Let’s go live to the Rhythm Arena.

Aside

“Rhythm Paradise Megamix, THAT TRUE?!”

“EH!”

“WHOA, YOU GO TSUNKU♂!”

“HUH-YA!”

Hahaha YES! Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus is coming to the West! I am absolutely friggin’ DELIGHTED. I thought it would never happen. 😀

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チョコレートバスタブ!!

(That means “chocolate bathtub”. I’ll get to it. 😛 )

So, I got a few new games for the 3DS recently. Well, when I say “recently”, I mean “within the last three months or so”. 😛  I got Paper Mario: Sticker Star for my birthday. I friggin’ love the Paper Mario series, and I’d been wanting to get Sticker Star for a while now.

Before I headed up to my parents’ place for my birthday, though (before I had Sticker Star), I was wondering what to play on the journey. I’d stopped playing Monster Hunter because all of a sudden, the difficulty pretty much doubled and the item grinding got utterly stupid, a combination which slowly made the game more frustrating than fun. I mean, come on; a 3×1% chance of finding a Monoblos Heart? So, with those odds, if I had exactly average luck, and with my skill level and equipment, I would have to fight the same monster repeatedly for 8 1/4 hours. And I hadn’t even reached G level yet, where I imagine it gets even more retarded! So no, fuck that shit! 😛

I’d finished Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, too, and I didn’t really feel like playing that on Hard mode. Buuuuut, the night before my trip, I found a game on the eShop that I’d never even heard of before: Project Mirai DX. It had a demo, so I gave it a try because “why the hell not, it’s free”. It went beyond my expectations and I friggin’ loved it, so I went ahead and bought it for the journey.

So, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, a game I’d been really looking forward to, and Project Mirai DX, a strange game I’d never even heard of. Which one have I been playing the most?

Sticker Star, of course!

Just kidding. Project Mirai. By a LONG shot. 😛

So… what is it, exactly? Well… it’s a rhythm game… mainly. 😛 It’s centred around Japanese “vocaloids”, which are… kinda difficult to explain. The best description I can think of is that they’re “virtual singers”; computerised “instruments” that can “sing” whatever you want, however you want. I don’t know much about them, but it appears Hatsune Miku is the “original” vocaloid, or at least Sega’s original vocaloid. It’s pretty amazing, actually; they’re effectively specialised text-to-speech engines, but they sound really, REALLY good. 😀 Japan seems to agree; Miku is apparently like a superstar over there, and she doesn’t even exist. I mean, she’s just a piece of software. 😛

The “core” of the game is the Rhythm Game. It’s fairly simplistic; you have a ring which follows a line automatically. Notes appear on the line, and all you need to do is hit the correct button when the circle lines up with the note. There are a few extra gimmicks thrown in to make things interesting, such as double lines, where you have to use the D-Pad to hit the notes on the other line, and long notes (which require you to release the button with good timing, too). Long notes can also be rainbow-coloured; in that case, you can spin the Circle Pad for bonus Mirai Points (the game’s currency). Also, you’ll come across strings of notes which are sat on a on a gold line. These are “SP Sequences”, and hitting all of the notes in the sequence with good accuracy scores you a bonus. Each song also has a “Tap Mode” note chart, where you have to use the touch screen to tap on the colour that matches the note, and Tap Mode also features slide notes, where you have to slide/flick the stylus in the given direction. Sure, the controls and mechanics may be fairly simplistic, but… somehow, I find it REALLY fun to play. 😀

Your accuracy is rated with a series of interestingly-selected descriptive words: Cool, Fine, Safe, Sad, Miss and Awful. “Awful” is especially interesting; it’s technically “Miss”, but it’s seemingly only there to rub in the fact that you didn’t even bother trying to hit the note and just let it sail past. 😛 Hitting a note with an accuracy below “Fine” breaks your combo, despite the fact that “Safe” sounds like it would keep your combo… safe. 😛 If you make it to the end without ever breaking your combo, you’ll get a Perfect. If you don’t do that, but manage to hit every SP Sequence, you get an SP All rating. Along with your score, you also get given a percentage; breaking certain percentage barriers increases your grade, from C to S+. The percentage will probably never reach 100%, unless you’re unrealistically good, or unless you’re playing Tap Mode, in which case, your final percentage can end up being quite… peculiar, like… like this one, for example:

