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    TheCrudMan's Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    [January 26, 2008 05:48:39 PM]
    Gameplay 2:

    I tried multiplayer, and found it throughly enjoyable, and also easily accessible for new players, as I played against someone with no video game experience and she even beat me, who had been playing the game for awhile now, a few times (although it was both of our first times playing multiplayer.) The multiplayer takes place in a small, enclosed arena, filled with various objects that move around. It is much faster paced than the core game, and is very entertaining, although I think co-op play (which I know is in the sequels) where you get to use the normal, large and interesting game levels, would be a massive improvement, even adversarial play in that setting would be fun.

    As I play, the game seems to have become much easier, as I have a better understanding of different objects and how they interact with each other and my Katamari. While the control scheme was simple to learn, and easy to use, I have finally mastered it and am able to play quite effectively. I used to take several attempts for even earlier levels and am now able to pass most levels on my first attempt, even as they grow more difficult.

    I love the feeling of power I get as my Katamari grows from something that gets kicked around by the humans, and is regarded as a tiny nuisance, into a giant, unstoppable force of nature that swallows their entire towns whole as they flee in panic...all within the span of 10-20 minutes. It is so satisfying to go back and find the kid that beat you with a stick when you were 20 cm across, and devour him, or to absorb the bus that severely damaged your Katamari earlier in the level. The game is so fun to play, its quirky, exciting, and addictive.

    Design:

    The game gets throughly more entertaining as you grow to larger and larger sizes, sucking up entire cities and towns very quickly. I found that I liked this much better than being tiny, but the fact that on each level you start out small and get larger, thus being rewarded with being large and able to suck up larger things, keeps you playing through the levels.

    There is a clear distinction from when you are small to when you are large, and the style of gameplay changes. At smaller sizes the player finds himself avoiding hostile creatures, sucking up increasingly larger things, and trying to access new areas. By the time you get larger you are more worried about just destroying everything that is in your path to get your Katamari to the appropriate size to beat the level. There is also a clear visual distinction between the different sizes. At smaller sizes, the game uses a narrow depth of field, where everything further away (and also much larger than you) is blurry, and things that are up close and smaller are in focus. At larger sizes this goes away, and at large sizes on a smaller level, such as the town instead of the world, the camera will eventually zoom far enough out and you view things through a sort of curtain of fog, showing how large your Katamari is.

    The game does have some flaws, at least in my mind, but I recognize how subjective these flaws are. Firstly, I don't like the lack of realism in object placement. I don't find it believable that there would be 100 bananas lying randomly on the streets of a city. This gets better as you get larger, as the game designers have to place fewer random objects because you are able to suck up things that would normally be around the world: guardrails, fences, people, cars, poles, gas pumps, etc. Also, I don't like how periodically you will be able to see your Katamari poking through all the objects it has absorbed, the idea being that they eventually get integrated with it and make it grow larger. I understand the reasoning for this being the technological limitations of the PS2, but I'd think it could be better executed so that once your starting Katamari sphereoid is completely covered, you never see it again, and it appears as though you're just rolling up things by the snowball effect.

    The levels are limited to a few static environments that don't really change, however the positioning and kinds of objects in them, and where you are able to go, does change from level to level, enough to keep the game incredibly interesting. The game is incredibly addictive and it is ultimately its cutesey style, its amazing gameplay, and its clever humor that keep the player coming back for more and more.
    read comments (1) read comments - add a comment Add comment
    [January 26, 2008 02:00:27 AM]
    Game Log Entry 1: Katamari Damacy

    Katamari Damacy is a very unique game. The player controls a tiny prince character, who in turn pushes, and thus controls, a Katamari, an incredibly adhesive, spheroid object, which rolls around the game world, sticking to anything it touches, and growing larger and larger. The Katamari can start the very small, picking up pushpins and the like, and eventually grow large enough to quickly devour cities and towns.

    Gameplay:

    I began playing Katamari Damacy and was immediately turned off by the horrible, repetitive, and annoying music, nearly non-english text, trippy cinematics, and awful, awful, "dialog" sounds. The low poly models, cheesy graphics, and odd control scheme didn't help either. However, I played on, and by the end of my first session, had come to love all of these things which so horrified me when first I powered on the Playstation 2. The sheer outlandishness of the game's look and sounds, are matched only by its feel, and the totally ridiculousness of the gameplay.

    The annoying music was perfectly suited for the visuals of a miniscule, yet eventually massive, alien-guided, sticky ball, moving through the game world, sticking to everything smaller than it. The control scheme, which I at first thought of as awkward, suddenly made perfect sense, as I realized that the two joysticks the game was played with were actually used to control the little alien guy pushing the Katamari, rather than the Katamari itself. This made the scheme much more intuitive.

    I throughly enjoyed running things over and watching my Katamari grow to an ever increasing size. I noticed how profound the gameplay shift was from when you have a small Katamari to when you have a larger Katamari: when you're tiny you have to avoid enemies and make sure you gather up every little item. You also have to be careful how far you go because it takes a long time for your Katamari to cover even short distances. As you grow larger, the game transitions into a mad dash to suck everything up, which is very, very fun, especially given that at larger sizes, you grow exponentially faster than at smaller sizes because you can absorb such large objects, so even though you grow at about the same rate relative to the size of your Katamari, the real world numbers (expressed in metric, which should be useful for teaching kids the metric system, which I've always loved) get higher much faster and the game is much more satisfying.
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    Status

    TheCrudMan's Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 25 January, 2008

    GameLog closed on: Monday 4 February, 2008

    Opinion
    TheCrudMan's opinion and rating for this game

    Enjoyed it throughly, excellent, accessible, and addictive, Katamari Damacy is a good way to burn through a weekend, but the shortness of the main game, the lack of a really strong multiplayer, keeps it from achieving more than minor greatness.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

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    See info on Katamari Damacy

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