’t covered in darkness. The importance of darkness and light in general has been turned way down in Aragami 2, as darkness now only really helps you avoid notice from the guards — a change I’m not entirely sure I’m happy about.

Light sources no longer sapped me of strength like I was a vampire.

Combat isn’t the only thing Aragami 2 adds either. As I went on my murderous missions under the cover of night, I now had tons of more collectibles to find, including money which could be gathered and spent on an all-new gear system that tweaked my character’s stats to better match my playstyle. For example, I could reduce the amount of protection I received from armor in order to be harder to spot in stealth. But mostly I just spent all my money on equipment to try and make my guy look like Shredder from Ninja Turtles. No regrets!

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I only got a small look at Aragami 2, but it’s already clear that the sequel is trying a lot of new things that make it play and feel like a very different game.

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