Pata Pata Pata Pon....2!

You can say what you want about Sony Computer Entertainment’s first-party games, but you can’t fault them for being unartistic. In fact, they’ve got a reputation for off-beat games that goes all the way back to the launch of the original PlayStation, a fact brought to the forefront once again with Patapon, which hit stores in February and charmed the pants off PSP owners worldwide. Sony and Patapon designer Hiroyuki Kotani aren’t waiting around for the afterglow to fade away from their efforts, though – they’re already working on a sequel, and it could be in our hands as early as this winter.

“We had been thinking about a sequel ever since we were working on the overseas version of the original,” Kotani (whose previous work includes overlooked PS2 puzzle game Bombastic) told Weekly Famitsu magazine. “I wanted to make a sequel, and I was thinking about how best to go about it. We had a few different directions in mind when [SCE producer Junichi] Yoshizawa finally ordered us to make a multiplayer game in the Patapon universe.”

Without a doubt, four-player ad-hoc multiplayer is the biggest new addition to the Patapon sequel, tentatively titled Patapon 2. The idea behind the co-op multiplayer mode is simple. In Patapon 2’s single-player story mode, you’ll occasionally come across giant eggs – some of which contain helpful items, some of which hold smaller eggs inside. In order to hatch these suckers, you’ll have to team up with other players and navigate a special enemy-laden multiplayer battleground, using the traditional pata-pata-pata-pon drumbeat to heft the egg forward and defending it whenever monsters loom nearby. Once you arrive at the special egg-hatching altar at the end of the field, all four players will perform a hatching ceremony, a sort of tribal drumline where everyone has to match their rhythms together to crack open the egg.

As Kotani put it to Weekly Famitsu, the original Patapon lacked multiplayer because he thought it would be too hard for players to come to grips with. “You control a lot of characters at once in Patapon, so we thought multiplayer would be too difficult to deal with,” he says. “You wouldn’t have any idea which fighers were under your control. That’s where the Hero Patapon come in.” These Hero Patapon, amusingly enough, play a similar role to the “heroes” in real-time strategy games like Warcraft III – they’re a central unit to your Patapon army, a very powerful character that can be further customized and strengthened with the special items you earn in multiplayer. “[The Hero Patapon] are strong, but the enemies are just as strong this time,” Kotani notes. “There are lots more bosses and midboss-type enemies this time. We’ve got about double the amount of content to explore, just in terms of the number of stages alone. Add the customization options to that, and to be honest, you may never get to fully explore every bit of it.”

Patapon 2 has a release date set for winter in Japan, although no international release plans have been announced yet. “I’d like to get people playing this as quickly as possible,” Kotani commented. “People really liked the game when it debuted, and I don’t want people forgetting about it if we disappear for too long.”

Here’s some scans from a magazine that shows images from the sequel

Anyone else excited?

Apparently not!

Is this really the only Patapon 2 thread? The game has been released in Europe, along with a PSP demo for the first iteration. So I got both games and I’m currently drumming my way through the first one.

Which brings me to a point that has been raised several times in the (much livelier) original thread: the first game is really incredibly fucking hard. I’m currently at the desert level, and while I got the miracle working during the tutorial I have yet to keep the beat once I’ve entered the actual desert. Reports of more difficult grinding ahead do not fill me with confidence.

So has anyone played the second game, and can comment on the relative repetitiveness and difficulty?

I loved the idea of the original Patapon, but I got stuck about halfway through. It is one hell of a grind, and whilst I get the rhythm down fairly consistently and can usually get fever mode, it’s still hard as a bastard. It’s seriously punishing, time-consuming, and demands a lot of attention - not ideal when you’re on the move. I’d like to go back and finish it, but it kicks my ass.

I remember the desert level, and it took me about 10 goes to realise I had to equip the rain drum before I set out, and another few to figure out I needed to be in fever mode to fire it up - it’s not either of those things tripping you up, is it?

Not played number two, but if it’s as much of a slog as I found the first one, I might not be able to stomach it.

I wonder how many people got to that desert level and stopped playing. It’s the hardest part of the game by far. Especially since there’s no real indication of what you’re supposed to be doing.

I beat the first one all the way through and loved it. Best portable game of 2008 for me. I’m very excited for the sequel.

I’m excited, I guess, or at least as much as I can be for a game that’s apparently not yet released in the US.

All in all, it’s really not that hard of a game, although you do have to grind some for some better Patapons (The Level 4 + Level 3 power patapons ones are definitely worth saving for). But even so I finished the game in somewhere under 10 hours, IIRC. I can see it causing you trouble if you have no rhythm, but even then a bit of practice should sort you out; it’s certainly less difficult than something like Guitar Hero.

If you’re stuck, sometimes it helps to check out youtube. I was completely crushed by the Rain Song at first, as I’d somehow convinced myself that I should use the Dom drum the whole way through, but it’s only used to get the ritual started… D’oh! I tried all sorts of rhythm variations to no avail, and almost gave up in frustration before youtube set me straight.

Those requirements had me stumped for a while, too, but right now it’s about hitting the don don-don don-don rhythm while in fever mode. I was also stupid enough to use the marching and attacking songs until I was already in the desert which meant that my little army got wiped out by fire when I failed the rain miracle. Guess I should use the defense song instead so that everyone stands still at the desert entrance, and I can retry as often as I like.

