Now as this is going to be a international title soon I will be reviewing the Japanese version, as well as giving any commentary to help other with the imported version.
Now most were extremely disappointed with the way the last Katamari game turned out with its “added content” being on the disc itself.
I am here to say that Katamari Damacy is a different story and feels a lot better than the last Katamari and gives a some what epic ending to the games later levels which might make you feel tingly in your nether parts. But don’t mistake what I say now. This game does have its many flaws, some of which can not be overlooked.
Lets start by looking at the game‘s Story.
King of All Cosmos gets hit in the head and suffers from amnesia. The levels that deal with the King of All Cosmos are monochrome and are a rehash of past game levels. Making a bigger ball will gradually bring more color in to the world. The other side to the story is Robo King of All Cosmos(created by the cousins because the real King of All Cosmos got knocked out) who goes crazy and destroys all the stars. These levels are more about the creation of new stars the same way as past games.
There is a deep set of items and characters to collect that may keep things fresh for many many hours but does not excuse one of the major flaws, and that is the fact that the game feels a little short and can be rushed through in about 15 hours or so and that does include the secondary Slow and speed challenges to the game. You can spend your time changing character items and accessories around, taking photos, but in the end feels like they could have spent more time making more interesting and different levels.
That in no way, means that there are no more interesting level and goals, it just feels like there are not that many “more” interesting level and goals, which the interesting new levels are one of the greatest things about this game. The addition of the creative levels is like a breath of fresh air for the game’s “let make a giant ball“ levels and you will find yourself going back to these the most when you replaying the game. Some examples are collection items to make a big fire without touching any items that would put a fire out, fire flies to light a camp site, or one of my favorite levels where you are using water to make the plants grow in a garden. These are a welcome addition that add to the difficulty nicely with out to much frustration and really makes you wonder “What can I do to make a bigger ball of fire, light, or to make a beautiful area.
For the graphics I would say that they feel a little lacking being that it is on the Playstation 3, I do know that it is part of the art style but some areas do feel like they could have been smoothed out and cleaned up a bit. There is also a feeling like some more effects that could have gone in to the game like how items are collected into your ball. Also there is a ton of clipping and some times you will get stuck, which should have been ironed out before the games release I think.
As for the music and sound, It is perfect for the game. It gets you in to the mood and sound great. There are no flaws in it and it sometimes helps you forget about the other things the game has going wrong with it.
And with that…
Now lets talk about what the major problem with this game. The controls. Now I know that most say the dual analog stick system of turning and moving is the style of the game but there are some problems, that have not shown up in the past games so much such as it not registering the direction you are pointing to properly, and this was tested on 2 different dualshock3. An other thing I have noticed that the speed boost system ( requires you to push the analog sticks up and down in the opposite directions from each other many times to use the boost) which will break your speed and control and will make it difficult for you to really even use the boost. It not only feels clunky but could have been very easily mapped to L1 R1 fast tapping or something. And also you really don’t need to do so and hold no real use. Other problems is that sometime the controls don’t feel as responsive as they could be and feel like they really could have been fine tuned. I know it sounds like I am saying the same thing twice but hear me out here on these two different problems. The first one I stated was more of a drifting issue, now moving on to this issue of the controls feeling delayed and unresponsive to what you want to do or exactly how far in front of you, you really want to move. This is compounded when you use the new jumping ability. You will find your self unable to fully control where you want to go and sometimes frustratingly so. It just does not feel tested or tuned as well as a $50-60 game should be.
Lets move on to some of the other things you can do. You can always try your 2 player skills out but, I can say with ease “why would you want to”. You know right when you play the intro level that the controls are going to make it difficult, but then adding in split screen to the mix and you just got plain bad. The 2 player mode just makes for more aggravating moments with the controls and split screen and god help you if you have a small tv. Add uninspired rehashed multiplayer mod from the past games and you will only be looking at the game disc and ask why did they even bother.
You can take photos but then again it’s the same feeling of “why”. Unless you’re going for the trophies then I don’t see the point in ever using it, as the game it self is nothing special graphic wise. The auto connect to the leader boards is a nice touch and interesting to look throw. I can’t help to feel like they could have done more but it is what it is. The menus are sometimes a pain to navigate as your walking around a little city area that is used to navigate gameplay rather then the normal menu set up. This would be fine but when you collect more and more cousins, the will get in your way and switch out your Katamari when you just want to pick the stage select. Now the levels are divided in two different areas, one being the King of the Cosmos and the other being Robo King of the Cosmos. This sometimes gets to be a pain running back and forth from each one, and every time you beat a level being jetted out to the little city area.
Now if you like strange Japanese humor this is the game for you. Even though it has some huge flaws It is a game that you have to buy to really enjoy as if you rented it and rushed through you would burn your self out on this game. This is a game to enjoy in short bursts, and no means in a long haul gaming all nighter. But with all that said it does have enough to warrant a buy, or at least a buy when you find it used from some one going through the game in one night. Enjoy it for what it is and all the things it is not (A colorful game filled with humor and no serious nature) and is a great “take a break” type of game when your burned out from games like Infamous and Prototype.