|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Pyramid / Interlink||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 5, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Populating your Patapon force with just the right mix of archers, fighters, spearmen, and specialty troops is far more intuitive this time around, thanks to a newly implemented unit evolution tree accessed through the central Patopolis hub. In addition to having the freedom to equip the individual Patapons you create with assorted weapons, shields, and helmets, each unit can be leveled-up by spending money and resources you pick up on the battlefield and in several mini-games.
With the right mix of resources, the branching evolution tree lets you unlock upgrades for each Patapon and easily track what materials are needed to pump them up to the next level and transform them into one of 16 unique Rarepons. This chart-like system takes the guessing out of the equation and makes it easier to customize your army to your personal tastes. Unlocking several new Patapon classes - like flying warriors who mount airborne creatures and wizards that offer boosts of support magic - also adds some extra troop variety.
The game's top-notch audio and visual presentation is just as charming as the original, and the buoyant vibe is bolstered by colorful and elaborate new creatures, environments, and foes. Your Patapon army bursts with sing-song personality with every step they take, and it's nearly impossible to keep the tunes and chants out of your head. The music is buoyant and mixes some carry-over tunes and sounds in with lots of new music.
A new multiplayer element lets you and up to three other friends take their heroes into a co-op battle against any one of the game's numerous bosses you've previously encountered for a shot at raking in some extra goodies. As you progress through various boss battles in the solo game, you'll pick up eggs that can be used in this new mode. Whether you play alone in cooperation with CPU comrades or with friends, your small group of heroes will hoist the egg and march onward at the selected boss. After successfully beating the baddie, you and your team will have to complete a grooving rhythm game to hatch the egg. It's a fun new mode to play on your own or with friends, though the enjoyment it offers is far more limited than the robust main campaign.
Patapon 2 certainly doesn't reinvent the winning formula, but it improves it substantially by beefing up the campaign, throwing in a few perks, and refining some of the weaker elements in the first title. There are still some minor issues the development team could have ironed out this time around, though they don't have a noticeable impact on the overall quality of the game. The mixture of bold and subtle updates should sit well with the vast majority of players. Sure, some stretches of the game will elicit feelings of déjà vu, yet the new content is excellent overall. It's also worth noting Patapon 2 is a digital download only release, so you'll need a high-speed internet connection, the right cable, and a memory stick to access the game. Buying the game in-store gives you the box, instructions, and a code coupon to download the game directly to your PSP through the PSN shop. This may very well be the inevitable future of PSP releases. It works well, even if the lack of a physical UMD to add to your collection may bother some. Regardless, don't miss out on Patapon 2.
CCC Staff Contributor