Patapon 3 Review (PSP)
You must save the tribe in its most desperate hour. Feel the rhythm on the earth beneath your feet and keep to the beat to give your faithful warriors a fighting chance. With over 80 quests to complete and enemy tribes, monsters and Dark Heroes to face, you must channel the bravery of the Patapon legends to fulfill your destiny as the tribe’s savior.
Sign the sacred Uberhero’s Pledge, select what Uberhero you would like to reincarnate in and name him, as you and the Uber are meant to be as one. Build up your battle experience, customize the armor, weapons and skills and watch how your Patapon evolve into one of 21 different classes with unique abilities.
Patapon 3 is a rhyhtm game at it’s core with lots of action thrown in to bring something extra into the equation. The intro video does a great job at getting you in the mood for some adventuring into the unknown and gives you a taste of what you’ll encounter should you decided that important and destiny are two words powerful enough that deserve your attention.
Once you initially load up the game you’re given the option to install it “improve performance” and since I have a 16 GM Memory Stick Pro Duo and it only asked for 152 MB… well, why not? Don’t really know how much the performance was improved since the game does take a while to save every time you finish a level but if a 2 minute install is saving me 3 seconds every time I complete a level then I really am saving a lot of time since this is a game that will take you 40+ hours to complete in single player.
You can import data from Patapon 2 to get some super special items added to your Patapon 3 experience which is great since it takes about 30-40 hours to be completely done with part 2 and having all that hard mean something is extra special… oh, an dit will also carry over your name from part 2. Totally.
Choose from one of 3 Uber heroes to start things off:
Yarida: The Spear uberhero. This hero loves chucking spears around and dishing out lots of pain to anyone standing in it’s path. Yarida is a good choice for Mighty Ones that need to adjust to their new Patapon form. Yarida Warriors have powerful abilities, but you must take risks to inflict heavy damage on your enemy.
Yumiyacha: The Bow Uberhero, able to fire off a volley of arrows at the enemy. Yumiyacha is great at providing support for the tribe. Unfortunately, this Uberhero’s fingers do get sore, meaning it has little stamina. Choose Yumitacha if you’re looking for a challenge.
Taterazay: The Shield Uberhero. Always ready for action, this fearless frontline warrior will risk it all in order to save the tribe. Choose Taterazay if you’re an experienced Mighty One and have no second thoughts to putting it all in the line.
But that’s not all! Four more heroes are revived at the start to aid you in your quest and are added to your party and another two members of the Patapon Tribe awaits for their triumphant return. Here’s a short description of each one:
Hatapon: He’s always the heart and soul of the party. You can count on him to bravely carry the Patapon flag, even in the deadliest of battles. His steadfast energy and funky rhythm lightens the mood when morale is down. Be careful as once there are no more Shield type members in your army… Hatapon could be destroyed in one or two strikes at most.
Kan: As one of the deadly members of the Patapon Trifecta, Kan (whose arrows are always aimed with laser-precision) will stand behind your troops making it rain fear on enemy lines.
Chin: The defender, he is the second member of the Patapon Trifecta. He’s a brave one, charging headfirst against enemy lines to drive back enemy troops. Woe is he that tries to stand up to his might sword… chop!
Ton: The final member of the Patapon Trifecta, has one goal in life… to spear as many enemies as possible. His throwing skills are impeccable and his aim is second to none. He’ll float around in the formation, always searching for the sweet spot where he can inflict the most damage.
Priestess Meden: The Patapons guiding light, has been turned to stone. Her future is uncertain, but until Patapons find a way to restore her, she’ll be kept safe deep inside their lair.
Sukopon: He’s the lookout who keeps a close watch for signs of impending trouble by studying the stars. It is always on alert and peers through the telescope, hoping to spot something really big. When it does, you better not face it alone.
What CAN you do while in battle? You have several actionsavailable and they’re all made up from the same basic commands. Those commands are as follow:
Pata: Sound made by the Square button.
Pon: Sound made by the Circle button.
Chaka: Sound made by the Triangle button.
Don: Sound made by the X Button
Button combinations have to be entered in a “four beats at a time” pattern and keeping the rhythm going wil increase your combo. Entering a four beat pattern perfectly in time with the gneral beat of the music that is playing on a level will make the action you selected be more powerful. Mantaining the perfect beat going will eventually make you enter Fever mode in which each character class gets an extra ability added to it’s arsenal or activated for all to enjoy which really changes the flow of battle… but can be a double edge sword as missing the perfect beat twice OR not entering a correct action command will bring you back to a zero combo and leave you at a huge disadvantage in the fronline.
