In a sea of dark, brooding and violent games, it's always refreshing to see something colourful and bright released. In the first few years of its existence, a pair of PSP games proved that good, original games could exist on the Playstation Portable. The first, Loco Roco, has already received a sequel which was released earlier this year. The second, Patapon, has just received its first sequel. The question is if it can retain its charm and bring something new to the table.
Sony has taken an interesting route in delivering Patapon 2 to gamers. In North America, the game is available only through download. You can buy a downloadable code at stores, but you'll still need to download the game from the Playstation Network on the PS3 or PC. Elsewhere in the world, the game is available on UMD, so you would have to imagine Sony is testing the waters for a UMD-less PSP.
The gameplay of Patapon 2 is similar to that of the original. Players take the role of a deity to a group of tribal creatures known as Patapons. At the end of the first game, the Patapons build a ship to cross the ocean and reach Earthend to find “IT”, a sacred object that no one in the tribe knows what it does. On their way, they fight a giant squid and are shipwrecked. This is where the sequel picks up.
Patapon is a unique blend of strategy and rhythm games. There are many different types of Patapons, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are resistant to fire but weak to ice and some are stronger and slower. There are several major groups of Patapons, which are different from each other in more noticeable ways.
Some use axes and shields for up close battles (Tatepon) while others wield spears or bows for ranged attacks (Yaripon and Yumipon respectively). Patapon 2 includes 3 new classes of Patapons, the brawler Robopons, flying Toripons, and instrument playing Mahopon. After a certain point in the game, you'll be able to upgrade your Patapons and level them up, but only if you have the necessary materials.
One of the major additions in Patapon 2 are Heropons, powerful Patapons that can take on any class they choose, with each enabling them to use a special attack. If the Heropon takes on the Yaripon class for instance, they can throw an explosive spear that inflicts a large amount of damage.
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