Review by vihena

"Girls love this game! Seriously! That means it's FUN!"

The first Katamari Damacy was deemed one of the best Playstation 2 titles you could possibly own. The gameplay was entirely new and unique. Never seen before. Incredibly simple, and addictively fun. We Love Katamari is no different. If you haven't played the first one, NOW is the time. If there is only one PS2 game I would ever recommend, it would have to be Katamari. It's also on the top 10 list of favorites for girl gamers!

Gameplay 9/10
How is this different from the first Katamari Damacy? It's no different at all. The objective is to take a ball that can get stuff stuck to it, and roll it up. Starting with small objects to increase the ball's size to roll up bigger and bigger objects within the time limit. It sounds incredibly simple, but because of this unique little gameplay, it's incredibly (and surprisingly) fun! You start off rolling up small things like paper-clips and 4-leaf clovers, but eventually, you start rolling up small animals, such as mice, cats, varieties of dogs, and you get big enough to roll up larger objects, like household appliances, and people. It's very funny to hear these people scream comically. Some of them sound like they even enjoy being rolled up. Eventually you get even bigger and start picking up automobiles, large animals (like giraffes and elephants) buildings, houses, and bridges. For the hardcore gamers, extra challenge is presented to find all the presents and the cousins in each level. The game is overall, a lot easier to beat than the first one. Meeting the objectives is a lot easier for the casual gamer. There isn't much frustration involved. It's just plain fun. If you're hardcore enough to play all the way through and unlock absolutely everything, be prepared to spend about 100 hrs or more on it (mind you, 99% of the objectives can be done in 30 or so hrs). The cooperative multiplayer aspect of the game is a great addition as well, if you have a significant other that you'd like to play with, or a good gaming partner. One player controls the left side of the Katamari, while the other player controls the right side. They both have to keep in constant communication to determine which direction the Katamari will ultimately go. There is also a speed bonus with playing multiplayer - they move twice as fast as a single player game.

How much fun is this game? Here's the keyline - My wife rarely plays video games. She was hooked onto this for two weeks straight, putting in at least 30 hrs total. She's addicted to the wonderful gameplay.

Controls 6/10
Although the type of control for this game is necessary, it's by no means the best. It's very much like steering a tank, where your left analog stick controls the left track, and the right stick controls the right stack. You push both analog sticks up to move forward, push down on both of them to go down, and push up left/right on both to go left/right, or down left/right on both of them to back up left/right. If you pull one analog stick up, and one analog stick down, you'll do sharper turns. Unfortunately, to get good at the game, you must learn how to properly do sharp turns, otherwise you'll end up frustratingly hitting a lot of walls and objects, and lose some of the things you've picked up. Also worth noting is that the turning circle of Katamari Damacy 2 is not as good as Katamari Damacy 1. The controls in 2 are smoother, and you don't wobble as much, but the turns are harder to make. You'll find many casual gamers twisting their arms, and leaning to one side until they fall off their seat (which is quite entertaining to watch).

Graphics ?/10
I really can't rate the graphics. Mainly because it's obviously intentional that they chose such blocky characters, and 2 frame animations. However, as a comparison with Katamari 1, The graphics have improved slightly. You can tell that the textures are sharper, more high resolution. The characters are also a little bit more animated than the previous one. Polycount hoever, is still pretty much the same. This goes for objects as well as people. The lighting is pretty flat, and hasn't really been improved. The overall style and look is very cartoonish, with a low production look to it. Some may feel cheated that so little was put in the graphics, while others will be entertained by how it meshes well with the game.

Sound 5/10
The sound effects in this game are humorous and simple. It gets the job done. They're not outstanding, but it meshes well with the environment. There is no ambient noise, and creatures do not make noise until you pick them up. The only things that seem to make sounds before you pick them up are police officers who try to shoot your ball when you get to a certain size - which can be annoying, and you want to pick them up right away to stop the annoyance. When you pick something up, you hear a cartoonishly satisfying "shloop!" noise, no matter what size the object happens to be. There are various tones to this, to prevent repetitive annoyance.

Music 9/10
The music has always been a major highlight with Katamari Damacy 1, Katamari Damacy 2 is no different. The tunes are soothing, and upbeat. There is a large enough variety of music that you won't get bored. There are one or two tracks that I find gratingly annoying, but they suit the environment and style well. Fortunately, there is a BGM selection. The game recommends a track, that you can switch to any other track that you've already listened to (so you have to unlock tracks as you go). The very wonderful thing is that almost all the BGM can be applied to any other level, and it gives a completely different feel for the level. Some may argue that the first Katamari Damacy has better music, but that's up to you to decide.

Experience 9/10
Overall, the experience of Katamari Damacy 2 is much better than the first one. With all these extra modes of gameplay, you won't get bored of it. The amount of crazy whacky things that you can pick up (like a cat wearing a diving mask underwater) is very entertaining. I've had a captivated audience of 15 people (most of which aren't even gamers) watch one person play, fully entertained.

Differences between the first and second Katamari:
Katamari Damacy 1's main objectives were almost always time limit based. Make your Katamari a certain size before the time runs out to complete your objective.
Katamari 2 is roughly the same, but there are extensions to those objectives. One example is the Campfire stage, where you control a big ball of flame. The objective is to get the ball of fire big enough to take to the bonfire location and start a nice huge campfire. The ball will continually lose its flame, so you must pick up objects to keep the flame alive. Living beings cannot be picked up, but you can light them on fire. They run comically.
Katamari 1 had about 3 different stages - the house, around town, and the world. Katamari 2 offers way more variety of stages, including inside a school, a racetrack, underwater, a flower paradise, and a gingerbread house, witch included. The "World" has now been broadened to include monuments around the world.

Overall 9/10
Do not bother renting this game. BUY IT. It's totally worth it. The first one was worth it as well for the outstanding price. If you liked the first one, you will LOVE the second one. There is absolutely nothing disappointing about this game. Any gamer, no matter what favorite genre, will like this game if they give it a chance. It truly is that great.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/26/05

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