Review – Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising

All of just a couple years ago, Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues graced home consoles to go along with the success of the Netflix series. While the game had a couple hiccups, it was a pretty solid beat ‘em up, so a sequel should have been everything the original was plus more. If Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising could expand on everything that the original game did, this would end up being potentially one of the best beat ‘em up games of the year. That’s saying something in a year that had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.

Even just the introduction hurts to look at. Also, you can open the debug window easily.

With all the build up to Cobra Kai 2, it was to my dismay that the core concept of the original game was gone. This time around, instead of being a side scrolling beat ‘em up, Cobra Kai 2 is a slightly open level brawler akin to that of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. While it may feel like there’s a more recent game this could be related to, it’s likely a better choice for comparison because of the disdain fans seem to feel for the change in playstyle. Cobra Kai 2 lets you run around levels with multiple characters, being able to switch between them throughout, each of which having slightly different attack styles and spells. The addition of being able to summon ice, or cast fireballs, seems very out of place for The Karate Kid, but I suppose it’s all that could be done to try and make it feel more like a video game.

The cutscene artwork looks okay, but it’s really bland after just a few minutes.

The levels in Cobra Kai 2 are quite small, but expanded by forcing you into fights with an army of students. By the time you reach the first “main” enemy, the boss if you will, you’ve likely beaten up half the highschool you attend. The bosses are.. Okay? Generally, they’re nothing special, just another enemy that has a bit more health and the possibility of using spells. The ability to hit enemies is not exactly simple. Sometimes your character will lock on, or at least make some form of attempt to swing in the right direction, while other times you’ll stand in front of an enemy, and start punching off to the left towards the air where no one is standing.

Daniel-san, what happened to you?

Cobra Kai 2 is missing a few key details. The first one being the tutorial doesn’t explain quite well enough what you’re meant to be pressing for specific tasks. As such, I had somehow managed to open the debug menu and accidentally turn off NPCs until I had realised exactly what I had done. Quick note here, probably don’t make your games debug menu as simple as pressing L1 and left stick together. The second thing missing is dialogue. That’s not to say that it doesn’t exist, but there’s a massive, massive lack in variety. To the extent that even just in the tutorial your character will repeat the same line again and again to an almost hair ripping extent.

The battles are by far the most bland of everything.

These are nothing on the actual look of Cobra Kai 2, because one of the first things you’ll notice is an absolutely dreadful framerate. The framerate struggles so much that cutscene dialogue started because the video managed to catch up from a loading screen and everything became desynced. Entering into any area sees the game stutter worse than the complaints about Pokemon Scarlet/Violet, and making all of the fighting that needs to happen almost unbearable the majority of the time. Now, this could be justifiable based on the actual game looking great, but it really, really does not. Everything in Cobra Kai 2 is so pixelated and sluggish looking that genuinely, it may be the reason I don’t understand the complaints about Pokemon.

Why fix what isn’t broken? For some reason, Cobra Kai 2 decided to go off in a whole new direction from the original game, which was on form and simply just needed a touch of polish. Instead, here we are with something that is so out of left field, and so horrifically broken, that playing it felt more like a chore than a hobby. Hopefully, if a third game ever comes to fruition somehow, I hope there is a long, hard look at what that game should be, and maybe just a touch of quality assurance.

Graphics: 1.0

There are absolutely no redeeming qualities to the looks of Cobra Kai 2. Between the framerate that will constantly stutter out on you while doing something very simple, and the fact everything looks incredibly pixelated, it’s quite a rough play.

Gameplay: 1.5

The gameplay could be fun, it’s a semi-open world, brawler. This is a formula that’s proven to work, but here, it’s just done horrendously. The feel of your character is rough, throwing punched randomly in the air and then getting smacked around is frustrating, and above all else, it’s just simply not fun to be in any fights.

Sound: 1.0

The music is nothing great, but the biggest letdown of Cobra Kai 2 is the consistent, repetitive nature of the voice overs. Hearing the some one line of dialogue over and over makes me want to pull my hair out.

Fun Factor: 1.0

I, personally, had a really bad time playing Cobra Kai 2. There was nothing redeemable for me and that made it pretty much unbearable to return to whether it was to see if it was actually as bad as I thought, or just to get screenshots.

Final Verdict: 1.0

Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC.

Reviewed on PlayStation 4.

A copy of Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising was provided by the publisher.