In total, I think it's fair to say that Rengoku II: the Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N isn't really a sequel, but essentially an improved and more polished version of the first game—a sort of Rengoku redux. But, don't think I'm complaining. Although the series has been poorly received in the games criticism community, I found merit in Konami's choice to bring it to the States the first time, and the same is true of this sequel that no one, including myself, expected. As a matter of fact, there's even been talk of a PlayStation 3 iteration, which is great news in my book. Rengoku is a tight, focused experience not aimed at the average gamer, but it carves out its own niche and fills it nicely. It's an acquired taste perhaps, but one that I definitely crave.