You will also likely have to restart the Rain Ritual at least once after you cross into the desert. If you’re having trouble holding fever, I recommend starting the Rain Ritual every time you can – losing Fever right before the Rain Ritual ends spells certain doom! It is very tempting to pelt the Snail with Triple Arrows while in Fever though…

Thanks, that’s exactly what I did and finally got through the desert! I see that the desert stage is now opened up for hunting… is that a joke? Hunting while constantly making rain? :(

Also beat the next area after the desert, and the first boss at level 2. My guys are still too weak for the newly accessible third boss, though… and I’m out of materials for new ones. Ugh. I’m not looking forward to grinding for meat and stones and twigs. Maybe I’ll just skip ahead to the second game now. Wonderful concept, shame about the implementation.

There are some ridiculous difficulty spikes in the first game. I’m not sure how far through I got but it was a fair way past the desert level (which is actually really good for hunting).

Also the rain miracle reduces the chance that animals will smell your approaching Patapons so it’s useful in the earlier hunting stages to catch any creatures that would normally run away.

Also you have to grind the bosses ALOT. I think the game has more grind than WoW.

Not tried Patapon 2. I’m not sure I’m masochistic enough.

No, that difficult desert stage you completed is pretty much the hardest part of the game. The hunting area there does not require you to perform the rain miracle.

Keep trying the original game you’re over the hump!

I actually made it through the desert in the first game after many tries. I stalled hard at the windmill level and gave up there.

The game was cute and fun but had some horrible feedback issues. It was never very obvious what one was doing wrong, as we’ve already discussed about the desert. Required a ton of trial and error sometimes, and the grindiness finally wore me down. I wanted to love patapon because it was so stylish and unique but I couldn’t tolerate any more grind. If Patapon 2 can either dial down the difficulty or dial up the feedback I’d be all over it.

The Windmill was brutal, and later on I got crushed by the pre-end boss, thinking I was getting completely owned, when I had in fact nearly prevailed.

I like that it’s difficult, and makes you mix up your strategy. The windmill for example, merely requires trying a few different strategies, and the obvious change up wins the day.

I don’t like that it’s grindy, but at the end of the day it’s really not all that grindy, as the missions/mini-games are quick and you swiftly get good loot. Saying it’s more grindy than WoW is one of the worst exaggerations I’ve ever heard – I mean, I finished the entire game in under 10 hours.

The Grind feels grindier than in WoW was my point. There may be a lot more of it in WoW but it stops being fun much faster in Patapon.

Put me in the camp that had a hard time with the grind in the first Patapon. I really did want to love the thing, but the difficulties I had in the desert and the grinding I felt like I had to do to beat the bosses just got to the point that I had to give up. I also apparently suffer from White Guy’s Disease, which means I have absolutely no rhythm, which means that I frequently end up losing my FEVER! status, which is why The Desert almost persuaded me to throw my expensive handheld device through the wall. It would be nice if they had a special Extra Retard Setting you could turn on that would give you visual prompts for the rhythm (you know, more obvious than the weird little screen pulse thing).

Of course, I’ll probably still end up buying the sequel, but I kind of expect to be disappointed.

But yeah - the grind feels particularly exaggerated in that game for me because I end up needing a specific brand of high-end material, which requires me to complete an increasingly-difficult boss encounter. The hunting was…okay, but after a few trips through the same background it loses a lot of its charm for me. It’s like playing Rock Band, but with a bow and arrow and you can’t ever choose a different song. Once the visuals stop being interesting (which they do about the seventh time you chase down the same bubble chicken and oval cow), it just gets very, very repetitive for me.

Oh, I definitely agree it gets repetitive. I was pretty much done with it by the time I beat it.

Patapon 2 apparently has a difficulty setting, which might make it more approachable if you had a hard time maintaining fever. You really do need to be able to maintain fever for extended periods to have much fun with Patapon, otherwise I can see how it’d be just frustration city.

Hunted a bit more, still couldn’t beat the third boss. Am I guessing correctly that you need to make it rain to weaken him?

Just checked the manual for Patapon 2, it does indeed have three difficulty levels. I don’t know if they relaxed the timing or adjusted creature hitpoints, either way would be a huge relief.

I read somewhere (gamefaqs?) that the easier level had relaxed timing, and the harder level was more precise than the original. The difficulty in starting the new “Hero Mode” was also affected, some sort of new rhythm power up beyond keeping fever, tied to getting beats precisely on.

I don’t recall Rain having any affect on the bosses. IIRC the 3rd boss is the giant worm thing? If so, the primary trick for me was making sure you were defending when it did it’s earthquake thrash.

Whoa Pata-Pon 2 is going to be digital only.

Good news for me I hate the UMD dics.

They did ship UMDs in Europe, strangely enough, even though that required paper manuals in multiple languages.

Quick question: I just found out I’m going to get a PSP 3000 for Christmas, and Patapon 1 and 2 are my most anticipated games. Looks like I can simply use the PSP’s wireless connection to go to the PlayStation Store and download the games.

If this is wrong, please correct me!

And do the games sit on some kind of hard drive in the PSP? Or do I need to buy a big ole memory stick or somethin?