Game Title: Asdivine Hearts II
Company: EXE Creates, KEMCO
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 4 – 6.5 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 116 MB

Out of all of the RPGs EXE Creates has made, Asdivine Hearts is the one that’s left the biggest impact on me. I played it on both the PS Vita and Nintendo Switch, and I absolutely loved it, from its characters and its world to its plethora of content in comparison with other games they’ve made.

Asdivine Hearts did so well for them that they were able to make a franchise out of the Asdivine name. There was Asdivine Dios and then there was a numbered sequel that covered almost the same entire cast from the first Asdivine Hearts. I was tempted and even downloaded the direct sequel to my phone, but never played it, in the hopes that AH2 would make its way to handheld consoles for me to play and cover.

Of course, those hopes were answered by the gaming gods, as Asdivine Hearts’ sequel has been released on virtually all current platforms, including handhelds. So, here is my review of Asdivine Hearts II for the NIntendo Switch!

Story

hearts 2 - story

2 years have passed since the events of Asdivine Hearts (this game follows AH1’s True Ending route), when Zack and co. are summoned to Gutenberg Castle by the Light Deity. Because one of the parallel worlds being watched over is having a magical crisis, they join the Light Deity through a portal to that world to figure out what happened and resolve the crisis and bring back balance to both that world and Asdivine.

The story of AH2 fits with the first game, but it often feels like it doesn’t know where it’s going with its plot. There are 3 different points where it feels like the game is coming to a conclusion, and it doesn’t. You have an arc about a world all leading up to a “final” boss that has a good “this is the final boss” feel, but the game just doesn’t end and keeps going onto a new arc with a new enemy.

The other issue I have with its story is its lack of focus. It is no question that every one of the party members is in love with Zack and constantly fighting one another over him, often derailing serious conversations in the process. The problem here is how much this happens and how the game brings up some character quirks and habits that were completely resolved in the first game, but act as if the characters actually devolved to a state from before the first game when those habits were never fixed. It just feels too forced.

Gameplay

hearts 3 - dragon

Like with many EXE Creates games, Asdivine Hearts 2 is a retro-style RPG. You have a typical SNES-style formula with an overworld map, towns, and turn-based battles.

First of all, there are a good number of changes to the formula between AH1 and AH2. On top of the Shop system where you exchange special currency from battles for unique items, there are a bunch of new systems taken from more recent EXE games. These include two-member party slots, seed farms for permanent stat increases, buddy crystals for recruiting monsters into your party, and weapon upgrades taken from more recent games like Antiquia Lost and Fernz Gate.

hearts 4 - farm

Progression in the game is very easy to get a grasp on. Whenever you get a new story objective, you are tasked with going to a new place on the world map and as you go to these areas, you pass through all manner of typical RPG areas, like towns with NPCs and dungeons filled with monsters.

You also have some side content available as well. There are many times in the story where you can spend time with each party member to increase their trust level to upgrade their field skills as well as to contribute towards which story ending you get. There are also NPC side quests you can do in each town and the Maid Guild in each world, where you can participate in tournaments to get special currencies for special rewards.

hearts 5 - side

Now, when we get into content, we get into my biggest disappointment with this game. Asdivine Hearts I loved not just because of its story and characters, but the amount of content available. It took me almost 30 hours to get through AH1 for its True Ending, whereas many other EXE games normally only take around 10-15 hours.

I ended up getting to the Normal Ending of this game in around 8-9 hours and the True Ending (after some level grinding needed for the True Final Boss) in around 13 hours. While this isn’t bad for the price tag, it’s roughly half the length of the original game.

Controls

Controlling the game is pretty easy. It’s pretty simple, overall.

Moving around is done with either the Left Analog Stick or the D-Pad / Arrow Buttons. The L button is used for toggling the Mini-Map and R is used to cycle the “Leader” character. ZL and ZR don’t really do anything. Then the face buttons. A confirms options and B cancels options. X pulls up the customization menu, while Y is used for pulling up the World Map.

There is one problem, though. As I played through the game, I would often have false inputs from the D-Pad buttons. I would be moving straight down or to the left and right and it would constantly input going Up. I’ve tested this a fair amount and it happens both in the field and in menus and can happen whether you’re touching the D-Pad or not.

I also tested different controllers and it happens throughout all of them. That would include the original Left Joy-Con, the HORI D-Pad Joy-Con, and Pro Controller. It’s gotten to the point that I am confident this has to do with the game and not the controllers, as I have no problem playing other games, including the original Asdivine Hearts.

Presentation

hearts 6 - presy

Graphically, the game definitely is improved from the original game. The sprites have a lot more detail to them and the blurring effect from AH1 is completely gone here. The audio is also improved. Rather than recycling the original game’s music, it includes a lot of redone tracks that sound amazingly-improved over those found in AH1.

In terms of performance, I have no complaints. The game is remarkably smooth and the frame-rate in battle is way, way smoother than in AH1. I never had the game crash on me, either, so nothing bad to see here.

Battery Life

Being an EXE Create and KEMCO RPG, I expected a ton of Battery Life. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 19 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-FI – 4 hours, 48 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 00 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 32 minutes

As expected, you’re gonna get a ton of this game done in a single charge.

In conclusion, Asdivine Hearts II is a nice little game to let you have another adventure with AH’s original cast. Unfortunately, there are some issues with its story and it isn’t a very long game, unlike its predecessor. Still, if you liked the original cast and want to see more of them, this isn’t a terrible option. Just a poorly-balanced one.

Final Score: 6.5/10