|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC*, Wii U|
|Dev: Gaijin Games|
|Pub: Aksys Games|
|Release: March 5, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Crude Humor|
Runner2 is a nice step up in terms of graphics, too. The franchise has traditionally had something of an old school aesthetic, but here the graphics are in full HD, with a 2.5D effect. Purists might be irritated by the departure from convention, but it's hard to deny that Runner2 looks great. And those purists can hunt down the hidden stages designed with an authentic 8-bit pixelated look.
One downside to the improved graphics, however, is that they can make the controls feel less precise. With the series’ traditional graphics, it's very clear where Commander Video ends and his obstacles begin; with this more lifelike look, objects can overlap a little bit visually before they collide. This can make tricky moves even trickier
Unfortunately, Runner2 still doesn't quite nail the difficulty, at least not in my view. On the "Just Right" difficulty setting, there's a checkpoint in the middle of each stage, but you still have to play perfectly for a considerable amount of time before your progress is safe. I found it highly frustrating to play the early stretches of each checkpoint section over and over again just to reach the parts I was having problems with. Switching to an easier setting helped, but it also killed the intricate genius of the stage design. Though I must say, I did enjoy making sure that my profane outbursts occurred in time with the music.
This problem is compounded by the fact that, like Ms. Splosion Man, Runner2 depends more on memorization than on smooth, clean reactions. The difficult sections here—and there are plenty of them—are simply too finicky, requiring you to press buttons in exactly the right pattern with hardly a split second to spare. If you don't know what's coming before you see it on the screen, you can't win. If I want to memorize things rather than playing a game, I'll break out a history book and at least learn something useful.
But anyone who's played BIT.TRIP before knows it ain't easy. In fact, for the series' hardcore fans, the high difficulty, unforgiving stage design, and refusal to provide frequent checkpoints are all part of the fun. And if that's fun for you, Runner2 will be fun indeed.
Date: March 14, 2013