Review by BradRock

"Power Stone 2 supplies crazy fun"

Everytime I say the word “Powerstone” around friends who are into fighting games, I am met with rolled eyes, and groans. “The whole game is about being cheap!” they say. “All you have to do to win is jump around like a lunatic!” they claim. And my favorite, “Why would you play Powerstone when SoulCalibur exists?” My answer; because Powerstone is fun.

You know a fighting game is special when it has anime style graphics and can still attract the attention of a gamer like me, who rarely plays fighting games and doesn’t like anime. Powerstone was one of those games that just caught people’s attention, and Powerstone 2 carries on the tradition. Some hardcore gamers dismiss it as fluff, and in some respects, they’re right. Powerstone 2 is actually fairly deep, it just seems stupider than most fighting games because anyone can pick up the controller and maybe win a round or two. It’s actually a little unfair to group the Powerstone series with other fighters because of how different it really is.

First of all, the game is in true 3D. Not like games such as Soul Calibur, or Tekken Tag Tournament, where the characters are always facing each other. Powerstone games let you run around wherever you want, and let you interact with the environment in amazing ways. Second of all, there are no real special moves in the Power Stone games. Just about every action you take can be done in one or two button presses. This makes the game much more accessible to gamers with less time available to learn complicated combo systems. Powerstone’s uniqueness is what really makes it shine but it has other things going for it as well.

The graphics in Powerstone 2 are amazingly sharp with absolutely no noticeable slowdown, even when absolute chaos is occurring on screen. The environments are huge, colorful, interactive affairs that actually transform as the fight progresses. Some problems arise however when the fighters are at different areas of the stage and the camera zooms out far to get everything on screen. This, unfortunately, makes things seem very tiny, and at times makes it difficult to distinguish your fighter from others. The fighters themselves look great, especially considering they have lower polygon counts than most fighting game characters. All the character designs are definitely anime derived so this may be a turn off to some gamers, but a lot of people love it. Personally I think the fighters from the original game (All of whom have returned for the sequel) look fine, but the new guys may be a little too wacky for their own good. The insane chef, the proper Englishwoman complete with parasol, and the little boy who turns into a robot who shoots lasers out of it’s nipples are perfect examples of the wackiness that ensues during your average Powerstone Match.

The sound in this game is purely average. There aren’t any tunes that will get stuck in your head but it’s plenty adequate. The sound effects fit the action perfectly, as well, but the voice acting is a little questionable. All of the characters speak Japanese but a lot of them just sound goofy. Take Jack, the mummy guy, for instance has a much higher pitched voice than in the original game and it just doesn’t sound right. Overall though the sound will neither detract nor add, significantly to the experience of playing.

Where the game lacks a bit is in its replay value. The adventure mode is great fun… once. Once you’ve completed it, you feel no real reason to go back and play it again especially when multiplayer is so much fun. The same goes for arcade mode as well. Capcom has attempted to add more appeal to the single player adventure mode by adding earnable bonus items through playing adventure mode. The problem is that the item shop, which is used to purchase these bonus items, is unnecessarily complicated and involves a process of mixing items that will send many gamers running for a FAQ in an effort to avoid all of the trial and error involved. It’s still nice to see this feature in there, however, just don’t expect anything as good as Marvel Vs. Capcom 2’s shop.

Overall, its hard to recommend Powerstone 2 as a single player experience, but if you’re into multiplayer gaming this one could be right for you. Next time you have three friends or enemies over, give this game a rent and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Sure it may not be as good as the similarly themed Super Smash Bros.for N64, but Powerstone 2 still supplies some crazy fun.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/20/00, Updated 06/14/01

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