Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
  • Genre:
    • Platformer
  • Platform:
    • PSP
  • Developer:
    • Nippon Ichi Software
  • Publisher:
    • NIS America
  • Released:
    • JP 03/25/2010
    • UK 12/15/2010
    • US 01/11/2011
Score: 75%

This review was published on 07/21/2012.

If you're looking for a game with a strange title, then look no further than Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! It's even got an exclamation point and everything. The Prinny games are a spin-off of the strategy role-playing game series known as Disgaea. Prinnies were small, weak, useless characters in the Disgaea games, but are the unlikely heroes of the Prinny games on the PSP. Prinny 2 is a 2.5-D platform game with side-scrolling action and incredibly challenging game play. Disgaea is known for its zany humor, and the Prinny games are no different. You can already tell that much from reading this game's title. Prinny 2 isn't any more or less spectacular than the first game, and the first game wasn't that spectacular in the first place.

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Once again, Etna, the current ruler of the Netherworld and a character from the Disgaea series, returns to make the lives of her Prinny army a living nightmare. Etna is a cruel demon with the body of a 12 year old, but is actually several centuries old. It becomes apparent within the opening sequence of the game that someone has stolen Etna's panties, hence the game's title. This greatly displeases her, so she sends an army of 1,000 Prinny soldiers to return the stolen undergarment and to find the pervert responsible for the great injustice. Isn't that a little overkill? That's the ridiculous plot to this game in a nutshell. The Prinny games take place in the same world as the Disgaea series, which is a world inhabited by terrible demons that prey on the weak and generally do misdeeds. Prinnies are souls of the damned trapped in penguin suits to pay for the sins of their mortal lives. This might all sound like a downer, but the light hearted humor overrides the gloomy setting. In the end, Prinny 2 is a platform game and the plot's only purpose is to provide a slightly amusing backdrop to the action packed game play. I would say the story does a well enough job at what it aims to do.

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Prinny 2 plays a lot like the Ghost 'n Goblins games from yesteryear. The dreaded fixed jump is here in all of its unholy glory. If you're not familiar with the term, this is when your jumps have a fixed distance that can't be easily altered. You do get the ability to perform double jumps, which slightly offsets the problem of the fixed jumps. The Prinnies can also pull off a ground pound move that will slightly injure almost anything beneath them. The nature of fixed jumps forces you to carefully plan out your movement across platforms, because there isn't much you can do while in the air. Not many people are fans of the fixed jump, understandably so. Prinnies are equipped with daggers that they can use for short range attacks, or long range strikes when in mid-air. There's a needlessly convoluted dash move you can do by holding down a button and releasing it at the right time. The primary gimmick of the game is that you control a single Prinny at a time, and there are a 1,000 Prinnies in reserve. Every time the player dies, one of those 1,000 Prinnies are lost. This essentially acts as a lives system seen in almost every other platform game ever. The catch, however, is that you only get 1,000 Prinnies for the whole game. If you lose all 1,000 Prinnies, then the game ends and you must start over from the very beginning. It's possible to save between levels, and this is something that's necessary to exploit if you have any hopes of completing the game. Don't underestimate the game due to its cuteness; this is one extremely difficult journey. It's not quite as hard as the Ghost 'n Goblins series of games, but it isn't too far off the mark. The high level of difficulty is one of the main draws to this game, so you may want to look elsewhere if this doesn't appeal to you.

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Graphics aren't a strong point for Prinny 2. In fact, the graphics are one of the definite weak points. The combination of 2-D sprites and ugly polygons form a visual catastrophe. I never understood why the developers frequently go with this style for the majority of their games. The PSP should be capable of far more than this. I'm not one to dismiss a game purely based on its graphics, but these are some shabby graphics. On the bright side, the graphics don't really matter. I know that doesn't sound like much of a bright side, and it isn't. It's just one of the things you'll have to deal with when enjoying the finer points of Prinny 2. If there's anything good to be said about the graphics, it's that the artwork isn't too bad. The character portraits and background images look particularly good. It would have been nice if the entire game looked like those hand drawn backgrounds. This game doesn't benefit from the 3-D graphics in the least, so things would have been better if everything was done using 2-D art. As it is, the 2-D game play doesn't mesh well with these drab 3-D graphics. Besides the nice artwork, the other aspect of the game's presentation that's any good is the voice acting. It's not every day a Japanese game localized for U.S. release has good voice acting. Almost every line of spoken dialogue in the game is voice acted, too.

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The game starts off with a tutorial level of sorts, kind of like the introductory stages in some Mega Man games. You have unlimited Prinnies for this stage, and that means death isn't a big deal. Death does become a big deal upon completing this stage, of course. After the intro stage, the ability to select one of six stages then opens up. Again, this is just like in a Mega Man game. The thing about this game that isn't like any Mega Man is the difficulty system. Every time you complete a stage, time within the game world advances by an hour. The various stages increase in difficulty as the hours pass by, so no matter what order you do the stages in, they will always get progressively harder as you play the game. It was like this in the previous Prinny game, as well. This is indeed a unique game mechanic, but it doesn't amount to much. The level design is quite devious. Prinnies get knocked back a fair distance whenever they are hit by an enemy, and there are bottomless pits everywhere. Put those two things together and you have a lot of frustrating deaths. My main beef with the game is how every enemy takes so many hits to defeat. I get that the game is trying to drive home the point that Prinnies are really weak, but it just takes way too long to defeat even the smallest of foes. I hope you like button mashing, because you'll need a lot of it.

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Bosses are encountered at the end of each stage, just like in any other game of this type. Unlike those other games, however, bosses are invincible until you drain their "shield points" using the ground pound attack above their heads. The bosses get temporarily stunned once all their shield points have been depleted, and then you can pummel them for miniscule damage. It takes quite a lot of button mashing to do any kind of significant damage to these bosses, which is very annoying. Outside of the obnoxious button mashing, there isn't anything wrong with the boss fights. I would go so far as to say that they're good. The shield point system adds a nice strategic element to these battles, because you have to cautiously plan out your attacks before taking action. Every fight comes down to analyzing the boss' pattern and finding openings to launch an assault. Oh, and the boss fights are notoriously difficult, just like the rest of the game. The biggest hurdle with the bosses is actually the fixed length of your jumps, as this greatly limits your ability to dodge attacks. This limitation pretty much forces you to know what's coming before it comes, so it will almost always take multiple attempts to beat a boss on the first encounter.

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Prinny 2 is almost identical to the first game, from graphics to game play mechanics. It has all of the strengths and weaknesses of the first game. Strengths include well designed levels, fun boss fights, and charming dialogue. The astronomically high challenge level will be polarizing. Some people will love it, and others will hate it. It's vital to understand that this game exists primarily to provide a challenging experience; otherwise the appeal won't be apparent. That's just this game's problem, too. Prinny 2 sacrifices too much substance and entertainment value to achieve its high challenge level, resulting in a somewhat lackluster game.

Word Count: 1,501

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