There is a certain atavistic revelry to the gameplay of Keita Takahashi’s ‘Katamari Damacy’. Nothing about the core gameplay really changes, yet every session still seems completely different. No two katamari you create are ever the same, and the screams of passer-bys as you pick them up never becomes monotonous. Unfortunately, despite the retention of all the core ideas that make this game fun, the latest addition to Namco’s (now Bandai-Namco) Katamari franchise suffers from a much more serious bout of déjà vu.

Released recently on the Playstation 3, ‘Katamari Forever’ is in fact the sixth game in the Katamari series, but is also the fourth consecutive game in the series to be developed with no assistance from the game’s original designer. That’s right, Takahashi refused to turn his idea into another franchise, and I can only smugly imagine the discomfort that Bandai-Namco’s executives must have felt to be sitting on a cash-cow ripe for foraging into exciting new territory like the iPhone’s tilt-accelerometer (‘I Love Katamari’ for the iOS) and the Xbox 360’s er… features (‘Beautiful Katamari’). However let me not get swept up into any premature nay-saying. Instead, let’s delve deeper into the heart of ‘Katamari Forever’ and flesh it out thoroughly, and maybe then perhaps ask whether the sky is indeed falling towards our heads at an increasingly faster rate.

Yeah, this game has graphics. It definitely has graphics. (from: IGN)

Katamari Forever is the kind of game that video game enthusiasts love to hate, but a game that does indeed have a niche. With the advent of gigantic-screen televisions, it would be a unfortunate, nay dire shame that a game so classic as Katamari Damacy be only playable in 480 or even 760p, and moreover an insult to Sony’s monolithic console! Thus, Katamari Forever renders in sweet sweet 1080p for those with 20/20 vision and the cash to prove it. But in all seriousness that isn’t as much of a feature or an upgrade as much as an expectation these days, although it is nice at least to have a better-looking game on a more powerful console rather than pull out the dusty PS2 to play the earliest games. Well, in fairness our PS2s are not all that dusty due to their still-excellent library, and Katamari Damacy was never really a game that prided itself on fancy graphics. So to Bandai-Namco and your 1080p, don’t pat yourself on the back, unless by pat you really mean slap, and by back you really mean… yeah.

You might be silently asking me to lay off the hate, cuz all graphics look ugly after a while, and all sequels are supposed to be prettier, and all that some-such. That’s true, if these sequels also do their part by adding content or features, or anything new at all. This is where Katamari Forever hilariously fails, to the point of making me laugh out loud several times while playing the game. You see, half of Katamari Forever is directly ripped from the first two games. Something to do with the King of All Cosmos losing his memory and having to remember it by repeating the stuff in the old games, or something. That’s pretty ridiculous, Bandai-Namco. Some game studios spend years developing the features for a single game, but you insist on charging the same 60 bucks for this racket? If Keita Takahashi were dead right now, he’d be rolling around in his grave, scooping up headstones and coffins into a gigantic clump of dead bodies.

Does this level look familiar? (from: Kotaku)

But perhaps the most insulting part of Katamari Forever for long-time fans like myself is that when all is said, the game is still stupidly fun. God-damnit guys, you know just how to boil my blood, by making a spineless evil game that I can’t even help but play through. Katamari Forever’s greatest contribution to gamedom is how it reminds us how innovative and fresh the original Katamari Damacy really was. It’s also a lesson to every aspiring game developer out there: fresh ideas come from inside, not from the boardrooms of expensive production companies.

This review was published previously, but I couldn’t stand to see my fresh blog empty.

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