Prinny 2 Review

Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! [Available only on PSP]
ESRB Rating: T
Genre: Platformer/Action
Publisher: NIS
Developer: NIS
Release Date: January 11th, 2011

Parent Talk: Judging by the title, this isn’t the best game for children—thanks to crude humor and mild language.  The characters aren’t excessively profane, but there are sexual jokes.  Teenagers, especially those interested in anime, are the primary target audience for sure.

Dawn of Operation Panties is the second entry in the Prinny spin-off series and plays all the same.  NIS’ popular Disgaea franchise is memorable due to its excellent gameplay and characters, with Prinny capitalizing on the iconic (and notoriously weak) Prinny characters.   Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero was refreshing, as it took concepts from the popular RPG series and adapted them into a hilarious and fun 2D side-scrolling platformer.  The over-the-top and utterly ridiculous nature of Disgaea’s universe can work well in many genres, so the change was easy to accept.  Does the formula shine a second time?

The Great:
Hilarious characters and dialogue.   Disgaea features many recognizable characters, but the prinnies are the most comical.  Prinny 2 avoids taking risks, but the dialogue is always good for a laugh.  Poor little Prinny is so exasperated and scared all the time because threats from Master Etna that it never grows old.  The best part is that enjoying the comedy doesn’t require expansive Disgaea knowledge.  The story is total nonsense, but funny—the whole point is that Prinny must retrieve Etna’s panties from the Phantom Thief, so he concocts a scheme to steal other rare treasures to entice him.

The Good:

+ Colorful graphics.  Like CIRBTH, Prinny 2 sports eye-popping 2D sprites laid across 3D backgrounds.   Though there’s no noticeable upgrade from before, the visuals are very attractive on the PSP.  The stages have more background animation and variety however, with evil mechanical suns looming in the sky or snow calmly falling down.  The Japanese-themed Sakura Palace and underwater Nethersea Volcano have particularly cool The sprites and sprite animations haven’t changed, but it goes to show how nice the original game(s) look when this one holds well in the PSP library.  Character dialogue is accentuated by portraits, and the expressions are always good for a chuckle.

+ Easy to play, difficult to master.  Prinny 2 is surprisingly easy initially.  You could stumble through the first few levels without any effort.  There usually aren’t any difficult jumps to clear or unforgiving hazards to conquer.  Stages are accompanied by small bouts of action and can be completed quickly, so they can be enjoyed and replayed without worry.  The difficulty comes from the enemies, which gradually become tougher to defeat.  For example, the early bosses are a pushover, but some of the later battles (especially the “SUPER DUPER DEMON BATTLES!”) are harsh.  Uncovering every secret, beating every enemy, and conquering Hard mode requires serious dedication.  Acquiring all the tickets is ridiculous, but rewards the player with Asagi mode.  There are plenty of secret bosses too.

+ Fun mechanics.  Prinny 2 has an interesting formula that makes it quite different from most strict platformers and action games, blending the two for an enjoyable mix.  Prinny can use ground pounds, attack with knives, perform aerial attacks (with a cool camera shift), and execute a dash move.  Levels are never difficult to traverse, so the focus isn’t navigating through challenging terrain or struggling to ascend hard-to-reach areas—it’s the enemies that pose a threat.  Instead, you want to safely reach each checkpoint, overcome all enemies, and reach the boss.  Landing successive hits or consuming sweets beefs Prinny up for a short time.  Stages gradually become tougher, but there’s always a pattern to discover for defeating foes.

+ Replays.  P2 has a cool “Data Swap” feature that allows players to exchange replay data.  In the case you want to show off your skills or need help to do better in a specific stage, Data Swap comes in handy.  It’s nothing dramatic, but a neat addition.

+ Great music.  The soundtrack is near indistinguishable from other Disgaea games, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun listen.  The style and arrangements are very similar to past content; there are some cool new songs, such as the Kaitou Majin Battle Theme.  The sound quality is excellent and the voice overs are wonderful.  Etna and Flonne appear right away and are instantly recognizable.  The poor prinnies are always a hoot, provided you don’t tire of hearing them say “dood.”

+ Different experience each time.  The real treat is replaying stages, as they change slightly each time.  As time passes in-game, day shifts to night, altering the difficulty.  Some stage secrets also can’t be revealed on the first pass.  Players can also unlock content and hidden bonuses by finding Luck Dolls, or simply performing well in stages.  Select the levels in a different order; you won’t regret it.  The final levels and main story segments are fixed, however; they don’t change.

The Bad:

– Stiff control.  Prinny 2 is fun, but takes practice.  Jumping is especially troublesome, making some platforming sections tougher than necessary.  Unlike most platformers, you can’t change direction in the middle of a jump—but holding forward maintains his momentum.  Shifting is only possible with a double-jump.  Even then, it’s awkward to land on small platforms or reach ledges.  I’m thankful for the ability to grab ledges.\

– No major improvements.  NIS played it safe here.  Not much about P2 is significantly better than before, but that’s not a bad thing.  There is a LOT of content, which is awesome.

The Ugly:

Cheap deaths.  Prinny 2 is challenging, no doubt.  The end of the adventure is especially tough.  The levels are simple and fun, but dying is inevitable if you don’t know what you’re facing with some enemies.  It’s annoying to die cheaply because you aren’t aware of initially undetectable traps.  Sometimes Prinny bounces off an enemy and hits something above that couldn’t be seen because the screen didn’t shift yet.  Other times enemies and/or projectiles aren’t seen until it’s too late.  This admittedly comes with the old-school platforming territory though.  It boils down to whether or not you enjoy an old-school 2D game.

The Lowdown:

The quirky graphics, music, and gameplay come together nicely in Prinny 2. It’s not a leap forward, but still as fun as ever.  This is a treat for Disgaea and side-scrolling fans.  Hopefully newcomers will be brought on board!

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