Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 (PS3) Review
Kalvin Martinez / Nov 25th, 2014 No Comments
“Pac is back!” That was the tagline for Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures at E3 2013. The excitement seemed palpable around the area for the game. Colorful booth attendants hyped up the game, and people lined up to take a photo with Pac-Man. Everything felt great. — until you played the demo for the game.
Despite the first game’s obvious failings, Pac-Man is back for more. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is not rotten like the first one, but everything about it feels uninspired.
Pac is Back (Again)
Lord Betrayus is up to his old schemes again, but they are literally the same schemes as before. He has designs to destroy PacWorld again using the same plays from the first game. The one wrinkle is this time he kidnaps Pac-Man’s parents to coerce Pac-Man to do some nebulous action to let him win. It is up to Pac-Man, Cyli and Spiral to stop Betrayus and save Pac’s parents.
Much of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2’s story is recycled from the first game. Pac-Man fights bosses from the first game and goes to the same places. Revisiting elements from previous games isn’t always bad, but being the second game of the series, it is lazy here. Perhaps worse than treading familiar ground is the game’s lackluster plot. As players progress through the game, they might as well be playing a collection of levels without any story at all, and learning about the high school presentation of the game makes the world highly disturbing.
What is Happening?
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is a puzzling experience. Instead of the gameplay experience we expect from a Pac-Man game, it is a 3D platformer. Pac-Man can jump, chomp and spook ghosts with his basic control set. Scaring ghosts is ineffective, and you will forget it is an option most of the time. Controls are decently responsive in most cases, but there are spots when they fight against you, mainly with power-ups.
Since most of the game will not be spent as vanilla Pac-Man, the controls become an issue. Pac-Man can utilize a wide array of power-ups to get through levels. He can use fire, ice, rubber, magnet, chameleon and granite power-ups to augment his voracious appetite for ghosts. Many of the power-ups are a chore to use thanks to poor controls and the camera, the game’s biggest problem.
In 2014, there is no excuse for a good full control camera in a 3D game. Any issues with the controls would be solved by the ability to reposition the camera at will. Instead, the fixed camera causes more issues than it solves. The worst offense is that the camera often makes figuring out what to do in a level difficult. It causes you not to know where to go, and it is not aided by sloppy level design in which everything looks the same.
If there is one bright spot in the game is when Pac-Man chomps on ghosts. He zips from enemy to enemy, racking up bonus points and chomping on them with a satisfying crunch. It feels good to eat enemies. Still, the game does not bring up the warm, fuzzy feeling we get playing classic Pac-Man. It elicits an existential crisis. What is happening in this game?
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is playable, which sadly is the most you can say for it. Much of the experience is marred by bland level design, uninteresting gameplay and a bad camera. The attempts at incorporating modern 3D platforming techniques and power-ups feel clunky.
Unlike most beloved gaming mascots, Pac-Man is the least flexible in terms of transporting himself into a different style of game. A good rule of thumb is if Pac-Man is anthropomorphized, then chances are the experience will be unpleasant.
tags: Bandai Namco Games , Pac-Man , Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 , ps3 , review