Patapon 2 Remastered.
AT A GLANCE
Pyramid, Japan Studio, International Software Development, WWS America, On-Core Software
Sony Interactive Entertainment America
Action, Platformer, Rhythm
Patapon 2 is a rhythm-based videogame. You play as a ‘Hero’; one who takes command of an army of Patapons - small tribal creatures that march to the beat of your drum, literally. These creatures have been attacked by a sea monster, and washed ashore on a mysterious island. They have to fight various monsters and tribes in search of ‘It’ at the ‘Earthend’ - both of which are a bit of a mystery to the player at first.
The first few levels serve as one long tutorial. You’re introduced to the story, your Patapons, some obstacles you’ll face and most importantly - your button combos. The triangle, square, circle and X buttons all correspond to a specific drum sound, and stringing combos will cause your Patapons to take different actions. Drumming ‘pata pata pata pon’ for example (three squares and one circle), will cause your Patapons to move forward.
Other combos like ‘pon pon pata pon’ causes your army to get into attack formation. What stops Patapon 2 from getting mindlessly button-mash-y however, is the rhythm behind its levels. You’ll constantly hear music in the background as you move through missions, and your combos must sync up with the music. If you fall out of rhythm, your Patapons might fall, stop moving entirely, or stop attacking in the middle of a boss fight.
It’s crucial to keep in rhythm, especially on boss fights.
So, Patapon 2 might look like a cutesy children’s game, but this thing boasts over 50 hours of gameplay. First off, there are RPG mechanics. You’ll find yourself collecting a whole bunch of items, armour and weaponry which can then be equipped to your Patapon army. In between missions, you go back to a small hub world - where you can customise Patapons and just hang out with your tiny little friends.
Certain maps change after you’ve played them once, and that’s because you’re meant to play them again. Come back later with more stuff and better skills, and you might end up running off with even better loot on your second go. You’ll have to grind a couple levels out to get items and materials to evolve and activate different types of Patapons, but it’s honestly worth it. The grinding bit isn’t much fun, though.
You’ll often have to replay missions to get certain materials and items.
Patapon 2 Remastered is an upgrade to its PSP version, of course. You can now play up to native 4K (on the PS4 Pro). However, it’s worth noting that a couple cutscenes are still stuck in their original PSP resolutions, and look downright ugly on the big screen.
I also noticed that there’s a pretty irritating amount of input lag, meaning that it takes a little longer for the game to register an action when you’ve already pressed a button. In any other game, this would be a minor annoyance, but in a rhythm game? It’s particularly noticeable, and can even throw a wrench in your best laid plans when things get intense.
While Patapon 2 Remastered is endearing, this game is a completely unnecessary throwback to a time I had almost forgotten, and that makes me appreciate it just a little bit more. Patapons are adorable little creatures, and I’m sorry I never got to know them sooner. The music accompanying are real earworms, too. Even now, I still walk around the house muttering ‘pata pata pata pon’, irritating everyone I am with.
Unfortunately, in the midst of massive game releases like Dreams, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX and more, we have no shortage of adorable nostalgia. Patapon 2 Remastered barely cut it as a 2008 PSP game, but as a 2020 PlayStation 4 game? This is a remaster with barely any additions or fixes to speak of besides resolution; instead stuck with bad input lag and extremely dated game mechanics.
Fun for nostalgia-sake, but it hasn’t really aged well for newcomers.
PICTURES SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT