Developer(s) – NanaOn-Sha
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Director – Masaya Matsuura
Artist – Rodney Greenblat
Receiving largely mixed reviews upon release, in stark contrast to the first game, PaRappa the Rapper 2 is a slightly longer, and even more embarrassing game, adding only a few new features and nothing else. Whilst I reviewed the first PaRappa the Rapper, I said that things got worse; and I wasn’t kidding.
Graphics – 3/10
Once again designed around the artistic style pioneered by American artist Rodney Greenblat, the sequel uses the same kind of 2D characters and colourful 3D environments; only this time, since this was a relatively early PlayStation 2 title, the graphics are fairly outdated. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the game actually looks like it could run on Nintendo 64 hardware. A lot of the cutscenes portraying wide-open spaces seem to corroborate on this too.
Gameplay – 0/10
Gameplay remains largely the same as in the first title, and is just as unbearable. The only new aspect added is that of a few mini games in between some of the main eight levels, and warm up phases before each one, but none of these things can be considered a saving grace in my opinion. I’ve always thought rhythm games to be among some of my least favourite gaming genres, and since there’s nothing here to suggest that this game does anything significantly different, it does little to change my perception.
Controls – 10/10
Although there are no issues with the controls, it wasn’t any significant challenge to get them right in the first game, and theres nothing to suggest that they should have faced any kind of hardship whilst developing the sequel either. There’s nothing innovative, exciting or different about it compared to other games, and whilst the lack of errors is the best thing I can point out about this game, I would have expected nothing else; lest there be even bigger problems.
Lifespan – 1/10
Clocking up at about one hour and twenty minutes, the second game is about twice as long as the first, but still an abysmal amount of time for even an early sixth generation game to last. RPGs had already long entered the mainstream by this time, and 3D adventure games could be made to last significantly longer than they ever had done before, and a game like this would pale in comparison, and nine times out of ten, still does.
Storyline – 0/10
Following on from the first game, Parappa goes to a burger shop with his friend to find that food everywhere is mysteriously transforming into noodles. He investigates further along with a group of allies to find that the son of a famous burger shop owner is behind it and plots to have noodles take over the world. I’ve spoilt the ending for anyone reading, but I doubt anyone in the right mind would care.
Originality – 4/10
When I reviewed the first game last year, just after E3 conference, I said that I would most rather not have seen the rhythm gaming genre perpetuated at all; even if PaRappa was effectively the game that started it all. But given the fact that no significantly exciting new features have been added in the sequel, I’d say it has even less basis in originality than the first.
Overall, PaRappa the Rapper 2 is worse than the first game by some distance, and is in my opinion, one of the worst games ever developed for the PlayStation 2. With talk of a third game possibly coming to PlayStation 4 following PaRappa’s appearance in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, I can only hope it is released as a 3D platformer or something, and not another lacklustre rhythm game.