Pata-Review! Patapon 2 (PSP)


Originally my review of Patapon 2 was supposed to be up by the end of last week, but here I am on the Sunday of a Canadian long weekend only now finishing up my review.  Initially picking up the game, I, like many familiar with the classic original title, assumed it would just be more of the same which was by no means a bad thing.  As I progressed further and further in to the game, the depth and addictiveness of the sequel started to present itself.  I finally put down my PSP and bring you Console Creatures’ review of Patapon 2.

The Pros

For those who slept on the first Patapon game (shame on you, but there were many), here’s the rundown:  You act as the God of the Patapon, a race of literally eyeballs with arms and legs who are on their endless search of Earthend; their utopia if you will.  As their God and in a creative way of game play, you don’t control one specific Patapon but instead you interact with the tribe flag bearer in each expedition channeling your directions through the beat of your drums in specific sequences for each command.  To successfully send those commands with the drum, the sequences must aligned with the 4/4 rhythm the game has preset for you, otherwise the Patapon will not register.  These commands will dictate the actions from the Patapons from Moving Forawrd, Attacking, and Defending etc..

As you and your Patapon trudge along the landscape to the rhythm of your drum beats, the more command sequences you consecutively match to the rhythm you will eventually hit “FEVER” mode.  FEVER mode increases the effectiveness of your tribe when it comes to speed, attack and defense.  Patapon 2 seems to be a lot more forgiving  when it comes to maintaining your FEVER mode once you’ve obtained it.  In the first Patapon, you would lose your FEVER at the slight off beat input you make, however this time around the game grants you a second chance giving you a warning on your first mistake before it forces you to obtain the FEVER again from scratch. In both releases, the FEVER mode is an integral part to your success, and the ability to maintain the mode more easily eliminates frustrating moments in the harder parts of the game.

Another significant change to the game play are the classes of Patapon and how they are managed.  Patapon 2 introduces you early in the game to the “Hero” class.  The Hero instantaneously becomes your franchise player of sorts in your quest for Earthend.  During a mission, the Hero will be the only character who will automatically come back from death after a short period of time provided the mission doesn’t end due to the death of the flag bearer.  In addition, before each mission you are able to change the class of the Hero provided they are unlocked (up to 9) depending on what best fits the challenges of a specific mission.  Once FEVER mode hits, the Hero is able to unleash a special attack that’s heavy on the damage and specific to the class you choose your Hero to be.  The Hero adds a new element to the game play sometimes making him/her an effective last line of defense when it’s just down to the Hero and the unarmed flag bearer in your army.

With the new Evolution Tree, there are 16 possibilities the tree can evolve to that can be easily managed and customized as to how your want your armada to organized.  Each soldier in your army has it’s own specific evolution tree so you can personally customize each Patapon with their own set of strengths, weaknesses, and abilities (speed, defense, reaction to weather, and attack power etc.).  This adds more depth to the Patapon 2 with a resource management element that is easily guided through by the game.  In order to obtain more resources than the already increased number that are available through the missions, Patapon 2 has also increased the number of enjoyable rhythm mini games in your efforts to obtain more money and resources to evolve and level-up your army quicker.  The mini games are enjoyable and varied enough to serve as a nice distraction from the intensity of the quests.

To add to all this, the multiplayer mode increases the re-playability and also serves ultimately as bonuses for your Hero in the single player campaign.  After each boss, you receive an egg that will allow you to link up with other players and their own Heros to battle the same boss in effort to carry the egg to the end destination point.  Once it has been clear to the games’ satisfaction and you pass the impromtu mini games thereafter, the eggs hatch delivering bot players for you to play with on your own in the multiplayer mode as well as new abilities for your Hero in the single player mode.

The Cons

The availability of finding another PSP owner with this title was a bit difficult for me to find, thus making the multiplayer mode frustrating to even find someone to play with in order to unlock new single player elements, eventually making the multiplayer playable by one player and AI bots. I certainly hope that the Ad-Hoc party mode through your PS3 will soon become available in North America as it is in Japan to make ad-hoc multiplayer more accessible.

There are still moments in the game that can be a bit unforgiving.  Before a mission, if you spread your resources incorrectly using them to create Patapon classes you discover are irrelevant to a mission as opposed to ones that would be more useful, there is no turning back. This leaves you to grind through the level on a trial and error basis hoping for the best until you get lucky or play a perfect mission.

For some reason, the menu commands seem to be a bit odd.  There is no pause button in the game, which can leave you in a bind when your in the middle of a mission trying to maintain your FEVER and hit all your beats on cue, and something demands your attention outside your concentration on your PSP.  You’ll probably choose maintaining your game as opposed to the other thing, but the addition of a pause would definitely remedy this.  In addition the use of the START and SELECT buttons in the menu commands confused me with the HOME/PS button to the point where I would press the HOME/PS button every so often and automatically cycle through and exit through the game without saving my progress.

Here’s the Deal

For $20, Patapon 2 is a steal of game.  Given the increased depth, quality of game-play, and inexplicable charm the art style gives, there is absolutely no reason for you not to get this game if you are a PSP owner.  Whether you’re new to the franchise or thoroughly enjoyed the first Patapon, the sequel of the game offers variety and a unique twist to the rhythm based games.  Patapon 2 consistently progresses with new modes and character classes along with customizable elements resulting in hours and hours of gameplay within the portable nature of the system.  With not even half the year through and the torrid pace of scheduled PSP releases for the remainder of 2009, Patapon 2 will still warrant at the very least consideration for PSP game of the year honors when year end comes.  9/10 Sean C.

~ by consolecreatures on May 17, 2009.

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