Prinny's second heroic adventure features great boss fights, but cheap deaths and lousy controls make this journey extremely frustrating.
- Intense and satisfying boss fights
- Some sections show off the buried potential.
- Unfair difficulty with frequent cheap deaths
- Stiff controls clash with the level design
- Juvenile storyline isn't funny.
In the Disgaea series, Prinnies are nothing more than cannon fodder. Being used as grenades more often than fighters is an awful fate, so it was easy to take in their cheerful disposition and feel sorry for their lot in life. But after playing a few levels in their second chance in a lead role, you might take abject pleasure in punishing these combustible birds in whatever way possible. Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood is structurally identical to its predecessor. As in Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero, you traverse through side-scrolling levels hopping across platforms while fighting enemies until you reach the end boss. But the problems that erected a formidable barrier the first time around haven't been addressed in the slightest. You still have to wrestle with rigid controls the whole way through, and the frequent deaths are now so grossly unfair that it's unrelentingly aggravating. The careful balance between challenge and frustration has been upset, opening the door for bouts of head-pounding agony as you stubbornly force yourself through each stage. Tricky-but-rewarding boss fights provide adequate enticements, but there is too much misery in this demonic tale to make it worth playing for all but the most committed individuals.
Prinny 2 begins on a portentous note. Etna, underworld ruler of a helpless flock of Prinnies, has had her panties stolen. Her biggest fear is that the culprit will sniff them, somehow causing the whole world to end in the process. Now, Prinny is not exactly known for having the most highbrow humor, but there are certain lines of decency that shouldn't be crossed in polite company, and panty sniffing is definitely one of them. This isn't an offensive story by any stretch, but its crass setup only leads to juvenile jokes that are more likely to make you cringe than smile. There's nothing clever in the locker-room banter that pervades this adventure, so instead of having goofy yuks to look forward to at the end of each level, you only have headache-inducing eye rolling that should go along nicely with the blisters forming on your aching thumbs. This is obviously not a game for those who are easily offended nor is it funny enough to amuse those who enjoy raunchy humor.
The weak setup is the first of many problems in this troubled sequel. The combat and structure have been carried over virtually unchanged from the prinnies' original outing. The 2D levels are overflowing with precarious platforms, merciless enemies, and a healthy number of checkpoints to ensure you don't go crazy with rage. Your move list is small, but there is a bit more depth than in the previous game. Your main attack is still a sword that you can spam either while standing on the ground in a direct strike or as a longer-range, diagonal throw while in the air. There is also a butt-stomp that can stun enemies and trigger switches. What's different is how the combo system is utilized because it has major gameplay ramifications. When you hit enemies and eat desserts, a bar at the bottom of the screen begins to fill, and when it reaches its tipping point, you can unleash an impressive move. It's nice having a few powerful attacks in your bag of tricks, but this also makes boss fights slightly easier. Connecting with one of these bad boys does too much damage to bosses, making these otherwise exciting battles a little too easy.
A lack of balance is a theme throughout Prinny 2. Level design has always veered on the punishing side because this is a game in which you are meant to die--and die often. You start with 1,000 lives and run through that reserve rather quickly. But what was once a tough-but-fair experience has now become almost sadistic in its attempt to squash your progress at every opportunity. The problems begin with the controls. They are unchanged from the first entry, but poor level design exasperates the issues that were already present. Although you have a double jump, you cannot control your movement when airborne. This restriction has appeared in other games, but thoughtless level design has made this limitation feel extremely cheap in Prinny 2. Enemies randomly rush at you from offscreen all the time, and it's impossible to avoid them if they appear while you're trying to jump to higher ground. You often have to cross your fingers and hope nothing is waiting for you out of sight because it's not always possible to shift the screen slightly to look ahead in the heat of battle. And even when you can shift the screen, it doesn't scroll far enough to take in all potential threats.
The ground pound is also quite finicky. There's a noticeable delay between when you hit the button and when you begin the move, and the difference between striking your target and falling into a bottomless pit occurs in that beat. And don't think foresight will solve this issue, either. Enemies turn and juke on their own accord, and some vanish entirely, which leads to lots of deaths that aren't your fault. Oh, and if you miss and hit the ground, you have to deal with a brutal delay before you can move again. This control issue was present in the first game as well, but grueling level design and enemy placement makes it so much more aggravating the second time around. Your sluggish movement also crops up when you climb ledges. It makes sense that a penguin would need a second to hoist itself up on a cliff, but the game isn't designed around this idea. Enemies stand at the top waiting to attack you, and oftentimes, you are stuck in a no-win situation where the only way to advance is by climbing, but you're repeatedly knocked back whenever you grab onto a ledge.
- Player Reviews: 3
- Game Universe:
- Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PS2, PSP),
- Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (PS2, PSP),
- Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten (PS3),
- Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! (PSP),
- Disgaea Infinite (PSP),
- Disgaea DS (DS),
- Disgaea: Netherworld Unbound (AND),
- Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention (VITA),
- Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness (PS3)