You can march forward, attack your enemies, defend so your party takes less damage, summon a Djinn (while in fever mode and with a full bar), retreat, jump, charge up, regroup and, eventually, pause the game (you have to earn this ability by getting almost to the end of the first tutorial level but you have to wait until you’re powerful enough to do so. Why is pause an ability and not something that anyone can use?). Being able to decide what action needs to be picked next is the main element that needs to be understood or else you risk blindingly rushing into the frontline and perish.
Your Uberhero and the Patapon heroes all have a health bar that needs to be taken care of since when it runs out you’ll have one less ally on your side and this could make it impossible to get to the end of the level. There are three ways in which you can recover your health: by picking up health potions which are dropped by defeated enemies, by using a healer Patapon in your army or by summoning a Djinn which will revive any fallen allies and recover the health bar of those still standing. Again, rushing to try and grab a health potion could be a bad choice if the enemies are on their way since they COULD hit you before you get it thus ending your adventure.
There are several RPG elements sprinkled here and there in the Patapon 3 universe since you can level up your Uberhero, and his 3 (Patapon Trifecta) allies by obtaining enough experience points (which are gained from defeating enemies that are of an equal or higher level to yours), obtain ka-ching (that’s the name of the in-game currency) so you can buy armor and weapons… or even sell those that you don’t need to get some ka-ching in return. Some of the levels are specifically marked as being excellent for “Obtaining Experience/Ka-ching” so take advantage of them any time you run into one as they’re even more helpful when you’ve just changed classes (more on this later).
There’s also a blacksmith available that will help you improve your equipment should you have enough money AND materials to properly craft the new model. The items are found on each level when you destroy a barrier, burn some grass, drill down a mountain, etc. and they’re available in great cuantities when you’re just starting but eventually you’ll be tasked with finding rare materials which are only available on sidequests or at random on regular levels which sort of puts a hold on how much you can improve your armor or weapon. You can only increase an item up to level 10 before you’re asked to level up your blacksmith so it can go to 11 (and up) but you’ll be asked to choose if the item you’re about to improve beyond it’s threshold shall be the ONLY TYPE that can go past it. This means that you better love spears if that’s your choice as choosing another item to be your “Arch” item will bring back your first choice to level 10. Finally, items that are unique cannot be improved at all since in YOUR blacksmith (this will explained later) as they have inherent special abilities to aid you in your quest and increasing their level would break the game.
But the blacksmith isn’t the only building that is available to your Uberhero at the Patapon Hideout as you also have access to other structures within:
Barracks: Here you can change your equipment or class (out of a total of 21 different classes divided as three sets of 7 depending on what main class you choose for your Uberhero and a set for each of the members of the Patapon Trifecta).
Armory: View all your items and dismantle old weapons, armor and materials to earn valuable Ka-ching. If you select dismantle you’ll be shown how much Ka-ching you’ll earn before you make up your mind. Take into consideration that Key items and the regular (standard issue) Patapon equipment can’t be dismantled.
Team Totem: Personalize and manage your tribe for multiplayer crusades. Choose your own calling card to highlight your teams personality, send cards to other players online to see if they want to join your team, choose the quote to use in battle and at the hideout, view your teams goal list as well as your accomplisments and so on.
Hero Gate: Choose to visit another player’s hideout, or invite them to your and form a team of Uberheroes. Choose to tackle a specific mission, or play an adventure together. When visiting a Hideout, don’t forget to visit their Blacksmith to take advantage of theri weapon and armor making skills!
You must buy the game NEW to be able to play online as it includes a redeem code for the PSN Store that gives you access the online functionality AND a Digital Video Guide to help you better understand the game AND to give you very specific tips should you stumble upon a level that you just can’t get past.
Master Obelisk: The mysterious master obelisk transports your party to battlefields on the Patapon World Map. Scroll through the available quests and press the X button to choose a mission. Most missions can be replayed for experience, materials and Ka-ching but story related ones can only be played once.
