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Prinny 2: Dawn Of Operation Panties, Dood! review

£34.99

Manufacturer: Nippon Ichi Software

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5

Prinny returns to the PSP for more platform adventures. Hopefully the game will be better than the title.

To the inhabitants of the Disgaea universe, the Prinny isn't a creature held in high regard. And why would it be? According to the series' mythology, these highly-combustible penguin-like creatures are what evil-doers become once they die and pass on to the afterlife. But to the video game players of our universe, the Prinny has always been a lovable underdog, and their first video game was both unique and tough-as-nails. After the release of the sequel, however, many of those same people may start to see the Prinnies in the same light asDisgaea's population.

First, let me set the record straight: Prinny 2: Operation Panties, Dood! definitely isn't the worst game you'll ever play. That being said, it may very well be the hardest. Gamers who assume they understand Prinny 2's difficulty due to their familiarity with the first title, you will be in for a rude awakening upon starting this sequel. While Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? was renowned for being hard, it could be overcome with tight, focused play. It reinforced your understanding of what a "hardcore" gamer was, and its difficulty always felt fair. Unfortunately, that's not the case with the sequel.

The first telling sign that Prinny 2 has the potential to be frustrating - and I'm talking ramming-a-sharpened-pencil-into-your-eyeball frustrating - is its allotment of 1000 lives. That's right, your peg-legged, flammable fowl can kick the bucket 1000 times before the game makes you stop playing.

And if you think that this is Nippon Ichi's attempt at some sort of joke, it isn't - you will need nearly every one of those lives to complete this title. Now, the original Prinny also gave you 1000 lives at the start, but you didn't need nearly as many of those exploding avians due to its more even-handed nature. So why does Prinny 2 cause you to die so frequently?

First, Prinny 2's level design is poor: randomness and unforeseeable hazards, which weren't issues in the original, are commonplace in this game, and where skill and perseverance allowed players to succeed in the first game, blind luck and irrational fortitude may eventually lead to success in the sequel. Ultimately, it feels like the developers simply used those 1000 lives as a crutch so they could get away with lazy level design.

The game's control scheme is also suspect. The double-jump, which seems to have become a platforming staple these days, offers a very limited amount of manipulation. Once your Prinny's peg-legs leave the ground, you are unable to move while in the air. This isn't the first game to utilize such a jumping mechanic - the original Prinny also employed this - but with such poorly conceived levels players really need the ability to continue maneuvering their character out of the way of off-screen enemies' attacks.

Despite these criticisms, fans of the first game should be able to find things to like about the sequel. On occasion, you will still come across levels that are laid out in a manner where you feel like you're in control of your success, and it's those stages that will most remind players of how much fun the original Prinny was. Additionally, when you're able to unleash a series of devastating combos on a group of unsuspecting foes, it almost feels like you're enacting revenge on the game that caused you to break so many of the items sitting near you while you played.

The game is also filled with lots of unique personality and charm, and although the humor can sometimes feel overly immature - and I love toilet humour - it still retains a tone that often seems fleeting in today's games. In the end, it's worth noting that this game will likely only appeal to hardcore series fans and masochists. But for those gamers looking for an incredible challenge and yearning for a bygone era of gaming, these flightless birds could be just the thing for you.

Next page: Our expert verdict

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