There’s a joy that comes from getting into a Patapon game. It’s welcoming, with the childlike voices singing out, “Pata Pata Pata Pon.” It’s colorful, with bright colors and easily identifiable characters who pop. And with Patapon 2, it was always the installment that added more. More characters are here, more activities can be enjoyed, and more heroic antics show up. But frankly, we already know it’s a great game. What the Patapon 2 Remastered release does is helps illuminate how well it has aged and how wonderful it looks in 1080p on PlayStation 4s and in 4K on PlayStation 4 Pros.
The best word for Patapon 2 Remastered is crisp. There are a few minor exceptions to this assessment. The opening movie doesn’t have the same vibrancy as the rest of the game, especially when we’re looking at the book overview reminding us of the Patapon’s saga. Everything else is striking. The text is crisp and easy to read. (Which is, frankly, a godsend in an era when so many games go with ill-suited or miniscule fonts.) The stark black images of characters, environmental objects, monsters, and weapons all jump at you when set against the more muted or colorful backdrops setting the stage for different biomes. It has a defined personality and identity that is as welcoming as possible. It pulls you in and constantly draws your eye, even when there are many things to keep track on. It’s gorgeous on a console. Especially since this also means it gets the audio quality it deserves.
It helps highlight everything’s personality. Even though we have threatening monsters, like the Dodonga, it still has this goofy demeanor to it. Once the Patapons really start attacking it and its exaggerated emotions send it reeling back, it’s hard to take it as a real threat anymore. The Patapons, with their big eyes, have this positivity and passion to them. It comes through. You can practically feel the excitement in their design, and the Patapon 2 Remastered visual upgrades help enhance it even further. The Karmen are threatening and mysterious, but only because you can’t get a sense of who they are with the masks they wear. The Akumapon even more so, due to the more intimidating stature. Having them here, on a console with the visual bump, makes it easier to note all of those designs and see what matters about them.
The thing about the Patapon series is, there has always been these dire undertones. Underneath the bright colors, poppy music, and general optimism, we have multiple games where these individuals are spending presumably years pursuing a dream. It’s like a rhythmic sort of The Odyssey. The Patapons are plagued by one trouble after another. There’s the possibility of starving. Limited armies and resources. Hostile forces. Gigantic monsters. There’s even the possible question of if what they’re looking for even exists. Will it live up to their expectations?
But as you play Patapon 2 Remastered, you may come to realize something. It doesn’t matter if Earthend is there or isn’t. Because like The Odyssey, what matters here is the journey. This is about savoring the experience. It’s about taking in the sites. Even if the Patapon are in danger, with lightning bearing down or flames assaulting your party, it’s gorgeous and expressive. The beat is a fixture. Even if you mess up, it’s easy to pick it up again and watch the flashing border to keep time.
For a game about a group of people that has no qualms about attacking its foes, there’s this inherent innocence and joy to Patapon 2 Remastered. It’s a delight to pick up and play, with a structure that encourages you to play for any amount of time that you like, a style that catches your attention and looks wonderful in 4K, and a melding of rhythm and real-time strategy that works perfectly together. The PlayStation Portable is a classic, and the PlayStation 4 version is as well.
Patapon 2 Remastered is available for the PlayStation 4. Patapon 2 is available on the PlayStation Portable.