|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 16, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (4 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The graphics did get an upgrade that you will definitely notice on the animations. Spectacular magic, rainbows, and star trails turned the Princedom into an even more enchanting and awe-inspiring environment. The objects and characters are not necessarily more detailed, but they do look sharper and proper of a weird next-gen title like this. If it weren't for the camera angles I'd be perfectly pleased with its visuals, including characters and the items scattered throughout.
What elements could we expect to find on the floor, shelves, or outdoors? Well, that depends on each stage, but don't be surprised with what you find. You'll be rolling up all sorts of things from candy to teddy bears, bikers, rubber duckies, shoes, elephants, sushi, speakers, stars, roasted turkey, and everything in between. It gets especially fun when you become big enough to haul people as well; you'll hear them screaming helplessly, shaking their legs up and down, trying to get away. Most objects produce sounds when you pick them up, and it's easier to hear them if you turn the music off and leave the sound effects on.
The music is actually really good for this kind of game. It's a new soundtrack that was created specifically for Beautiful Katamari, and I think they made it right-on. You'll still hear the popular tune on the welcome screen, but then each level is flooded with this funky, poppy, Japanese music that drags you along. I'm glad it has some energy, because that's what's needed for this kind of gameplay. The different songs will not be repeated much throughout the game if you beat each stage without a problem. However, I can see how one could get annoyed by failing a stage continuously and hearing the same song over and over again. Maybe a "shuffle" system would have come in handy for this; that or turning the music off.
Beautiful Katamari also provides multiplayer action. Only two players can compete, but that should be enough to satisfy everyone's hunger for competition without splitting the screen into several smaller displays. You can also team along and play co-op. Online play is the best part of this game, and at the same time it may be the worst. Most people will be really excited to know that they can take their Katamari online and roll with it, battle with their friends, and see their scores grow in front of the world. You can create custom matches where you choose the stage where you'll be playing, etc. There's also the option to play a quick game. Just like any other online game, these features make it easy for everyone, whether you're the master of online play and want to use a custom match to your advantage or you just want to start playing right away. Either way, only four players are allowed in each encounter. The online battles consist of picking up specific objects the King requests. You'll have to make sure and pick up as many of that object as you can and also survive other people's attacks. With the lock-on feature, you can target a Katamari and then perform a dash- roll that will leave the other person hanging; a lot of what they picked up will launch in the air and then fall in the ground. It's your chance to steal what they lost and run away. It's easier said than done, but it sure is fun. What makes the experience uneasy is the continuous lags you might experience. Having played a multitude of online Katamari battles, I can say that 75% of them had serious lags that just made it almost unbearable. I know I have a good Internet connection, so it must be that other people's connections create lags on everyone's gameplay.
As you might have guessed by now, I do recommend this game to all of you Katamari lovers who have an Xbox 360 at home. You will enjoy the online play, even with its random lagging problems, and the game also offers a good amount of new stages to play. The Katamari series is very particular, so if you're new to it and are not sure you'll enjoy the wacky sense of humor and bizarre gameplay, you might want to rent it first. The game is entirely addictive, and even when things are going wrong for you, you'll have this ridiculous desire to continue playing to see if you can beat the level once and for all. That's why I call it "good ol' evil Katamari."
CCC Site Director