Console exclusives are great until you lose the ability to easily play those games. This is why things like backward compatibility and ports are handy. Now a number of games that might’ve been forgotten can find new life on a different platform or with a new set of gamers. In cases like Gravity Rush and WipEout 2048, both titles had another chance for success that might not have otherwise happened. Despite this generation nearing its end, Sony finally re-released the Patapon 2 Remastered, a delightful sequel and fascinating series from the PlayStation Portable. However, with interesting commands and dated mechanics, is it a must for fans or was it better left in the past?
Despite looking rather simple, Patapon 2 Remastered has a fairly interesting story. Following the events of the first game, the Patapons end up in a strange new land that later turns out to be their original homeland. There they encounter a hostile force called Karmen that they need to work together to defeat, while also learning more about their history and a mysterious mask. It sounds more complicated than it really is and told in relatively short bursts across a wide number of missions. Where the series shines is its unique take on the rhythm genre.
Traditionally, rhythm games have been limited to pushing specific inputs that correspond with the beat on the screen. Some games simplify the inputs to achieve more accessibility, whereas others stick to a more robust system that requires a greater investment to master. Patapon 2 Remastered takes the core concept, pushing inputs in a specific order, and turns it on its head by linking specific chains to actions. So, you can’t actually move or attack, but rather, you play a beat that the Patapons hear and respond to accordingly.
For this reason, there is actually a bit of a learning curve, especially since there is more to it than just pushing square three times in a row, followed by a circle. At the corners of the screen, there is a flashing square that indicates beat. The more closely you follow the square, the better you perform and in turn, the more success the Patapons have. Naturally, moving too faster or slow will result in mistakes, so you need a good flow if you want to be successful.
Where things start to hit the fan is once you encounter greater threats. When these occur you need to know which beat to use. Sometimes attack will be right, other times you’ll want to move, but whatever you decide to do is dictated by the beat you play. At first, it might be overwhelming but once you get it down it makes for a very soothing experience.
Those hoping for more will find a wide variety of troops, weapons, materials, and tactics that will impact your adventure. Naturally, good tactics will be rewarded with easier or less tedious missions and vice versa. It also allows you to mix and match to better accomplish whatever your goal might be.
Where Patapon 2 Remastered falls short are original flaws and some dated videos. Between cutscenes, you can’t skip and a tutorial that goes on entirely too long if you make a mistake, it feels like a product of the past. These don’t bring down the experience too much outside of making it a bit rough at times.
Considering this was originally a PSP game, some of the cutscenes look unedited, making it look extremely dated and an odd contrast from the main game and these scenes. This is also not a flaw as much as something to be aware of. For some, the point of remasters is to avoid this stuff, so some of them being there is less than ideal.
Patapon 2 Remastered Verdict
In the end, Patapon 2 Remastered is ultimately a very divisive title. Some people will love the take on the genre and enjoy all the little things, whereas others will find it tedious and frustrating. The decent learning curve and so so explanations also don’t help. That being said, if you were looking for something different, love the originals or just want to see what it is about, it’s well worth giving it a try.
[Editor’s Note: Patapon 2 Remastered was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]