Review by Crazee Boy
"Pikmin 2 is one of the GameCube's finest games, and it blows the first Pikmin away."
One of the launch titles for the GameCube, as many know, was an original series named Pikmin. Pikmin was a quirky game in which you played as Captain Olimar, a thimble-sized spaceman who crash landed on an uncharted planet. When all hope seemed lost, he found the minuscule Pikmin, cute little plant-like creatures which, though weak individually, were powerful in numbers.
Pikmin provided a very fun real-time strategy experience, and despite being a bit frustrating, was one of my favorite GameCube games.
Pikmin 2 fixes many of the original's problems. No longer is there a thirty day time limit, Pikmin can now be saved from being set on fire, and and the new Purple Pikmin make combat quite a bit easier. It also adds many good new things. Among the most important are caves for you to explore, and the addition of a second character, making multi-tasking easier.
First off, the presentation. Pikmin 2 has beautiful outdoor environments, with falling petals, snow, etcetera. Glorious, high-resolution textures are everywhere, and even the semi-simplistic Pikmin and enemies look great.
Water is reflective and reacts realistically to motion, and other effects, such as mist, dust, and overall shininess are well done. Add that to no slowdown whatsoever, despite all the movement onscreen, and you have a visually pleasing game.
The music is nice, and fitting of the areas you're in. It's also a bit dynamic, for example, when enemies are around, or if your Pikmin are carrying things. While the music above ground is somewhat upbeat and soft, the music in caves is a bit darker, and more in the background, though it's very fitting.
The sound in Pikmin 2 can be a bit grating at times. Your Pikmin make adorable chants and squeaks as they go about their tasks, and enemies also have fitting sounds. The grating part comes in with the Treasure Gauge. Once you find this item, which beeps when you're close to treasure, makes you want to shoot your speakers. It's impossibly annoying, and can't be turned off! A constant, teeth-grinding beeping as you try to concentrate, but thankfully, during boss battles, it's muted.
Pikmin 2 has an excellent control scheme. It's somewhat awkward at first, but it works very well. You move with the control stick, move your squad with the c-stick, toss and pluck Pikmin with A, blow your whistle with B, switch characters with Y, order your Pikmin to separate by color with X, and adjust the camera with R. As I said, it's cumbersome at first, but once you're used to it, you'll be moving your multi-colored friends swiftly!
Pikmin 2's gameplay doesn't differ too much from the first game. The controls, combat, growing, and carrying is quite similar. The premise of the first game was to collect Olimar's ship parts, but in Pikmin 2, the mission is money, not survival. You must collect "treasures", which are actually garbage and scrap, such as crushed soda cans, lockets, toys, and even Coke bottle lids! A new feature of Pikmin 2 is caves. These caves often stretch very deep into the planet, and hold mounds of treasures, and enemies to make your life miserable. However, thankfully, time stands still above ground while you're in a cave, making it possible to enter a cave with only a few seconds left during the day. This really makes it a lot easier to make the most of your time.
Of course, without the Pikmin, you wouldn't be able to do much. The Pikmin themselves were originally only in red, yellow, and blue. Pikmin 2 adds purples and whites. The reds are fire resistant, yellows are electricity resistant, blues can go into the water without drowning, purples are extremely heavy and have the strength of ten regular pikmin, and whites can see treasure hidden below ground, are poison resistant, and poison enemies if eaten.
The story is somewhat simple. In the time that Olimar is on the Pikmin planet, the company he works for, Hocotate Freight, has gone into severe debt. When he returns, his ship is immediately repossessed, and the company's ship, which has a smart-mouthed computer in it, scans a bottle cap that Olimar brought back as a souvenir. The computer appraises it as worth 100 Pokos, which the president of Hocotate Freight exclaims is over a year's salary. So, the president sends Captain Olimar and the newest employee, Louie, to the Pikmin planet to find more treasure and erase Hocotate Freight's 10,000 Poko debt.
Pikmin 2 adds multiplayer to the formula, and while it doesn't take anything away from it, it's a lot like the multiplayer in Metroid Prime 2: Unnecessary and tacked-on. I admit, it can be fun for a few rounds. And come on, you know you've always wanted to know what two clashing Pikmin armies is like! But it gets old, fast.
The challenge mode, which is unlocked after a certain event in the single-player game, is fun, and it can be played co-operatively with a second player. This, I admit, is very fun, and helpful, since the ultimate secret of the game requires you to complete all of the numerous challenges without any Pikmin deaths, a daunting task on your own.
Pikmin 2 is a very satisfying game, and even if you didn't play the original, you don't really need to to know the story. And if you were turned off by the original's issues, like the time limit, or how difficult combat is, then you should at least rent or borrow Pikmin 2. Give it a try, because it really does blow the original away...
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/16/07
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