Patapon 2 is still, to this day, my favourite of the series and the one I reminisce about. Luckily, Sony knows how beloved this series and this game is and has slowly remastered a rereleased each game. However, the time between the first and second game being released on PlayStation 4 is worrisome (the first launched in 2017) and I’m hopeful we’ll see the third time before the end of the year. However, Patapon has always been a niche series so it could take longer, but the updated 4K visuals were worth the wait.
If you’ve never played a Patapon game, they are simple and wholly addicting once you get the flow of the gameplay. Marketed as a rhythmic game mixed with real-time strategy mechanics, you lead a tribe of small, one-eyed beings who march to the beat of your holy drum. These creatures teach you their tribal chants which you’ll use to move forward and conquer enemies in your path. As you progress, you learn more chants – one might increase damage resistance while another allows the use of miracles.
Playing as The Mighty One, you lead the Patapon to new land while dealing with the thread of the Karmen Tribe, a warring tribe of the Patapon. At the onset of Patapon 2, you only have access to one or two songs, and you’ll play to earn more songs.
Gameplay involves keeping the beat of the march going. You’ll time button presses to the drum, pressing the right button to make your characters move forward. Most songs are taught in four-button intervals; Pon, Pon, Pata, Pon is an example of battling it out against enemies while Pon, Pon, Pata, Pon moves your party forward. Each song is tied to the face buttons of the DualShock 4 and after several correct button presses, Fever activates, effectively doubling and tripling your score.
Fever also adds extra defence, stronger attacks for example and once you get the hand of how this works, you’ll be humming and tapping to the beat with ease.
Also, there is the new Hero character who comes with his abilities and ability to gain buffs through various masks. You’ll also be able to gather and equip new weapons as well, which may mean life or death in battle.
Also, the Patagate is where you’ll acquire special missions which offer Hero Masks, Komupons, equipment, and materials. Previously, this mode was multiplayer-only and you and up to three friends could play together but with the remaster, this is no longer the case and is instead strictly a single-player affair.
The biggest challenge is gaining an army and over the course of 20 hours, you’ll gain the necessary bodies to progress. Each time you head out to another level, you’ll pick three units and begin the mission. Every time you finish a stage, you’re able to upgrade your soldiers and watching them evolve is immensely satisfying in the long run, especially when facing a tough opponent that bested you previously. And you’ll backtrack in Patapon 2 Remastered to get stronger.
Completing a level in Patapon 2 Remastered, allows you to relay the same level at a higher difficulty, which offers more money for resources or weapons for your army. By incentivizing each level’s replayability, you’ll want to head back and try your luck at better gear.
As far as remasters go, this is a stellar transition from PlayStation Portable to PlayStation 4. Given the generational jump, the art style and graphics are gorgeous in 4K and gameplay is smooth. However, cutscenes feel antiquated, thankfully there aren’t as many of these.
What matters is being able to follow along to the beat of the music and the graphics are wonderful, clear, and crisp. If you lack any sense of rhythm, this game might not be for you but if you’re able to grasp the rhythm, this game will consume you.
All in all, this is a great remaster but there are two things that bothered me was the lack of auto-saving and the lack of being able to pause my game. I understand at the time this was alright but today, these two things should have been implemented. Pressing the PlayStation Home button is the best thing you can do to pause your game.
Aside from a few outdated mechanics, Patapon 2 Remastered is still a blast to play. If you need a game that will suck you in and keep you entertained for 20 hours – there is no better game. You’ll hum and sing along with the Patapon as they march to their new land. What stings is we haven’t seen a new game in the series in ages but with renewed interest and a new audience, I’m hopeful. Playing Patapon 2 Remastered is a blast start to finish, flaws and all this is a game worth checking out.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]