The original X-Change is a game I feel very strongly about. Everything is more or less mediocre: the music, the story, the artwork, but it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a nostalgic trip to my childhood and my discovery of porn at an age when I really shouldn’t have been looking at such things. So, imagine my surprise when I find out X-Change has a sequel! Well, there wasn’t any surprise, because I knew it had a sequel. Actually, it has five sequels and two remakes, but I’ll get to those later.
Though I loved X-Change in a way only an idiot could, my overall reaction to it was still “eh”. As such, I went into X-Change 2 with low expectations. My expectations were delightfully wrong! What I got was a lengthy, polished game that was far better than I could have hoped.
One year has passed since the events of the original X-Change. Takuya, having been successfully turned back into a boy, is now dating his childhood friend Asuka. Resident genius and former chemistry club president X has graduated, leaving Takuya as club pres by default. Luckily for us, Takuya is still being used as a test subject by his adorable kouhai and new best girl, Chisato. A failed experiment of hers leaves Takuya once again with a vagina and a pair of tits. This causes a lot of problems for Takuya, as Asuka seems to be growing more and more distant now that he is a girl again.
The first game had a lot of issues masturbation-wise. The artstyle was outdated, and there were problems with anatomy and unappealing genitalia, leading to a less than satisfactory experience. In X-Change 2, most of these problems are addressed. While it’s still an iffy fap, more care has been put into the anatomy, and the art, while obviously not modern, is a hell lot easier on the eyes. The oddly-drawn genitals however, because of Japanese censorship, are something unfortunately unavoidable. Overall, the quality of the erotic content is greatly improved over the first game, but not quite up to the standards of modern titles. The sex scenes are vanilla material; basic dick-in-pussy and pussy-on-pussy action.
The plot, at its absolute base form, is nearly identical to the original, as is the style of writing. However, they make it fresh by adding a pretty damn good central plot involving Asuka’s feelings towards Takuya’s female body. They also crammed it full of new characters and subplots. It’s also a long game: each route can be cleared in a few hours, like the first game, but all those characters and subplots eventually lead to 23 different endings. That’s about three times as many as the original. While I powered through the first game in an evening or two, X-Change 2 took a bit more.
Continuing the theme of improvements over the first game, the art also had a major overhaul. Gone is the distinctly thick, mid-90’s eroge art style. In its place is a sleek, late 90’s transitional style with smooth colouring and overall sense of cleanliness. While I’m still fond of the first game’s art, the updated graphics are undeniably easier on the eyes, especially when it comes to the backgrounds. The CGs still have the occasional odd bit of “quality” anatomy and impossible limb placement here and there, but goddammit, I’m just so happy the backgrounds aren’t horrid, lifeless slabs of green.
There’s also better music this time around, in terms of sound quality. While the actual songs themselves are samey, tedious, repetitive, and cheesy, they’ve graduated from MIDI music to actual audio files. Of course, if you still want to listen to the soundtrack in MIDI form like a fucking weirdo would, there’s an option for just that! Interestingly enough, the music still doesn’t loop, which is a flaw carried over from the first game. A lot of the time this isn’t a problem, as you’ll come to a different piece of music before the current song ends, but there are still too many moments where the music just runs out, and everything turns silent, save for the voice acting.
By the way, there’s voice acting now! It’s really quite decent voice acting, too. The voices all fit extremely well with the characters, and all of the VAs perform fantastically. However, I have one major complaint: The sound quality is FUCKING HORRIBLE. Whenever someone talks, there’s a thick layer of hissing lying beneath every word. With music, it’s not as noticeable, but when the song inevitably runs out, it becomes really prevalent. Furthermore, some characters sound like they were recorded in a proper studio, with proper microphones and acoustic treatment. Others, however, sound like they were recorded by a fifth grader with a goddamned potato in her bedroom.
The solution to this problem is to simply mute the game! You aren’t missing out on the music, you get to avoid the flaws in the voice acting, and everything just becomes better all around. Throw on some of your own music to groove to and you’re golden.
For its age, X-Change 2 holds up well. As a sequel, it holds up even better. There’s an awful lot of game here to play through, and the art and story are actually quite good. There’s lot of flaws, yes, and you’ll almost certainly need a walkthrough, but while playing, I found myself feeling like actually playing a game rather than doing a review for work.
If you’ve played the first X-Change, didn’t care for it, and as a result didn’t check out the sequel, then here’s the vastly improved sequel. If you haven’t played the first X-Change at all, then go and play it so you can play the sequel. Seriously though, both games aren’t very pricey, so you can get your late 90’s eroge kicks on the cheap! You know you want to.
Click the button below to get the X-Change games on J-List! SMASH THAT BUTTON LIKE YOU MEAN IT, FAGGOT!