jl8e: (Default)
A worthwhile sequel needs to either expand on the original, taking it as a starting point and breaking new ground from there, or it has to refine the original, delivering an improved version of the original, while keeping it fresh.

Ideally, of course, it should do both.

The original Katamari Damacy was a mad, wonderful thing. Like most such things, it was pretty much complete in itself, leaving little new ground for a sequel. It combined solid gameplay mechanics with wonderfully warped chrome and a catchy and weird soundtrack. It knew what it was, and didn't try to do too much with it. My biggest complaint was that it was too short, but it probably would have worn out its welcome if it had been much longer. (And really, is leaving you wanting more that bad a thing?)

It's easily one of my favorite video games of all time.

(A quick summary for those of you who don't know the game: The King of All Cosmos, while on a gigantic bender, accidentally breaks all the stars in the sky. They need replacing, so he sends you, the Prince, down to Earth with a sticky ball called a katamari. You roll stuff up with the katamari. As you do, the katamari grows, allowing you to roll up bigger stuff. When it's big enough, he makes it into a star. Most of the time, you're trying to get a specific size or as many items of a specific type as you can in a given time limit. If you have a Playstation 2, it's well worth checking out. The sequels vary the excuse, but leave the gameplay intact.)

We Love Katamari had a hard act to follow, and it did so pretty well. It's mostly more of the same, but with some of the rough edges smoothed out, some interesting variations in the goals, and some new environments to roll around in.

(There was a version for the PSP, but I've never played it, so I'm going to ignore it here.)

Now we have Beautiful Katamari, bringing the series to the high-definition shininess of the XBox 360. Can it live up to the standards of the previous games?

To save the suspense, the answer is no. )


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