Rengoku 2 offers a variety of equippable parts including shields, armors, floating mines, grenades, stealth, flamethrowers, chainsaws, and "tractor chains" (hookshots that drag enemy toward you) ... in addition to things like swords, claws, axes, guns, lasers, and rockets and missiles. Weapons have properties like ammo count, energy usage, heat resistance, heat factor, and the ability to stun the opponent, knock them back, or throw them into the air. Some weapons are more effective used in succession with other weapons as opposed to being used alone.
Armor and shields may provide resistance to certain types of attacks, may provide enhanced cooling, may reduce stun/knockback, and more. In addition, virtually all shields in the game provide the ability be granted near invincibility so long as the shield is held up, the only catch being that holding up the shield depletes its ammo, and the fact the arm equipped with the shield will overheat if held up too long. Leg parts affect movement speed or modify your evasion maneuvers (such as a sidestep instead of your basic roll), some grant the ability to run, others may provide addtional ammo, health, cooling, Some leg parts even turn your sidestep/roll into an attack.
Below is a list of some of the changes Rengoku II: Stairway to Heaven makes over its predecessor Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory in terms of gameplay and game mechanics:
- When you die, you no longer permanently lose all your equips. They remain exactly where they were when you died, and can be re-acquired simply by returning there after you respawn. The exception is during boss battles, in which case there is no penalty for dying.
- The bottom floor of the tower has portals to each other floor in the game. This means that each time you die, you can simply teleport directly back up to the last floor you were on, instead of having to stop at each individual floor on the way up.
- In addition to dungeons having more varied layouts over Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory (where each room was typically either a square or rectangle), each floor of the tower presents a unique theme or gimmick. For instance, one floor features conveyer belts. Furthermore, each floor has a completely unique aesthetic theme (one floor may look like a cathedral, whereas another is a fiery furnace, etc) whereas in the previous Rengoku title floors may have different wall textures but were otherwise the same. Lastly, the floors in Rengoku II are vastly larger.
- Boss battles have you battle a unique character/boss, whereas in, the previous Rengoku title, all bosses were essentially just a high-level enemy. The bosses in Rengoku 2 take on a variety of forms (such as a behemoth, or a guard tower) and/or use attacks that impossible to replicate yourself, such as being able to spin around like top while firing lasers in all directions.
In addition to the 8 main floors, the players unlock a 2nd tower named H.E.A.V.E.N. with 99 floors. (although the floors are smaller and are progressed through much more quickly than the original 8 floors) There is also a boss every 11 floors. In H.E.A.V.E.N. the rulesets are different from the main game, and the tower consists of 3 blocks, 33 floors each, with a completely different rule set for each. They are marked HEAVEN A, HEAVEN B, and HEAVEN C. Each block can be completed in any order, but progress can only be saved in one block at a time.
HEAVEN A (Floors 1-33)
In Heaven A, the player temporarily loses all equips they have acquired throughout the game, and the player reverts to basic stats. In other words it's as though the player has started over from the beginning. (But you regain your stats once you leave.)
Although the player loses all stat gains, there is one exception, the player has the maximum 5 slots for each body part. (meaning the player can have up to 4 backup weapons per body part in addition to the one they are currently using) This rule applies even if the player had fewer than 5 slots for each body part before entering HEAVEN A.
In HEAVEN A, terminals still function as save points, but all other functionality is lost. (no being able to equip, access your inventory, or level up your stats). Instead of manually equipping parts, in HEAVEN A, equippable parts are equipped automatically as you acquire them as item drops. Also, the player is leveled up automatically as they acquire elixir skin, instead of doing this manually.
Players can still use the select button to switch weapons, and from this menu the player can even recycle their equipped equipment for more elixir skin, and to make room for more weapons dropped from enemies. In short, the premise of this tower is managing a limited inventory space.
Lastly, if a player melts down (i.e. dies) they keep all their equips, stats, and elixir skin, but are sent 4 floors down and in a random room. This makes HEAVEN A by far the most forgiving of the 3 blocks of HEAVEN.
HEAVEN B (Floors 34-66)
In HEAVEN B, once again the players reverts to basic stats as though they just started the game, this time including the revert to 1 slot per body part. However, the player has access to terminals and even their entire inventory from the rest of the game. The catch is that if the player melts down (i.e. dies) the player permanently lose everything they currently had equipped, and is sent to the bottom floor (floor 34) with all stats lost.
There is a terminal (save point) on every floor, so conceivably the player can just restart the game, and load their last save point, in the event of a meltdown.
HEAVEN C (Floors 67-99)
In HEAVEN C, unlike A and B, you retain your stats from the rest of the game, but you are barred from using equipment you acquired from the rest of the game. They are grayed out, and cannot be selected. You start out in HEAVEN C "naked" (albeit with your now heavily leveled up character) and must use only equipment found within HEAVEN C in order to complete it.
Another twist to HEAVEN C is that, when you fail, you get booted from HEAVEN C, but you keep all elixir skin stat gains. This means you essentially become stronger with every failed attempt, thereby increasing your chances of surviving the next time.
Completely unlike HEAVEN A and B, each floor in HEAVEN C is very small (3-6 rooms) and many floors are completely identical to each other. This block is presented more like a challenge room, with each floor focusing on a certain theme. On each floor there are enemies that use a certain weapon type or types. Furthermore, the first room on each floor contains very weak enemies. As the player moves onto each consecutive room, the enemies faced are drastically stronger and if the player manages to complete an entire floor, they are rewarded with the most powerful version of that floor's weapon. (for example, on the floor where enemies use claws, enemies can drop Double Claw, followed by Tekko-Ren Claw, followed by Ogre Edge, until ultimately Faux Dragon Fang is acquired)
However, the enemies in the later rooms have obscenely high attack power, even able to knockout the player in as few as 2 or 3 blows. In other words, a single mistake can boot you from the tower, making HEAVEN C particularly cruel where the player's chance of survival is concerned. The last room per floor is optional, forcing the player to assess risk versus reward.