Hand’s On Preview: Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! (Sony PSP)

Back in 2009, when Nippon Ichi released Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, we were all skeptical. After all, Nippon Ichi made strategic and/or tactical RPGs, not platformers. Rhapsody, La Pucelle, Disgaea, Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom – those games had about as much to do with platformers as Pole Position. However skeptics and naysayers were hushed once people actually played Prinny and found that it… wasn’t bad. It felt like a Nippon Ichi game in terms of stories and visuals, but instead of grid based maps and leveling up, you had button mashing attacks, insane jumps that you needed to make, and a difficulty level that, easiest on the kindest setting, made Prinny arguably the Wizardry IV: Return of Werdna of platformers. In other words, the hardest anyone had seen in some time, if not ever.

So now here we are with Prinny 2 about to be released on January 11th of 2011. Nippon Ichi was kind enough to send me a beta UMD of the game and after spending some time with the game I’m here to share my thoughts on it.

Basically Prinny 2 is exactly the same game as Prinny 1. You have roughly the same powers, you once again have to find a stolen item of Demon Queen Etna (this time it’s her panties instead of a dessert) and you have to run around the netherworld in the exact same fashion you did before. Sure there are new levels and boss fights, but the enemies (and their graphics) are all recycled in this game. I mean it’s even pretty close to the same story except you have “Phantom Thief” instead of “Sir Sweet” doing the theft of Etna’s possessions. So if you’re looking for originality within the game… you’re not going to find it in the main game. If you loved the original Prinny though, you’re getting more of the same which should make you happy.

Gameplay follows like this: You’ll go through two tutorials and then you’ll be able to play through any of six stages in whatever order you want. Be careful though, as the later you play a stage, the harder it will be, so it might be advisable to start with the harder stages first so you’ll maintain a relative degree of difficulty. Once you’re in a stage you have eight minutes to complete it. The time starts over once you die though and the levels have a few remote checkpoints that sparsely populate the level, so you don’t have to worry about doing each level completely over. From there you’ll have to go through a boss fight (four of the fights have one boss while two of them put you into a handicapped 2-on-1 match.)

The big gimmicks for Prinny 2 are the same as the original game. Once again you get 1,000 lives to complete all the stages in the game. There are approximately a dozen, depending on if you count your stand alone boss fights as stages. You might think 1,000 lives is insane but, well, insanity is par for the course with a Nippon Ichi game and you’ll more than likely need them all. God knows I did because this game isn’t just hard – it pushes way past challenging and into frustrating and profanity inducing. I’ll say this right now – the vast majority of gamers will NOT be able to complete this game, even on baby mode, and only a fraction of those that do beat Prinny 2 will be able to do the secret special thing one needs in order to unlock Asagi Wars, which is a bonus Contra-esque little game. The trick is to find all ten torn tickets in the semi-hidden jumping stages that take place above your between-stages hub. Again, unless you eat, sleep and breathe platformers, you probably won’t even notice these little jumping challenges and missing just one prevents you from getting the Asagi Wars mini-game. This is a huge letdown to me, as that is the actual game of the two on the UMD that I cared about, and I had to give myself a post-it note to remember to get each ticket after each stage I went through. Otherwise I’d have forgotten and have missed Asagi Wars entirely. Again, considering Asagi Wars was a big part of the promotion of Prinny 2, it was disappointing to see that only a fraction of people that play this game will get the chance to experience it.

Baby Mode is a “new” feature in the game, which Nippon Ichi claims they put in due to the sheer number of complaints about the difficulty level of the first game. Well unfortunately, Baby Mode is just an insulting version of the easiest difficulty from the last game with a few extra platforming blocks thrown in to help you out. The problem is the difficulty in either Prinny title didn’t come from the jumping challenges, but rather the enemies in the game, some of which had auto lock on attacks and others were invincible. Hell, some were BOTH. As such, Baby Mode doesn’t really do much to help with the difficulty level and, overall, I found Prinny 2 to be far HARDER than the original, if only because boss fights in the original game were like taking on a quadriplegic in a coma and here, they’re just as hard at the platforming stages that preceded them.

I’ll have a full review of Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! up next week, but from beating the game once, I can honestly say that if Nippon Ichi was really going for a platformer that was inaccessible to the majority of gamers while rewarding diehard gamers that live for the platforming genre above all others, then they’ve succeeded in spades.

Again, Prinny 2: Dawn of Operations Panties, Dood! will be released on January 11th of 2011. Until then, check out the game’s official website for more information as well as the ability to pre-order the game.

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