Review: Patapon 2

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Patapon 2 starts where Patapon ends, but thankfully you don’t have to play the first one to get right into this one. Just like in the first Patapon you play as the god to a species of eye ball like creatures called Patapons. The Patapon are sailing towards the end of the world when a Kraken like monster destroys their ship. The surviving Patapons wash ashore a strange new land, and they call upon you once again to lead them. This strange new land is inhabited by a tribe called Karmen who immediately become your enemy; the battle between you and the Karmen serves as the main plot along with the continuing quest to reach earth’s end.

The only way I can describe the graphics is a unique painting coming to life. Patapon’s entire world is based off of artist Sebastien Giuli’s work. His creatures and landscapes are some of the coolest and most original drawings I’ve ever seen. The fact that an entire game is based off of someone’s artwork is a great idea and works well with games of this nature.

The gameplay is what makes Patapon 2 brilliant and fun. Patapon 2 could be described as a rhythm based RTS. As their god you are given 4 drums. These 4 drums when played in a particular sequence with other drums makes the Patapon perform different moves such as attacking or defending. If you perform a combo of moves in rhythm, fever mode kicks in and doubles your attacking or defending points. Okay so that’s the rhythm part, now for the RTS part. There are 9 different classes to choose from when building your squads, with each class having the ability to evolve quite a bit. A new class unique to Patapon 2 is hero classes, heroes have special abilities that can make or break a battle. These abilities include fire arrows, and magic which kick in once you reach fever mode. You can access these classes from the evolutionary tree, having the tree is nice because it organizes your classes perfectly. To level up and evolve you will need to collect various items, each patapon has there own unique set of items they need. You earn these items from defeating enemies, finishing levels, gifts from your disciples and from mini games. The mini game lets you take control of a squad of hero class warriors in order to beat bosses from the game’s different levels. At the end of each mini game you receive ka’ching, which is considered money to the patapons. The only negative for me is the grinding you’ll have to do to unlock everything. Personally I have hardly any classes at  high levels and the ones I do still aren’t max yet, and I’ve put about 20 hrs into this game.

The sound on this game is awesome. The tribal feel of the drums melds well together with the noises of your Patapon. They react to your rhythmic button presses with chants that will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week. Its sort of embarrassing to be sitting in the middle of class and hum “pata-pata-pata-…pon!” and only realize once everyone gives you strange looks.

With the multiplayer mode you and up to three other players (through ad-hoc or game sharing) take on the role of a hero class and need to transport an egg  to an altar at the end of the level. At this altar all players must perform a hatching ceremony, which involves playing their rhythms in synchronization to crack the egg. The mulitiplayer is something I have not tried personally because my friends are too cool for psps, but from what I’ve seen it looks fun and seems to work well.

This game is definitely one of the best games available for psp, and is definitely in a league of its own. The game is so unique and plays so well that it deserves a ps3 counterpart. In the end, despite the grinding,  the games originality and freshness earns it a SS.

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