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    elbeato's Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    [February 20, 2008 06:42:27 AM]
    Gameplay 2

    There are many levels to play through, including constellation levels where you only collect certain animals in the level to create the star pattern, such as bears for Ursa Major or crabs for Cancer. After unlocking unlimited mode, I have become a god. A freaking god. I just absorbed a RAINBOW. It is possible that I have been laughing non-stop for an hour. This game is like some kind of infection or neurological parasite that constantly stimulates my serotonin producers. I feel as if the only negative criticism I have for this game is the relatively short length of the game. I hope they make many many more of these games. Many.

    The negligible side story regarding the Kubrik-looking Japanese family can be totally disregarded, as they only exist in short movies placed in between levels. However, the aloof and awkward humor exhibited by the characters are so timed so well that I could not help but laugh just as hard as I would while playing the game. They really do grow on you, even though it is a short-lived relationship.

    Sometimes the movement scheme can be a little frustrating when the katamari gets stuck in an archway or just some obstacle, requiring a mandatory expelling of most of the clump. This forces you to scramble to recollect the lost pieces, negatively affecting your ability to finish on time. However, I suppose it is a perfectly logical effect of mistakenly analyzing your ability to move in between tight spaces.

    One incredibly noteworthy aspect of this game is the soundtrack. It is rare that you encounter such an appropriate listing of songs tailor-made for a game as wacky as this. It sets the mood and actually adds to the experience, creating a symbiotic relationship between the game and the soundtrack. The two are inseparable, becoming a single entity in which neither can exist without the other. Yu Miyake is a fantastic composer. Genius.

    In a final analysis, I recommend this game to anyone who wants to have silly and mindless fun. It exudes creativity and breathes life into anyone it touches. I feel as if the game has helped me to recapture some of the mystique of being a child again.
    add a comment Add comment
    [February 20, 2008 06:32:40 AM]
    Summary

    Katamari Damacy is an unconventional and innovative third person puzzle/action game for the Playstation 2, where the player takes the role of the 5 in Prince of the Cosmos and embarks on missions given to you by the almight King of the Cosmos. Your goal is to roll a “katamari” across a sandbox type level and pick up items to increase the size of the garbage ball until it reaches a desired goal size, measured in metric length of diameter. These garbage balls will eventually be transformed into new stars to fill the sky with, as the former stars were destroyed by the King in a drunken accident. By rolling the ball while it is larger than the desired object by a certain factor, it is possible to pick it up; if rolled over an object larger than that factor, the katamari will crash into it and cause pieces of the garbage clump to fall out. Each level is timed and requires the player to reach the desired size before time runs out.

    Gameplay 1

    Wow. I have to start off this review with a simple utterance. What the hell am I playing? What did I just pick up? Was Namco smoking LSD when they came up for the concept for this game? Well, whatever the hell they were thinking, I am glad they followed through with it. Never have I encountered such a game as non-sensicle as this, filled with a seemingly never-ending number of things to astound me and make me burst out in impromptu laugh-choking. Besides the surprising elements of crazy art and direction, the game is unbelievably fun. The addiction factor of this game is inconceivably high, never dropping the proverbial ball or giving the player a reason to put down the controller. It reminds me of the old days of Pokemon, where I kept going from town to town to look for rare and undiscovered Pokemon to add to my collection. I get that same kind of nostalgic feeling when I try to roll over as many things as possible just to see how they would react when they are added to the katamari.

    This game is fantastic in the way that there is such a fluid mechanic for progression and difficulty. The learning curve is so small that I believe anyone could enjoy this game after about 3 minutes of play. The fact that you can see everything in the level as you are rolling along gives you this feeling of indelible power, an almost megalomaniacal desire to conquer the level. Basically, everything you see can become part of your katamari; it is only a matter of time before you can accomplish this. Nothing is denied to you. There are no keys or special weapons you need to collect as a condition to absorb that Godzilla or Ultraman fighting in Tokyo bay. It is similar to many Zelda games in the way that Zelda games have very open worlds, allowing you to see various locations you could possibly go to if you had a certain item. With Katamari Damacy, these locations are larger objects, and the key items are just a series of smaller items needed to add onto the clump. This is such a refreshing feeling, much like being a kid again and not having any limits to what you want to accomplish. There is a trial and error process you develop when trying to roll over objects you think are small enough to roll over. Sometimes it will be too large and bust up your ball, forcing you to pick up the pieces and reclaim your glory.
    Back to the trenches with me. Hold my calls. I’ll be busy with this for longer than I would care to divulge.

    Design

    While the game seems to exist solely as an adventure game, the entire concept of rolling and collecting towards a goal under a timed condition adds an unmistakable puzzle element that encompasses it under said genre. The player must logically ascertain what is the most efficient way to collect the largest items in as short of a time as possible, by the systematic collection of smaller items and the natural progression into larger items. The player must also navigate around the level and get a feel for his surroundings in order to quickly move to places with larger items.

    This game is extremely stylized, being the second most important element of the game, with the gameplay being primary draw of the package. The art direction is wild and fun, setting it apart from most games today that settle for simulation and imitating real life scenarios. Katamari Damacy looks past all that and gives you an off-the-wall kind of entertainment that only an insane or heavily drugged person could imagine. Character models and their movements resemble Lego toys, while buildings and other settings are detailed just enough for them to catch your eye right before you roll it into your collection. Colors are vibrant and reactions of the things you roll over are hilarious. Imagine a tall man with Vanilla Ice hair walking down the street, only to be swallowed into a gigantic rolling ball of garbage. His legs are flailing helplessly as only the lower half of his body is visible from the ball, with his screams being muffled by those of his pet cat and the loud mooing of a cow that was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    There is a very scant HUD, composed of only 4 icons located in the corners of the screen. One is the countdown timer, informing the player of how much time is left before the level ends. An icon of the direction the ball is rolling relative to the position of the Prince helps the player to orient themselves in case they are stuck in a precarious situation. Another icon has a visual representation of the size of the katamari relative to the size needed to complete the level; this is shown with a pulsating rainbow shaped globe encompassed by a larger circumference. The last icon is an indicator that immediately shows a rotating model of each item you roll over as you do it. This function adds so much to the gameplay because it lets you identify the things you do not see yourself roll over, eliciting a “WTF” response every time you realize you ran over something as extreme as a hot air balloon or as diminutive as a trout.

    The control scheme could not be any simpler, due to the use of the analog sticks on the PS2 controller. Moving in a straight line is accomplished by pushing both sticks forward, while strafing is done by pushing both sticks left or right. Turning requires one stick to be pushed forward while one is pushed backward. A charge move that gives the katamari a burst of short speed is done by quickly pushing respective sticks backward and forward in alternating intervals. Clicking down on the sticks allows the player to bounce the ball slightly, pushing the ball over curbs or stairs. This control style makes it easy for anyone to just pick up the controller and start playing immediately, without forcing the player to have to go through tedious and complicated tutorials on how to play the game.

    The game’s main menu takes place on what is called “The Home Planet”, where game modes and options can be selected. The planet is a small rotating globe on which the Prince can quickly traverse atop of, able to move in all directions to get to locations placed at various points on the globe. You can view gifts that you pick up on different levels, which are basically costume pieces the Prince can wear while playing. Another option is to view the constellations and stars that you have already created, located all around the sky above the Home Planet in 360 degrees of view. There is also a multiplayer mushroom where two players can challenge each other in a quick game of rolling in a smaller room.
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    Status

    elbeato's Katamari Damacy (PS2)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 20 February, 2008

    Opinion
    elbeato's opinion and rating for this game

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    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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