|Release: January 11, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Last year's Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? was a fun title that took the platforming genre to its most hardcore extreme. The premise was simple: you have 1,000 Prinnies, and each one can be killed after being touched just twice (Prinnies are highly volatile creatures). Once all your Prinnies died, you had to start from the beginning. And no, not the beginning of the level. The beginning of the game. 1,000 lives sounds like a lot initially, but when each Prinny can be killed by simply touching an enemy, your cache of Prinny reserves dwindled fast. And when you are facing Prinny supplies of less than 100 when you aren't even halfway through the game, the game's real challenge became palpable.
As insane as it sounds, fans really responded to the challenge, it seems, and Prinny is back for another platforming adventure in Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!. So what has changed for this entry? Well, not much, really. You still have 1,000 Prinnies to start off with, there are still plenty of ridiculous platforming stages to overcome, and you will still probably end up failing miserably on your first attempt. Now that Prinny has come into its own as a series and not just a one-off Disgaea spin-off, the series is earning its reputation as a game only for the ultra-masochistic. If you like sinking ten hours into a game just to have to restart when you fail miserably right before the final boss' door, then Prinny 2 is for you.
If you can stand the difficulty, Prinny 2 can be a lot of fun. As the title implies, the story is paper-thin and involves the Prinnies finding themselves under the wrath of Miss Etna (big surprise there!) who has lost her panties. Of course, she is convinced they have been stolen (and a nefarious note from a "Phantom Thief" backs up her ravings), and it is up to the Prinnies to find the stolen panties and bring them back to Etna. The game features cameos by the entire cast of Disgaea, and there are plenty of memorable moments that Disgaea fans will absolutely love. The game features the same irreverent humor that its parent series has become famous for, and the dialogue is certainly one of the game's most memorable facets.
Unfortunately, as much as I found the humor in the game to be amusing, the gameplay was less so. At first, Prinny 2 seems like a straightforward platforming affair, with Prinny jumping across pits and slashing enemies with his sword. However, the game doesn't control all that well, and some of the mechanics actually work against you and cause some "cheap"-feeling deaths, which can be extra maddening considering life is so precious in Prinny 2. For example, the jumping mechanic, which is necessary not only for crossing ledges, but also for executing stun attacks and hitting switches, has a static movement arc, and once you hit the button, you can't change your direction in mid-air. This may not sound like a big deal, but it actually hampers the game considerably, as you have to nail the jump perfectly from a distance while factoring in enemies both near and far. And if one pops up while you are jumping, that's just your bad luck, and you'll lose a Prinny. Although the jumping is the most egregious of these control issues, I found spinning and using jump-based attacks to also be uneven in the game, which led to more Prinny deaths than I care to admit to.