Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 17.09.2016

Review for Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 on PlayStation 4

A successor to 2007's Pac-Man Championship Edition, this aptly-named sequel takes the successful Pac-Man formula and turns it into something both familiar and tantalisingly alien. Pac-Man has been an arcade staple for over 30 years, and while it still holds up to this day, there's always room for something new and exciting, and that's just what this title delivers. With a host of new features and new high scores to beat, it's time for a trip back to the retro stylings of Pac-Man himself.

Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is a far stretch from its roots. The fast-paced gameplay doesn't stylistically bear much resemblance to the arcade cabinet hit, aside from graphics and theme. Where the original Pac-Man's goal was always the same, this iteration changes things up by challenging players with rapid and diverse challenges, all set within the general rules of the series.

While the first Championship Edition had a few new ideas to shake up the formula, this entry goes all out with the revisions. The most noticeable is the addition of the 'bomb' power-up, which allows Pac-Man to blast his way back to the starting point. While he starts with only a few bombs (less on higher difficulties) he can also earn more by consuming every single dot on the level.

Screenshot for Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 on PlayStation 4

With the original objective turned into the chance for a power-up, the goal might seem a bit strange to veteran fans of the series. Each level in the standard arcade mode puts players through a gauntlet of themed stages, with the only objective being the highest score in a limited amount of time. There's about ten uniquely themed stages, each with four modes of play suited for different degrees of skill, offering a wide variety of options for those looking to practice, or those who really want a challenge.

Each maze has a small bar representing how many pellets must be eaten before a fruit appears at the starting point, or a power pellet that allows Pac-Man to clear the ghosts in a rather grand spectacle. Either moves Pac-Man on to the next stage very quickly, assuming they don't try to run from him. As the game so handily points out early on, most stages have an ideal course running to Pac-Man's immediate left. For the most part, this means that there is usually a supposed "best way" to complete each stage, rather than the impulsive decision-making required in the classic.

This is particularly noticeable with a couple of the newer features. Smaller mini-ghosts appear around the stage, blocking off sections of maze. Passing by a mini-ghost removes it from the map and adds it to the tail end of one of the more classic apparitions that stalk Pac-Man through the maze. This turns levels into a pseudo version of Snake as the trails get longer and longer, making avoiding them a much bigger challenge than in games past.

Screenshot for Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 on PlayStation 4

To help remedy this, ghosts no longer end Pac-Man's life on the first hit. Instead, they must be hit multiple times within a short window of time before they start chasing Pac-Man in a murderous rampage. They will revert to their less threatening form over time, but it still feels like an unusual change from one of the series' most memorable challenges.

The end result is that all the stages feel much more streamlined than before. Rather than an infinite series of mazes with no end in sight, each stage feels more like a small minigame in, well, a much larger minigame. Each stage feels more like an increasingly longer WarioWare challenge, and while it's unique and interesting, it definitely has a different feel to it than classic Pac-Man.

Screenshot for Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 on PlayStation 4

There's lot of new ways to help familiarise players to the changes, either through the helpful tutorial that explains all the new features through short stages, or through the adventure mode that offers challenges of various difficulties based around the new mechanics. Both are supplementary to the main game, but offer a nice introduction to a familiar feeling game with a lot of snazzy new features.

The biggest downfall with Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is its linearity. Each stage really doesn't feel different, even on successive playthroughs. Maps don't really change from play to play, aside from the routes the ghosts take, and even those are mostly ignorable thanks to the multi-hit features. Additionally, maps can get extremely crowded, especially with the addition of the ghost trains that really muck up stages later on.

There's a lot to like, between all the new gameplay features and diverse courses, but, ultimately, it feels like a very different game wearing Pac-Man's face. The core "eat pellets, move to next stage" gameplay is still there, but it's remixed in a way that doesn't really feel familiar. It's a much faster, messier Pac-Man—one that provides more arcade style visuals than gameplay. It's definitely fun, but it might come across as off-putting to long-time fans.

Screenshot for Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

While it's still mostly the same game as its predecessor, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 offers just enough new to be exciting. The classic arcade game is at its core, but it's a fresh take on the classic maze-traveling adventures of Pac-Man. It's a feel-good arcade classic with a modern coat of paint, and it's definitely been tuned for the modern age. Gameplay is a little more streamlined than classic Pac-Man games, and sometimes there is a bit too much going on with all the new additions, but it's overall an enjoyable and unique departure from the 80s smash hit.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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