The first thing you notice in Gigawing 2 is just how gorgeous Takumi have managed to make the game. Everything is polygonal, with smoothly flowing backgrounds and sumptuous texturing. The rich colours glow warmly, rather like the sky in summer, and there is a definite sense of gloss resting on everything. Compared to the original Gigawing, it's a work of art. It's still a vertical shooter, but it's definitely the most beautiful I have ever witnessed, far more so than Cannon Spike its ilk. The single player game is over fairly quickly, but it's damnably good fun while it lasts. The camerawork changes tack fairly regularly, letting you zoom in and out of the screen, up and under and all over the place. The game fundamentally still remains a 2D shoot 'em up, but it adopts a 3D guise, similar in a way to the platform sections of the Crash Bandicoot games. It's definitely a lot more enjoyable than it would have been, because of it. Another part of the Naomi setup that Takumi have taken advantage of is the opportunities for musical accompaniment. The game is fully orchestrated, one of the first shooters I can recall being so. And by orchestrated I don't mean that the keyboards were synced to a drum beat or anything absurd like that - it's a very definite musical score, with twists and turns remarking your progress. You can expect choral chants amongst other things - I hope to the high heavens they don't deem this too "Japanesey" for the West, but it really makes the game in its current state.
Another thing I hope remains (but inevitably will not in the long run) is the still-frame storyline elements that are used prior to each new level. The effect of using real voice acting on top of still frame artwork is very creative, and they really set the tone for the game. If we're lucky, a bit of tasteful redubbing will be all that's required. In which case, why do I fear that we'll be subjected to "narly" American surfer-type accents, in the way that we so often are. The actual action itself isn't as frantic as it was in Gigawing. The improved graphics mean that filling the screen up with moving objects and bullets would make it rather difficult to maintain the smooth framerate. As such, the action, while quite vicious, never reaches the elevated levels of fury that graced our screens in the middle of last year. The challenge then, isn't quite as insurmountable as it once was. The reflection forces return from the original, including a new one, which sucks in bullets and spits them out in a concentrated stream at individually targeted ships and cruisers. The charging bar that controls the reflection forces fills up a bit more quickly than it used to, in contrast somewhat to the diminutive challenge, but they don't dominate quite as you would expect them to. Nonetheless, in the aftermath of heavy attacks, they do make the search for medicinal power-ups somewhat less fretful.
The other part of the game, the multiplayer arm, is really quite demented. Playing with four players on screen is quite frankly the most fun I've had fully-clothed for quite some time! If anything, this seals the packing crate for Gigawing 2. We'll see you in the West, matey! Gigawing 2 in its native form exhibits a lot of charm, far more so than the original, and I have no doubt that Capcom will once again pick it up for Western translation. Lets just hope they don't make a botch job of it.