Now, I should point out some things about myself before I begin this preview. Firstly, I have a soft-spot for JRPGs with cute characters, even the rubbish ones. Secondly, I’m a slave to my baser male instincts and if your characters could feature in my haziest harem fantasies, you had me at hello. Finally, I’ve never played, nor was I even familiar with the original Criminal Girls, but having seen how blatantly its sequel panders to those first two facts about me, I don’t think that’s very important here. Criminal Girls 2 is the strangest thing I’ve played at TGS. And I can’t stop thinking about it.
Criminal Girls 2 will apparently, eventually see the light of day in Europe and America, but it’s a little difficult to see why. On the one hand, it’s an old school dungeon-crawler from Nippon-Ichi Software with a simple turn based battle system, presented beautifully with a large cast of beautiful heroines. On the other hand, it’s also one of those games that uses the PS Vita’s touch screen to let you relieve any sexual tension you might be carrying around and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, chances are you probably don’t want to.
Actually the whole experience of playing Criminal Girls 2 was even stranger than the game itself. A young lady staffer guided me to my Vita and in Japanese, so I understood maybe 25% of it, explained, or assumed, that the first thing I should want to see was the games ‘Punish’ feature. I was asked to choose one of the girls, who was then tied up on the next screen, where my cursor had become a mop and I was, apparently, supposed to wash her by swiping the screen. This was absolutely as bizarre and fetishistic as it sounds, and having an actual real life female over my shoulder showing me how to do it was so laugh-out-loud hilarious that that’s exactly what I ended up doing.
In the punish sections, the actual point of which I didn’t quite understand (although there was some exp gained in each one), I could choose to wash or spank the girls, and the spanking usually involved spanking their faces or hair, which somehow made even less sense than everything else. The actual RPG side of it was pretty standard dungeon crawler stuff, although a little more colorful than most in that genre and the battles were quick and fun, not the usual JRPG number-slogs we’re all unfortunately used to. Criminal Girls 2 seems like a JRPG for the modern Japanese age. It’s simultaneously old-fashioned, modern, fast and fetishistic and will probably outsell Ubisofts entire 2015 Japanese release schedule when it comes out here in November.
It would be easy to get bent out shape about Criminal Girls 2, but really I would recommend saving your anger for something that isn’t quite as dumb and irreverent. Japan loves erotic games, and they have just as many female players as male ones, and this kind of titillation in a game, particularly a vita game, is certainly nothing new (Senran Kagura, anyone?). Criminal Girls 2 seems like the latest attempt to bring together the different fandoms that consistently dominate Japan’s gaming audience. After all, if we can bring together ero-gamers, JRPGamers and filthy casuals (pun intended) through some mindless fetishism, where’s the harm in that?
Okay there’s a lot, but I don’t care this is already on my pre-order list.