After years of absence, the little big eyeball tribe is back in action with their contagious rhythm beats in Patapon 3 for the PlayStation Portable, will the second sequel gives us another round of LSS with their drum beating music?
Patapon 3’s story is set where the previous game ended. After the Patapons finished building the Rainbow Bridge and finally crossed over to a new undiscovered land, they encountered a large mysterious chest , as they opened the box, seven evil spirits that were trapped inside was set free and turn the Patapons into stone, all except for the Hatapon; the Patapon flag carrier. And also inside the box is Silver Hoshipon who offered help and at the same time revives the Hero, which now turned into a more power Uberhero.
There were a lot of new features that were added to Patapon 3, but the core gameplay still remains the same; you will be issuing commands to your Patapon army by pressing a certain four-beat pattern while following a beat, some commands can be attacking, defending, retreating and even jumping. Time your beats perfectlly and you can achieve Fever mode, in this mode, you can dish out more powerful attacks. Nwe to the feature is the ability to summon Djins to aid you in battle, when activated, you can input any button commands in any way you like, it’s more of a button mashing rather than a beat rhythm mode.
In Patapon 3, you will be taking the role of the Uberhero, the super powered hero patapon, at the beginning of the game, you will be prompt to select one of the three character class for your Uberhero, you can dish out powerful attacks with your Uberhero by performing combos, and Uberheroes can revive in some battles so you won’t be worrying much with you super-powered Patapon. You will also notice that the game has a new leveling system to develop your Patapons, which requires you grind more to further increase your Patapon’s level, and as you patapons progress, you will be able to unlock new Patapon classes that are unique to their class, bow users can unlock musician-type Patapons and even healers, spear-wielders can unlock Patapons that ride on chariots the, diversity of combining different Patapon classes in your army will be an advantage in certain bosses and levels. Your Patapon roster is now reduced to a four-Patapon team excluding your flag carrier, which gives you more control in customizing and developing your Patapon team. You can upgrade weapons at your blacksmith to enhance your arsenal, but it requires a lot of money and materials, so grinding is essential to achieve your ultimate gear.
The mini-games were now removed, in favor of the item grinding feature, making it simpler to hunt for items and money, although to essential, the fun factor of having a dancing tree to give you branches to upgrade your Patapons will surely be missed. Gathering loots ranging from raw materials, money and equipment can be done by completing levels, you can repeat the same level if you want to grab more equipments and money to upgrade it, making it more of a grindfest, which could be a letdown to some players.
Level designs is still similar to previous games, a new addition is the cave level where it consists of 3 floored dungeons where you will be opt to continue to the next floor or return to your hideout when you cleared the current floor, the last floor require you to defeat a giant boss in order to clear the whole level. Another is the VS levels, maps that either be a capture-a-base like level or even a race to the finish line battles where you will be pitted against an opposing army. Monsters in Patapon 3 is still gigantic and more devastating, with old monsters making a comeback. You might complain of the difficulty level in this game, as you will be retrying on the same level over and over if you are not grinding.
The songs are still catchy as ever, the classic pata-pata-pata-pon chant still never dies, and it is recommended to use a headphone while playing Patapon 3 to keep you from outside distractions. The fusion of rock and heavy guitar music to the Patapon chants gives it a whole new feel.
One of the cool features is the improvement of the multiplayer mode, you can bring three of your friends in any mission in a co-op type of gameplay either online or ad-hoc, if you are stuck in a difficult boss battle, all you need is to tag along one of your high-leveled friend, only the host of the game can progress their story when joining in co-op missions. You can also compete against your friends in the Arena levels, aside from battling; you can form Clans (similar to Guilds) with a maximum of 20 persons.
Despite the game becoming more in favor of grinding, this doesn’t stop you from loving Patapon 3. The gameplay still remains the same addicting game. Veterans of the Patapon series will still enjoy this one with more features and newcomers will be able to start playing without the requirement of backtracking the previous games.
Game Rating: 9 out of 10
Patapon 3 was developed by Pyramid and Japan Studios and was published by Sony Computer Entertainment.