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X-Change 2
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 08/13/2003

You are Takuya Aihara, the guy who's known for having been turned into a girl by a chemistry experiment gone wrong not too long ago. Your childhood friend Asuka is your girlfriend now, and you know better than to play around with potentially dangerous stuff... or do you? You're now the president of the chemistry club and it's still known for conducting crazy experiments. One day, one of your members invents a contraption that is supposed to make people grow taller. Since you've always been discontent with your height, you agree to test it. Alas, the machine goes haywire and explodes. After the smoke clears, you're aghast to find that you're once again a girl! Will you be able to change back into your male self once again? It all depends on you...

I liked the first Xchange. It was short, snappy, and really quite unique. I couldn't imagine how a sequel would go using the same gender-bending theme without coming off as redundant and overused though, so I really had no idea what to expect from Xchange 2. I was just told that it was going to feature more characters and endings compared to its predecessor.

Xchange 2 has eight characters you can end up with, and your girlfriend from the original Xchange Asuka is one of them. This time, your family and schoolmates are no longer surprised when you become female. It's just one of those things that happen to you. As is the case with Xchange, you're more popular as a girl than as a guy. Your classmates, teachers, and even total strangers are making passes at you all over again. Since there are 23 endings you can get, there are numerous possibilities. You can stick it out with Asuka, find someone new, become a lesbian, etc. Playing through the various paths is very enjoyable because each one contains a distinct plot. There are three kinds of endings you can get: best, normal, and bad. The best endings reward you with the ending theme song, all the poses and facial expressions of chosen girl, brief flashbacks of the most crucial moments, and a very satisfying epilogue.

Aside from the wide array of choices you can make during the game, Xchange 2 features several mini-games which can affect the story. There's Battle Force, an RPG-esque turn-based fighting game. There's also Rock-Paper-Scissors, Name that Tune, and a couple of trivia quiz games. For best results, you have to make sure to win all the mini-games that come your way. Even the game interface shows innovation. While it's standard for Peach Princess games to give a fast-forward and rewind feature for dialogues, there are now additional functions such as screen capture and voice replay. The controls are also highly customizable -- you can toggle specific characters' voices on and off, program the fast-forward feature to speed through either only unread or all dialogues, and so forth.

In terms of visuals, Xchange 2 sports a slight change in terms of character designs. Those that were in the first Xchange remain recognizable, but the way everyone is drawn seems softer and a tad less refined -- although I thought that for most part the characters looked cuter this time around. Sex is depicted very graphically, complete with all the anatomical parts, bodily fluids, and even blood from losing one's virginity. Xchange 2 also retains the original Japanese voices which I found enjoyable to listen to.

Xchange 2 is a thoroughly fun and challenging love simulation game with a gender-bending twist. It wasn't easy to get all the endings and CGs even for a bishoujo game veteran like myself. There's a good balance of story, eye candy, and nice audio, which all made for an extraordinary gaming experience. Perhaps the only distasteful parts of Xchange 2 were the unnecessary rape scenes scattered about, serving no other purpose but to provide more sex. Still, it's a minor glitch to an otherwise faultless game. Highly recommended.

Like Tokimeki Check-in!, Xchange 2 comes in two discs. The game itself, as well as the galleries, are on the first disc. The second disc features extras like character voice sound files for Windows, complete credits, and mp3s among others.

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Review Title:
X-Change 2
Alternative Titles:
X Change 2, Xchange 2
Approximate Length:
10-30 Hours
Suitable For:
Adults Only
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Hentai Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
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