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Patapon 2 January 6, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Video Games.
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In many ways, Patapon 2 is the game that the original ought to have been but wasn’t.

The first Patapon was a gem for its novelty and simplicity. You were the deity Kami; the Patapons were your tribe. By beating your drum — pata-pata-pata-pon! — you unleash your juju and direct the tribe to attack, defend, charge, or retreat. You set off to hunt big game, defeat another tribe, and guide the Patapons to “gaze upon IT at Earthend,” all the while planning your strategy, collecting armaments and materials, and developing one’s army for the next adventure.

These elements are also in Patapon 2. The basic gameplay mechanic is the same — pon-pon-pata-pon! — as are the big game hunts, skirmishes, and in a couple of instances even the mission objectives themselves (Must! Get! Catapult!). Added to the mix are a host of improvements like a Hero Patapon, new units, and a multiplayer component that makes collecting rare items, materials and weaponry much more engaging. Further, there is now an “evolution” system for Patapon development that affords players better party customization. Finally, the game appears rebalanced, with big game monsters and bosses mostly keeping to the beat with their actions as well, not to mention item drops being more forgiving and reachable to players even when they fall beyond the initial reach of one’s party. The game also carries over materials and ka-ching (but not units or weaponry) for those with save files from the first Patapon, making it that much easier for seasoned players to get started with an all-new campaign.

Of course, the original Patapon didn’t have these enhancements to be one heckuva game. Nor did it necessarily need them.

But as Patapon 2 shows, they certainly do help make an already excellent concept — pata-pon-don-chaka! — even better.

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