Review by Trixter800
"Worth the pokos."
Pikmin was a new Nintendo series to the GameCube, and though it was no Super Mario 64, Wind Waker, or Super Smash Bros. Melee, it had developed almost a cult fanbase - not too many have played it, but most who thought adored the game. However, even the Pikmin fans agreed that there were a few flaws, one being the mandatory timer that gave you an unavoidable game-over after 30 in-game days, which for even a decently seasoned gamer, was a bit of a challenge, another was the shortness of the game, and lack of replay value and other modes to extend it. Well, Pikmin 2 addressed these problems in every way possible, expanding the game to be amazingly long, filled with hundreds of treasures, in-game days that can last to real-world hours, and though you had a goal to reach, the timer was eliminated. They even added two multi-player modes, one for co-op, and one for competitive. They also added several elements to the game without killing the Pikmin spirit, such as "true" bosses, new Pikmin species, and new enemies.
The story begins with a short little cut-scene involving the President, who realizes that a treasure that you brought back was worth a pretty penny, or in this game, "poko", the game's currency. Olimar, who works in a fictional universe where space travel is possible, found out that another member lost a huge shipment he was supposed to deliver, who claims he was attacked by a rabid space bunny. Although the stories in Nintendo are not the strong suit, you do unlock some cut-scenes, mostly for a bit of humor, irony, and completion satisfaction, near the end of the game. The cut-scenes, though, are great in ths visual department, some of the best out there on a 6th Generation game.
You then begin with the tutorial stage. You are introduced to Pikmin, for if you didn't play the last game, are funny little creatures who, while not too strong, can pack amazing strength in numbers. You, as Olimar, and in this game you now can switch between two pilots - Louie, also, - and direct them. You can direct the entire mob in a direction, or pick one up and toss it, by moving a cursor, individually. They can be used to perform several functions, such as directing or tossing them at a certain wall will have them work to knock it down, or placing enough of them on a giant, brown paper bag will cause it to deflate, and you can now cross it. But most importantly, and dangerously, against enemies, most are colossal, colorful creatures, which may eat your precious Pikmin. However, a group of several Pikmin and a skilled captain can take them down. The goal of the game is to collect several treasures, which are simply giant, glorified every-day items such as rubber ducks, vegetables, and batteries. Each one has a specific "poko" worth, and your goal is to collect a total of 10,000 to complete the game.
So, you may ask. What happens if you lose all your Pikmin? Never fear! They use a mother-ship, a tri-legged pod known as an Onion, to breed. You can bring certain pellets found around the stage as well as enemy corpses, to your Onion, and it will suck it in through a small little tractor beam, and release seeds, and in a few seconds, will sprout and you can pick them. But the thing about it is you will find not just one Pikmin. There are blue, yellow, and red, all possessing different abilities. Yellow can fly high as well as resist electricity found in electric gates and certain beetles, red are slightly more powerful and can resist fire from mini-volcanos, and blue can walk through and go underwater. New to the franchise are white and purple Pikmin. Only found in small quantities underground, they are limitied in numbers and can't breed normally. However, they White can resist Poison, run faster, and scout out underground treasures. Purple Pikmin can lift several times their weight, at the cost of being slightly slower than the rest of the gang. You can, however, only bring up to 100 Pikmin total on the field and once, requiring you to strategize how you want to spread out your reserves.
The game is set on one of four selectable, large stages, which is on a world which is filled with giant creatures, which can be compared, to you being only a few centimeters tall on planet Earth. Though there are treasures above ground, you'll find you'll nab them quickly. So where to? Underground! Introducing the underground caves to the game, you can enter them and time will freeze. The enemies differ, and you go down in a floor like sequence, small slices of land which you fully explore, then venture down to the next floor. They vary from a simple 2 floors, all the way into the whopping teens. On the final floor, shown to you by an impressive, sadistic orchestral fanfare, is the boss, which often appears by complete surprise filled in with loud noises, and a huge boss, some, where you are two times smaller than it's very eye. There's usually many methods to conquering a boss, where you can either mix-and-match or try and stick to a straight strategy. Each strategy has it's own pros and cons, varying from an easy death at the cost of a heavy dent in your army, and risk of death, to depleting your very rare potions found in-game for a quick and safe hit.
Speaking of potions, they also introduce to the game ultra-spicy and ultra-bitter berries. You can gather them above ground using your Pikmin, and gather 10 and you'll get a potion. The ultra-spicy spray buffs your Pikmin, greatly increasing strength and speed, and the ultra-bitter temporarily petrifies your enemy in stone. Using these wisely can help you in a tough situation and gathering these before a long dungeon can really aid you.
The game has wonderful visuals, and like I said before, takes place in what would look like a "super-sized Earth". The grass is greatly detailed, the enemies are given a colorful, but distinct charm, and lots of plants there adding to the atmosphere. You can see simple things like plant pots, paper bags, manholes, puddles, and marbles, which change greatly as you look at them from a smaller view, to towers, obstacles, giant metal plazas, lakes, and great treasures respectfully.
The atmosphere is topped off which wonderful music, and though while not catchy or memorable in any way, add to the mood of the game, to the amazing orchestral fanfare of conquering a boss, to the creepy dungeon music, and the sweet little forest tunes you go walking about the main-land. The music is truly phenomenal, and something that really adds to the games immersion. There's also the crunching on leaves on the ground, roar of grand enemies, and wind all to be heard just as you would if you were in this extraordinary world.
Overall, Pikmin 2 is a great improvement on the first. Featuring wonderfully improved visuals, and what seemed impossible to improve on audio, as well as a cute little story to go along. The gameplay is beefed up with seemingly infinite treasures, four large stages, and dozens of dungeons to venture through. Several new factors also contribute to the game, such as the lack of timers, new Pikmin species, and berry collecting.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/14/09
Game Release: Pikmin 2 (US, 08/30/04)
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