Review: PaRappa the Rapper 2 (PS4)

parappa-the-rapper-2-review-banner
Title: PaRappa the Rapper 2
Format: PlayStation Network Download (3.2 GB) / DVD Disc
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Original PS2 Release Date: January 21, 2002
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment, NanaOn-Sha
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E
PaRappa the Rapper 2 is also available on PlayStation 2.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

The PS2 game Parappa the Rappa 2 comes to the PS4 as a classic title, featuring everyone’s favorite rapping dog. As the PS2 games on PS4 are emulated, rather than remastered, the game should be pretty much the same as it was on PS2. For those who haven’t played it on the PS2, read on to see how the game holds up in the current era.

In this entry, our hero Parappa has found that all the food in his city is being replaced with spaghetti. In order to get to the bottom of these strange happenings, and to hopefully find something else to eat, Parappa sets out to find out what’s causing everything in the best way he knows how: rap battles.

Gameplay:
The game plays like a rhythm game, though not like a lot of the modern ones. In this one, Parappa’s opponent will rap a phrase which is indicated by a series of button presses with a scrolling timing icon. The player/Parappa must then repeat the phrase with the same button presses in time with the still scrolling timing icon. The player is scored on how close to the original they were.

However, Parappa is also given reins to freestyle the phrase slightly. While the player still has to hit the phrases sung by the CPU character, they can also add in extra button presses to repeat words and add a little pizazz to their version of the lyrics. While the lyrics might only call for the phrase “flip the burger!” the player can freestyle to make it sound like “fli-flip the burger… burger… burger!”

PaRappa the Rapper™ 2_20151218194107PaRappa the Rapper™ 2_20151219080733

Compared to some modern rhythm games with freestyle components (such as Rock Band 4), this is a very limited system. Still, even with these limits, it’s fun to warp the lyrics a little bit and the game does give extra points for well-timed freestyling.

It’s pretty small overall with less than ten stages/songs, and it could easily be finished in an afternoon. There are a few bonuses to search for though, such as extra hats for Parappa which are earned by playing through the game. And of course as an emulated PS2 game, there are now Trophies to hunt down (though sadly no Platinum).

… a laggy TV …
One unfortunate aspect of the emulation is that compared to the TV’s that were common during the PS2 days, modern TVs often have a lot of lag from digital signal post processing. Many modern rhythm games will include a lag compensation option to adjust for this but Parappa 2 doesn’t have one.

I was eventually able to adjust myself to the lag, for the most part, but those who listened to Episode 455 of the podcast might have heard that Josh had a harder time adjusting. Something to keep in mind for those who know they have a laggy TV. (Editor’s Note: So I wasn’t just crazy!)

PaRappa the Rapper™ 2_20151217221229PaRappa the Rapper™ 2_20151218195355

Visuals:
Game graphics have come a long way since the PS2 days and not all games have aged well. Fortunately then, Parappa 2 uses rather stylized graphics, which I’ve found tend to age better than their ‘realistic’ looking counterparts.

In this case, the graphics are stylized to make the characters appear to be paper thin, flopping around in the world. This ends up working well because there aren’t obvious low polygon characters like in some older games. The characters are also very cartoony in both appearance and movement, which works well with the style of the game.

This is still clearly a PS2 game though, and the enhancements of the emulation can only do so much. But overall the game is pretty fun to watch as it is being played.

… a little corny and silly …
Audio:
Music is important to rhythm games and Parappa 2 is no exception. As stated earlier, the track list (stage list) is pretty small with less than ten songs overall. They were all composed for the game, so don’t expect to go in knowing any songs.

In fitting with the style, the songs are also reminiscent of songs one might expect to hear in an 90’s cartoon. They’re still pretty catchy but the lyrics are all a little corny and silly.

PaRappa the Rapper™ 2_20151217221242PaRappa the Rapper™ 2_20151218194428

Online/Multiplayer:
To help pad out the game, there is also a local multiplayer version of each song. In the multiplayer mode, player one is given a phrase, which they can freestyle. Player two then repeats the phrase, with their own freestyle.

The players are compared in score and either player’s freestyle additions can be added into the phrase as it bounces back and forth between both players. After a few back and forths, the player with the most points wins that phrase and the game moves on to another phrase. The winner of three of the five phrases is crowned the overall winner.

This isn’t really a riveting multiplayer mode but it’s a welcome addition given how short the game is. And it’s worth noting that this mode can also be played against an AI character of varying difficulty if the player has no one locally to play against.

… a half-hearted recommendation …
Conclusion:
While the base game is fun, the short overall length keeps Parappa 2 from being a classic that really stands the test of time. I’d probably give it a half-hearted recommendation to gamers who want to see where rhythm games were before the age of plastic peripherals. But it’ll take some effort to get more than an afternoon or two’s worth of entertainment out of the title.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg
Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook
  • Makai Ookami

    You actually aren’t scored on how close you are to the original. Have you gotten a cool rating? When you do the master of the level drops out and you rap by yourself.

    As a result I would argue the lag/latency thing isn’t an issue.

    From Gamefaqs

    – Freestyling: Getting A COOL Rating –

    The ultimate goal for each Stage is to jam really well and reach the fabled
    “COOL” Rating. But you can’t be that cool by just following the Teacher’s
    examples all the time. You’ve gotta freestyle your playing while following
    the beat. The easiest way to freestyle is to press a button multiple times
    more than needed, while following the beat. It’s kind of hard to explain,
    so here are some examples:

    Here’s more from Gamefaqs. BTW he’s using A as a stand in for Triangle.

    (Example 3: Less Can Be More)
    Okay, sometimes lines with huge amounts of notes that can be tricky
    to play at a decent pace. These kind of lines are just BEGGING to
    be freestyled. Take a look at this line:

    A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A

    Now pressing the A Button that quickly for that long can throw
    off your timing or wear you out. Instead of trying to hit EVERY
    beat there, try leaving some out, like this:

    A – A – A – A – A – A – A A A A

    Now the freestyled verse not only gives you more time to think
    between beat and lets you hit them more dead-on, it scores you
    more points for originality!

  • Makai Ookami

    I’ll try and post a clip here at some point for a section where they use numbers like 1, 2, 3, 4 and do like 4, 4, 2, 1, 3 or something to prove my point, because there were some matches where I figured out how to freestyle by basically incorporating the phrases without actually being close to the original without being penalized.

    Plus many of the songs talk about freestyling and putting your own spin on it, so… I think this game is more appealing, when played PROPERLY. I.E. not like other standard rhythm games.