Battle Gate: Once you have formed a team, you can battle other teams in Head on (Battle to gain control over the other team’s territory. Your strenght, skill and wits will be tested in huge clashes where the winner takes all), Missile Battle (Fire missiles to destroy the other theam’s territory. If you time your shots just right, it is possible to knock your opponent’s missiles out of the air) and Dead Heat (Race accross the terrain as quickly as possiblel, avoiding or destroying the obstacles in your way) Challenges.
There’s a chance to micro manage the equipment of your Uberhero and his companions but you also have the option to optimize it (either on a per character basis or for the whole party) with a simple button press. Optimize allows for the best equipment to be instantly equipped for the best stat bonuses… so what’s the point of micro managing? Well, you might be facing an enemy that a resistance to ice-enhanced weapons and it could eb the case that your best weapon has ice-properties which would in the end deal lewer damage to said enemy. A +3 Ice Spear might sound great but when and enemy can turn that into a -1 ice spear you’ll find that a plain fire sword would be the better choice. Also, sometimes the game decides that one attribute is better fit for a class than another and you COULD be “optimized” to your disadvantage. This happened to me twice and I had to manually equip a unique shield that doubled my defense and gave me an extra thousand stamina points because the game wanted me to be equiped with a fire shield instead that made me impervious to burn damage.
There are lots of quests available but not all of them are mandatory as they don’t need to be completed to move along the story. Some sidequests are there for the sole purporse of teaching you a lesson in humility because the fact that a sidequest is on the 3rd level tier doesn’t mean it’s easier than a main quest available on the 6th level. Eventually you’ll se how sidequests are s great place for obtaining rare equipment thanks to the treasure chests that are dropped by the high level enemies you can defeat. You’ll pick up different types of treasure chests along the way (made of wood, silver, gold, etc.) and they also come in a huge assortment of “levels” meaning that a lvl 7 wodden chest shouldn’t have the same content as a lvl 3 of the same base material but chests are like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get.
When Hatapon falls you loose the battle but all your hardwork won’t be lost as you get to keep all the materials found in the level as well as the experience obtained from your crushing (but not so crushing) march over the bad guys. You must be extremly aware of this on multilevel castles as once you’ve completed each level you’re given the opportunity to return to your Hideout (with everything you’ve obtained up until that point) or go to the next floor. Do you march on, riksing loosing whatever was inside that golden chest you found back at the halfway point… or go home and hope that a new and rare piece of equipment inside said chest will help you on your next quest?
You eventually face-off against large or huuuuuugely powerful enemies that are sorta like a final stage boss but are placed in the middle and aren’t really a boss since those DO exists on castles… mmm, so those COULD be called mid-bosses, right? Anyway, they require a bit more strategy which prevents you from just spamming the attack command but these instances are only preparing you for the proper bosses the game wil throw your way. Jump might seem like a worthless commando during most levels until you realize that using it will help you avoid the “rush-and-eat-you-with-a-side-of-crushing-you-while-he’s-at-it” attack from the first true boss you run into.
We’re looking at about 40 hours worth of single player content when you consider the regular story levels AND the sidequests and when you add up all the time that can be spent in the online multiplayer… well, sky is the limit. I was able to pour in about 3 hours into the online component but unfourtunately I couldn’t play for two long as the PSP isn’t the most online friendly system out there and having to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop to get it online AND maintaint it there… it was too much of a hassle for what IS a fun extra that, unfourtunately, would have been a better fit on the PS3 or maybe the Vita.
Patapon 3 is a very fun game that is priced at only $19.99 and for that ammount you’ll get an interesting game that has A LOT of content available to gamers worldwide. It does take things into a different direction so those that have already played Patapon and Patapon 2 might have to readjust their approach during the first couple of levels. The micro managing can feel daunting at first but having all the customization options available is great for huge RPG fans and regular gamers alike since just pressing the optimize button streamlines the experience in the end. All PSP owners should start with Patapon and work their way up to part 3 as it truly is a great IP that hopefully will continue for many, many more years.
[review pros=”Easy to learn, hard to put down
Lots of content
Only $20!” cons=”Some grinding is required at several points in the game” score=90]
Published by SCEA
Cost – $19.99
Available at retail and from the PSN Store for PSP.
– Total amount of time played: 32 hours.
– This review is based on a retail copy of the PSP version of Patapon 3 provided by Sony Computer Entertainment.
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