Review – Patapon 2 Remastered

I remember very little about my PlayStation Portable days. I remember buying Tiger Woods Golf and even getting a movie on UMD, but unfortunately, this is about all I remember. Not soon after purchasing the console, a cleaning crew employee stole it off my work desk. As a result, I have no nostalgic anchor to Patapon or Patapon 2. I wish I had because I have a feeling I would have fallen in love with Patapon back then.

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Worship me, my Patapons!

Patapon 2 Remastered is a re-return to the much beloved Patapon franchise by Sony Interactive Entertainment. As you are probably aware, Patapon was remastered on PS4 back in 2017. Both titles were originally released on the PSP more than a decade ago and now fill a much needed void in these waning years of the PS4’s life cycle.

In this rhythm-based action franchise, you control a small tribe of Patapons that worship you as their deity. You equip them and set them out to explore the island they washed up on. You dictate their movement and their attack based on your ability to memorize and execute a series of 4-step beats. Think of it as an intricate game of Simon Says.

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I got the fever. And the only cure is more Patapon.

The beautiful simplicity to Patapon 2 is just how quickly it can change to not being simple. It doesn’t require an obscene amount of thinking or skill, but it does require a complete investment of your focus. A level can be easy enough to pass, that is until you panic and struggle to regain your rhythm. Then losing that crucial upper hand against a level’s boss.

Being able to build out your army before each level also helps Patapon 2 not feel like a simple rhythm game. It adds a sense of strategy that you don’t normally get from its peers. Adding in hero types of Patapons makes that more-so. Completing levels will earn you different gear, abilities, and Patapon. Playing with this in mind and figuring out what works best can be just as essential to progress through the game’s many missions.

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Rain? Mid of night? Giant Crab? I got this.

Like any good rhythm game, Patapon 2 will have you mesmerized by its hypnotic rhythm and beats. To the left, you will see your combo meter grow to a fever pitch as your Patapons rally to carry out your wishes. I was surprised at how deflating it was to actually break that combo, seeing my poor Patapon fall to the ground. It really made me feel like I let my worshippers down. The more I would fail, the more it got in my head, and the more I lost focus.

Patapon 2 gives you both an audible and visual beat to match. Each time a beat hits, a white border will flicker on the screen. This is great for players that need to overcome any hearing impairment. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that at times it was just nicer to have one sense tell me what to do. With the visuals on the screen, the chanting of the Patapon, the borders flickering, and the beats thumping through the speakers; at times it could get a bit too chaotic to make sense of. Turning the white-noise down, so to speak, helped to clear the picture.

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It’s good to be the deity.

Patapon 2 Remastered can unfortunately be extremely vague at times. I spent at least five minutes wondering why I was continuously failing the tutorial. When you fail, you are sometimes left wondering exactly why you did. Patapon 2‘s remastered gameplay graphics are beautiful and vibrant, however some cutscenes don’t seem to have gotten the same care. Instead, they look blurry and ported right from the PSP. While I admit that the sound has a dated PS2/PS3 era quality to it, it is very endearing and works well to put you in that fever pitch focus.

Lastly, as good as Patapon 2 Remastered is, and it is very good, it serves best to remind me how much I love my PS Vita. This type of game that just belongs on a handheld and is at its best when you can pick it up for five or ten minutes. Playing on a big screen in 4K is stunning, but you can’t escape that feeling that Patapon 2 belongs somewhere else.

 

Graphics: 8.0

Beautiful 4K upgrade with a 2D, rich and vibrant land, and its adorably violent Patapons. But it oddly misses the mark on small cutscenes that appear to be low-res direct ports.

Gameplay: 9.0

Relying on its beautiful simplicity that gets more and more chaotic. The rhythm focus slowly ramps up requiring complete concentration.

Sound: 8.5

Dated, yet endearing, sounds keep you focused as the battles get more and more chaotic.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Both easy to pick up and easy to get lost in. However, there is no denying its true home is on a hand held unit.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Patapon 2 Remastered is available now on PS4.

Reviewed on PS4 Pro.

A copy of Patapon 2 Remastered was provided by the publisher.