Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters Is A Must-Buy For Pokémon Fans

8.5
  • 3DS
  • RPG
yokai watch 2
Yo-Kai watch 2: Psychic Specters Nintendo

Yokai are an entirely Japanese concept – they’re spirits that are naked to the human eye, but affect nearly every portion of our live. The Yo-Kai Watch franchise takes these mythical phantoms and turns them into a Pokémon-esque collecting experience. Yo-Kai Watch 2 is an underrated RPG that American audiences may find difficult to embrace, but if you’ve ever traveled around Johto, Kanto, Sinnoh or Alola, you really need to give this game a chance.

The newest edition of the franchise, Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters, just hit U.S. shores. It joins Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls and Bony Spirits as its equivalent to Pokémon Yellow/Crystal/Emerald. When I first got Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls earlier this year, I became obsessed. On my subway rides, I caught ghouls with farting faces and sweaty bellies that you can take into battle and train. They are intentionally ridiculous, and that’s what makes them so awesome. If you’ve got hunger pains out of nowhere, it could be Hungramps sitting on your shoulder, or if you’re feeling angry, Desmerelda might be walking by. It’s this creative world that allows the game to feel inhabited all of the time. Your Yo-Kai Watch allows you to reveal these creatures sitting under trucks or on top of lamp posts, which can be friendly or are ready to attack.

Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters does lose a bit of its charm in translation, but that didn’t bother me. Jokes about regional mascots and Japanese prayer rituals don’t really make sense, especially after the localization team got their hands on it. In the west, our ghosts are either wailing, haunting a house or just plain miserable. Yokai are the spirits of the deceased, but they don’t all have to be spooky rejects from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

The combat is where Yo-Kai Watch 2 really shines. You pick a team of six Yokai arranged on a circle, with three in combat at all times. You can rotate the attacking Yokai with the touch pad or right and left bumpers, which enables strategic planning in real-time. Alongside basic attacks and abilities, each Yokai has a “Soultimate” that can be released when its soul meter is fully charged. However, the Soultimate is only activated after a small minigame is completed on the touchpad. There are buffs and debuffs, known as inspirits and despirits, which can also be broken by completing a task on the touchpad. Battles are fully immersive – you can’t just press the “A” button and come out the victor.

Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters does add a few unique features that the Pokémon games could have really used. If you have a save from Fleshy Souls or Bony Spirits , you can port all your progress over to the new game. This will allow you to use your strong team to take on some of the newly added end-game content. I would love to tell you all about this extra content, but after playing for 20 hours, I’m still stuck on the final boss.

If you’re new to the Yo-Kai universe, I highly recommend buying Psychic Specters because it’s the definitive version. Once you get the hang of the combat and get a grasp on what a Yokai actually is, you’ll have trouble turning your 3DS off. You may also start scanning QR codes at Piggleston Bank to unlock even rarer Yokai, like fruit versions of Jibanyan, the Pikachu of the franchise. If you’ve already beat Fleshy Souls or Bony Spirits and don’t care for any of the new content, you can skip Psychic Specters without feeling to bad.

Yo-Kai Watch 2 isn’t Pokémon, but if you are looking for a monster collecting game that isn’t freemium garbage for your phone, you need to pick up Psychic Specters. The game deserves to be more popular in America, but it’s difficult to get any respect when the game is paired alongside a god awful television show.

  • RPG
  • 3DS
8.5
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