Saturday 9 February, 2008
We Love Katamari Gamelog Entry 2
For the second round of gameplay, I got a friend to play the versus and co-op mode with me.
We Love Katamari’s versus mode allows you to compete against your friend on three different levels where you try to collect as much of a specific item as you can. While it would be nice if you could play the story levels in versus, the versus mode in this game is an improvement over the first game’s mode because of the multiple levels and objective. Despite its shortcomings, the versus mode is fun to play due to the social aspect that arises in trying to roll up your friend and much trash talking.
The co-op mode, on the other hand, allows you to replay all the story levels, but the catch is each
player controls one analog stick. It’s rather tricky to do at first, but once you and your friend figure out how to work together, it’s rather fun to roll the same katamari. In the Japanese version, they have a little icon that shows which analog stick is moving where, which would have made this mode much easier to play with and possibly more enjoyable.
After progressing through the game’s story line, I came across perhaps the greatest feature of this game: you can roll up the entire world! Not the katamari world, but every country on earth. Infinite enjoyment could be had simply by replaying this level to see how fast you can roll up every country. My hope would be that in the future they make another katamari game where you can roll through every country starting as a tiny katamari, but nevertheless this level makes the game a dramatic improvement over its predecessor due to its novelty.
While there was nothing new to learn in terms of controls, We Love Katamari managed to feel new and exciting by adding in new scenarios. In one level, you roll around a sumo wrestler, get him as big as you can, and then roll up his opponent at one place in the level within five minutes. While the level played like any katamari level, by giving the player more purpose to their rolling and even getting to roll something besides the same katamari made the game more exciting than before. One problem in the first game was that the objectives and levels were pretty similar and monotonous; the sequel solved this problem with more innovative level design as well as more levels in general.
The creation of two objectives (as large as possible and as fast as possible) was clearly done to delay the inevitable game exhaustion that, for many, came to quickly in the first game. The new “as fast as possible” objective creates for some interesting emergent gameplay. As you play in this mode, you go from just rolling around until time runs out to trying to figure out the route around the level that leads to the most growth potential as well as trying to do it fast via dashes and skilled analog stick usage. The benefit of working on these levels is dramatically improved katamari rolling skills; trying to roll around as fast as possible tightens players’ rolling as well as their proficiency with the dash ability (you move the analog sticks alternating each up and down rapidly to get a burst of speed).
Another thing to note is that this sequel was clearly made not to be innovative but to give more of the excitement of katamari to those who are enamored with the series. Since the game introduces no new mechanics, the game simply added more levels, variety, and absurd narrative for the fan base who loved the original game.