PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2 Review – Using Training Wheels (PS3)
One of things that we start to take for granted as we get older and more familiar with the fundamentals of playing games, is the need for upcoming generations to have experiences that build up their own set of skills. PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is a game that’s obviously designed for a younger gaming demographic, but is still a title that could have been much more if it didn’t settle for only appeasing those who have no bar to set.
Having been a fan of third-person action adventure games for some time, but never have gone through a PAC-MAN game that wasn’t like the arcade classic, I was curious to see how Ghostly Adventures 2 would hold up. On some levels the game does a wonderful job of mixing up gameplay aspects to keep players from getting bored; although, it seems to shift gears so often and fast that it becomes difficult to ever really appreciate any single offering. Leading me to feel like this was designed to keep the attention of younger gamers, who may get bored of a game if things don’t constantly keep offering something new and shiny. This, of course, leads most of games charming aspects to feel flat and soulless for anyone actually stopping to look at what it has to offer.
One of the greatest concepts for Ghostly Adventures 2 is the ability for PAC-MAN to eat an orb to gain one of nine different forms that can range from being able to freeze water or enemies, to being able to go into a rubber form be able to bounce. As you start to hop between costumes, you start to notice that each one is designed for a single purpose that usually relates to a different gaming skill set to use. The Chameleon costume, while using some of the laziest animations possible, tasks the player with being able to time jumps and react fast enough to catch the next hook to swing from. Another example is the magnetic costume, which requires players to learn about perspective, as they will be walking along roofs or laterally and vertically hoping between spinning platforms.
On top of being able to use PAC-MAN, players will also get a chance to use Spiral, who gets to use the Cherry copter and Cyli, who uses her hover board. Both characters have the ability to help PAC-MAN out, but only in specific situations or levels, and share a similar tunnel shooter gameplay style that is only there to keep gameplay from ever getting stagnant.
Instead of simply having to play through all of the story missions, each map will have a number of Challenge modes that are little more than time-attack missions that utilize a players ability to use a certain ability with some very light puzzle aspects. Younger gamers who are still training their abilities in traversing dynamic landscapes will find some difficult obstacles, but seasoned gamers should not have any issues other than getting bored. As much as the game mixes up the gameplay and its environments, nothing it does can be considered new, unless you don’t have much of a history fall back on.
Fans of the TV show will find a great deal of content, as each character is fully voiced and comes with a complete bio. But, the hub world that is used to tie everything together feels far to vacant and spaced out, leaving it to look like nothing more than a bloated out gimmick that could have easily been a menu option. Overall, PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is a simple experience that is designed for younger gamers, and more specifically fans of the TV show. Anyone who is looking for a throwback to older platforming titles will find a bit of it here, but will quickly realize just how low the bar was set on developing something that could have been more than a decent kids game.
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