Review by hanafuda

"A worthy sequel, but liable to provoke physical violence."

The Pikmin games deserve praise simply because they are almost unique. If you are looking for something different then one of the Pikmin games comes highly recommended. Pikmin 2 is no exception, but it isn't without its flaws.

Anyone that has played the first game will be familiar with the basic concept. Find the different coloured Pikmin, each colour with its own special attributes, then use them to carry out your will. This sequel adds two new colours that weren't in the original game. This adds variety and a number of new strategy elements. A simple yet worthy addition that works well.

In addition to that there are various tweaks here and there, plus the addition of cave sections, which don't really offer much other than an increase in different environments and the length of time necessary to complete the challenge.

Visuals don't make a game, but even so, the eye candy on offer here is very well done. Greater interaction with the different environments would have been nice, but it isn't a big complaint. Regardless of the amount of on screen action the frame rate remains high, and everything runs smoothly.

The close range camera angle seems to serve no purpose at all other than allowing the player to admire the detail that has gone into the game. Other than that it seems superfluous in practical terms.

No complaints about the challenge on offer either. An expanded main game plus additional modes that are unlocked as you progress through the main game. If you plan on clearing the main game and the challenge mode, then expect to spend over 30 hours doing so. In addition to that, new bosses and enemies can be tricky to beat in places, and there are sufficient hurdles to overcome. The later stages of the game will challenge skilled players, while the earlier stages can be handled by less experienced gamers.

There are no real complaints in terms of audio, but the sound of Pikmin being thrown can get irritating quickly, and the option to reduce the sound effects volume is very welcome. Music wise there is nothing memorable here, but what is on offer usually suits the surrounding terrain well. To be honest though, this isn't a game you will want to blast through a powerful sound system.

All fairly positive so far. However, what lets this game down are the unresponsive controls. You will find yourself pressing the same button multiple times just to get the action you want. For example, the B button is used to call Pikmin, but it is incredibly unresponsive. Not only that, but the number of times you press the A button in order to throw Pikmin does not relate to the number of Pikmin thrown. Why not? For example, if know you need to throw 10 Pikmin onto an item, and press the A button 10 times quickly, you will only throw around 7 or 8 Pikmin. This in itself is very frustrating, especially so in frantic encounters.

The X button is used to disband the Pikmin under your control, but again it is unresponsive, and its effects are erratic at best. Often you will find that you press X to disband your Pikmin, only to find one or two still under your control. More often that not this leads to them being killed, which further enhances the frustration.

Other minor issues also lead to potential hair loss. Why to Pikmin fall over for no reason? Why is this even in the game? If Pikmin do this while you are being chased by an enemy, they will almost always die. Things like this should have been removed from the game as they serve no purpose other than to frustrate the player.

The game life has been extended when compared to the first game, but to be honest a lot of the later areas of the main story are very lazy, and you find yourself having to fight bosses you have already beaten earlier in the proceedings. This just feels like padding, and doesn't offer anything new.

In summary, this is a solid, challenging, and generally well made game. However, it is let down by incredibly frustrating control issues, and some really irritating gameplay aspects that should have been removed completely. Even so, it is an improvement over the original game, and definitely worth a purchase. Just don't play it if you suffer from a heart condition.

If they had resolved the control issues, and removed some of the more irritating aspects, this would get 9 out of 10. As it stands, it gets 7 out of 10.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/24/04

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