Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

Tak and the Power of Juju was a truly enjoyable adventure that oozed charm from its traditional platforming pores. It didn’t do anything that warranted the turning of heads, but it did deliver where it’s most important in offering a well-paced platform adventure set in a beautiful tribal environment. The sequel does all this and more, Tak fans the world over, shall rejoice.

The story goes a little like this: During a 16-day slumber, Tak is this time tasked with the rescuing of a princess in the dream world. The plot retains the witty charm from the previous game and makes, what is basically a very shallow plot, all the more interesting then it would have been if it had went without this level of humour.

The game itself does initially appear to be an identikit sequel, but going deeper does eventually reveal a superior game to its predecessor.

We didn’t mind the simplicity of the combat system in the original game, but the improvements in this sequel are obvious sooner rather then later. Those who couldn’t get past the button-mashing nature will be pleased to find the capability of combo attacks now included in this bigger and better game. The truth of the matter is that button-bashing still doesn’t fail whilst engaged in combat, but it’s nice to know that there are some resourceful combinations to fall back on in times of need.

The same can be said of Tak’s Juju powers, they look great, but often they feel a touch unnecessary during the course of the game. Again, it’s always preferable to have a little variety in a combat system opposed to straight out button mashing. This will surely please the most opposites of gamers, which can only be a good thing.

The adventuring remains pretty much unchanged from that of the original game, although it has less reliance on collecting this time around, and much more of an emphasis on jumping and fighting. Thankfully the pacing of the original game has been retained and there’s plenty of variety in each of the huge linear levels, including everything from going downstream in a barrel to even making yourself smelly to attract the attention of a boar.

The adventure may basically have a solitary path, but there are some secrets to be found in the form of various berries, insects and fruit. These new collectable items allow you to conjure up Juju potions, which unlock new gaming features when mixed. Recipe cards can be found throughout the games environments, which reveal the ingredients of a certain locked item. It’s a nice idea, which gives extra incentive in playing levels again to earn extra ingredients as well as seeking out recipe cards that you may have earlier missed.

Dinky games add some more juice to the games lifespan, allowing 1-2 players to get involved in a collection of 25 mini games. This is an admirable inclusion without a doubt, although these games didn’t really hold our interest in the way that the single player did. A large portion of the Dinky games and playable characters are locked at the beginning of the game, and the earlier mentioned Juju potions are the way to gain access to them.

Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams is a fantastic sequel to what was already a great adventure, and it’s fast becoming a franchise that will soon be tackling the platforming giants. It may not quite be there yet, but it’s definitely a series that has the legs to eventually become a serious contender.

8/10

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