This was actually not the game I ordered, there was a mixup
at Play-asia. I ordered Chaos Field but
got Psyvariar 2 instead. Psyvariar 2 is
a more expensive and generally more liked game than Choas
Field, so I stuck with it. I am not a fan of the shooter
genre, but I play top-down shooters with some regularity.
This game is one of the later Dreamcast games; it was released
in early 2004. It’s a sequel to Psyvariar for
the Playstation 2 (which I never played). The game is very
import friendly, the only Japanese text you’ll ever
see is on the back of the box and in the instruction manual.
Psyvariar 2 looks surprisingly good, much better
than Chaos Field and almost as good as Ikaruga.
The first time I played, I was amazed of the beauty of the
backgrounds, the explosions and 3D-models. The game is entirely
in 3D, but plays just like a 2D-shooter. After a few games
the graphics do become a bit old, the game is just too short
to impress for long, graphics wise. When you’ve seen
the same background over and over for a dozen times it loses
its beauty. There is some slowdown in the game, but it’s
minimal and by no means troublesome.
The game has OK sound effects; a generic shooting sound, but
some nice explosions and no further bells and whistles. The
music is a lot better, Psyvariar 2 features quite strong techno
music which suits the game really well. I’m not really
a techno-man myself, but I’m sure almost everybody will
like it in this game. I like to play the game with the volume
really high, it really immerges you in the excitement of the
game. The music is not perfect though, one level sounds unimpressive
and the music just before the boss in level 1 just doesn’t
sound right. Oh well, there is always something to complain
up for a game of Mikado?
The gameplay is all about the buzz-system.
The key to getting a high score and surviving the whole game
is to buzz, meaning to scrape against the enemy bullets.
Try not to get hit, but to dodge the bullets only by a millimetre,
the buzz meter will fill up and after a while you’ll
become invincible for a very short time. By buzzing often
and clever use of the time you are invincible, you should
be able to complete the game with some ease. This system is
kind of confusing though; it's hard to see whether you can
be hit or not and trying to get close to bullets can be very
confusing.. especially if there are lots of bullets on-screen
(happens very often). The game can be too fast and chaotic
for some, but despite this, Psyvariar 2 is not overly hard.
With the continue option enabled the player can go on as long
as he or she likes, but even with the continue option off
the game isn’t very difficult to complete, because of
the special difficulty system. If you’re doing good,
the game becomes
a bit harder the next level, if you’re having trouble,
the game becomes easier the next level. Psyvariar has short
levels, each with a boss on the end. The levels themselves
are mostly easy, it's the bosses that are the real troublesome
foes. Try to memorise the shooting patterns of the bosses
to defeat them all. One thing that confused me is that the
final boss actually is much weaker than the one before.. isn’t
the last one supposed to be the strongest? The gameplay is
easy enough to pick up for beginners, but deep enough for
The game is short, even for the genre. Psyvariar
2 has 5 normal levels with the prelude level excluded.
I know, this sort of game shouldn’t be too long, it’s
all about getting high scores. Still, the game could use some
unlockables or a two player mode. It’s just a straight
NAOMI arcade port with nothing added in the home version.
The replay value is high enough for hardcore shooter fans,
but for the more casual shooter players something more is
desired. Most players will get bored in a few hours. Ask yourself
this question: Am I willing to play the same game over and
over just for higher scores? If not, this game is not for
the colour of carnage..
Psyvariar 2 is a nice shooter and
a welcome Dreamcast release. It's recommended for shooter
fans, but I’m sure that more casual players will also
enjoy it while it lasts. The price is still quite high (about
60 US$), but it's worth it if you are willing to give the
little Japanese game a chance. Psyvariar 2 could
have used some added extra’s and a good 2 player mode
though, the lack of it lets the game down. A game that fails
to entertain the average player for more than a few hours
is no classic in my opinion.