Ah Prinnies, Disgaea's answer to the lowest form of life. Invaluable little exploding pawns in the core Disgaea franchise, now they return for more love in their own little spin-off. Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dude! is the love letter from NIS to all those old-skool die-hard platform geeks that lapped up the first game.
Returning to the Netherworld, we're greeted with a plot that could only be inspired by the Japanese; someone has stolen demon femme-fatale Etna's panties, and the hapless Prinnies have to fight their way across the realm to retrieve said lingerie before Etna goes nuts and wipes them all out in a fit of rage.
Fiery redheads eh?
The game once again provides a solid platform (no pun intended) for some bouncy hi-jinx. The pastel-shaded graphics are every bit as enticing as they were the first time around, and the Netherworld is always a pleasure to visit. The characters are once again insanely appealing, being almost too cute to kill in many instances.
That assumes, of course, that yo get the opportunity. Like the original game, Prinny 2 forgoes any of the modern-day handholding that all games seem to offer. Prinny 2 guards its secrets jealously, and you'll need some actual skill to butt-pound and slash your way to victory here. While this unforgiving game-play may deter the faint of heart, for old-timers like me it's a healthy reminder that games were created to challenge, not escort you to the finish line and make you feel good about yourself. Time to man-up or ship-out here.
There are limited upgrades for your Prinnies - food builds up your combo meter, and yams... well yams make you fart until your little Prinny is airborn. Yeah, that's all the help you're getting here. You can spin for an attack boost, but that takes about a second, leaving you vulnerable. And if you spin too long, you'll fall over. It'll take some practice.
Luckily there's 1,000 lives available in the game, but that's still not enough to get cocky. Score chasing will require you to cherish each Prinny as if it were your last, and believe me, no one is making it through this game in one run.
On top of this, teh game adds some variety by letting you attack the first 6 levels in pany order you like, with each becoming more difficult the longer you leave it. This allows for some fun replay value, as you can "spot the difference" on multiple replays, but for reasons I'm about to go into, that may or may not be an option.
You see, Prinny has some pretty simple mechanics; we've touched on the combo meter, built through food, but it can also be augmented by using the butt-pound attack, which stuns but won't damage enemies. The best tactic works for 90% of the game; butt-pound your way to a full meter and then unleash the beast. Playing using only this tactic may be dull, but it's also the most practical way to defeat the game, making it the de-facto strategy for the entire game. You can, of course, mix up your attacks, but why bother when they're not as effective as the most basic attack pattern in the game?
And it's this factor more than any other that hurts Prinny 2. It's a beautiful game, and just shines on the PSP, but by not creating a varied challenge, it cripples itself for replay value. This is a shame, because it really does reward persistence. There are tons of unlockables, including new characters (with more varied attacks), a new sub-story (Asagi wars) with new levels and bosses, and much more besides. If the game hadn't boxed itself into the repetitive corner through lack of variety, it would have been practically flawless.
But lets not get too down on the game; the core experience is largely fun, the characters are a blast and it even has plentiful DLC to keep the challenge coming. As a unique IP on PSP it's utterly invaluable, and along with Disgaea provides some much needed, quality love for Sony's oft-overlooked technical marvel.
If you love a challenge, great graphics, wondrous imagination or are simply mad for Prinnies, then pick this up, dood!