Patapon 3 PSP Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Pyramid/Sony Computer Entertainment Japan – Genre – Strategy – Players – 1-8 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

The original Patapon was a fairly simple affair, though its sequel was more complex, some felt needlessly so. Patapon 3 brings additional layers of complexity to the series, further bringing the RPG elements to the forefront.

On a basic level, Patapon 3 functions much like any other game in the series. So it’s an odd coupling of rhythm action and RTS that really works, though this time around you don’t play the role of a god. Instead you are a superhero Patapon, and are in charge of a small group of four as opposed to a vast army.

Everything from simple movement to attacking is relayed to your Patapon army through different combinations of buttons, of which must be pressed in a certain rhythm. Immediately entering a command after another will create a combo and repeatedly doing it will trigger fever mode, causing your Patapon’s to deal more damage to their enemies.

It can be pretty daunting at first to remember each different button combination, though in a welcome touch, they’re all displayed at the bottom of the screen, of which is a useful point of reference for new players in particular, though many will come to memorize the commands over time.

It’s certainly for the best to imprint each command to your memory too – Patapon 3 can be a very hard game and a greater degree of success is likely if you can remember the commands so you can for example quickly move your army out of harm’s way.

Grinding is sometimes necessary to level up your squad and obtain better equipment; only a small minority will find this enjoyable, whilst others will be turned off by having to repeatedly replay missions, just so they are able to make progression.

The right setup for your squad is paramount too. Each Patapon can be equipped with weapons and skills and, when they reach certain levels, you’re able to switch their classes. You can purchase new equipment and, with sufficient materials, you’re also able to forge new weapons. RPG fans are sure to enjoy the prospect of tweaking their squad to get them to their optimum performance.

There’s a real sense of growth with your squad, all the more so with the fact that they level up and, even with failure, there’s a feeling of progression, as any XP that was acquired before you were wiped out is retained.

Easing the difficulty somewhat is the fact that the game can be played in co-op, both via Ad-hoc and online. If a stage is giving you bother, you’re able to partner up with a higher level player, giving you more of a chance to make progression.

Patapon 3 will be disappointing to those that felt that the more complicated nature of Patapon 2 got in the way of the battlefield action, as the third iteration is even more complex. A certain type of gamer, however, will enjoy learning all of its intricacies, and will find it to be an engaging and sizable game.