Finder (Tap, Normal), 138,609, 101.81%

I think I can explain why you can get percentages like this, actually. The game drops you a hint after you play enough Tap Mode, telling you that you can get more points if you hit several slide notes in a row without removing the stylus from the screen. However, I’m pretty sure there’s a bug where if you tap a normal note before a slide note but don’t remove the stylus from the screen before you hit the slide note, it counts it as a 1-Chain, but it shouldn’t count a 1-Chain until you hit two slide notes in a row. This makes the game give you more points than it should, and if you do it enough times during a song, you can break 100%, sometimes even if you didn’t get a Cool rating on all your notes! Yay bugs! 😀

Since the game’s characters are all vocaloids, every song contains vocals sung by up to three of the seven vocaloids featured in the game. And holy SHIT I’ve just realised, you can switch the vocaloid(s) in some of the songs. 😛 There are quite a lot of songs, about 44, I think. Each of these songs has a Tap Mode and a Button Mode, so that’s 88 note charts… if you just play on Easy. 😛 If you include Normal and Hard difficulties, there’re a total of 264 note charts. Nice! 😀

Similar to DJ Max, Beatmania and DDR, each of the difficulty levels has a rating. Project Mirai uses a rating from 1-9, 1 being pretty easy and 9 being HOOOOOOOOLLY FUCK THIS IS CRAZY. There’re only a handful of songs with a rating of 9. First one I played was “Matryoshka” on Hard, which is 205BPM, and boosts up to 295 near the end. Second was “Invisible” on Hard, which is “only” 192BPM, but you often find two notes right next to each other, so I end up using the D-Pad for one of them. 😛 Further down the list, there’s Kimi no Taion at 220BPM, but that only feels like a 9 for a small part of the song. But personally, the most painful one has got to be “Gaikotsu Gakudan to Riria”. It’s 130BPM, but the rhythm is so crazy it plays like 260BPM, and it FREQUENTLY puts notes right next to each other and I failed it five times in a row when I first played it and I still can’t get an S+. 😛

About the difficulty range, though…? Actually, I lied. 😛 See, I wrote part of this post while I was still midway through the game, but now that I’ve cleared every song on at least one difficulty… the game told me that some songs contain Super Hard note charts, much to my disbelief. But oh yes, they do. Super Hard songs have a difficulty of “MAX”. And they are all completely psycho. Romeo and Cinderella on Hard (difficulty 7) has enough notes already (788 to be exact; I nearly exploded when I perfected it), but it has a Super Hard chart with EVEN MORE notes. Matryoshka has a Super Hard chart and it should really have a health warning on it. But Invisible? That also has a Super Hard chart, and it should be friggin’ illegal. I reckon I’m at my peak skill level, and I can’t even get an S on it. 😛 Strangely though, Gaikotsu Gakudan to Riria doesn’t have a Super Hard chart. Maybe that’s because it’s hard enough as it is. 😛 Anyway, songs with difficulty 9 or MAX all make me cry inside because I know I’ll never get a Perfect on them. 😛

That’s the core of the game. Thankfully. You see, the core is good. The rest of it is… pretty odd. 😛

When you start the game for the first time, you get to pick a “partner” out of six vocaloids, and a place to live. Hrmmm. After that, you’re treated to a two-page menu with all sorts of stuff in it. If you want to play the Rhythm Game, the core game, the game… you select the darkest, smallest option on the first screen: a piece of paper with “Rhythm Game” written on it stuck to the wall with a drawing pin. It’s like they don’t want you to do it, or something. 😛

IMAG0570

(Yes, that is a Dress-Up option you see there.)

When you complete songs, you get MP, Mirai Points. What can they be used for? Upgrades? Stuff for the Rhythm Game like maybe new note skins, new button sounds, that sort of thing? Nope. Hey, maybe you can buy some boosts or assists or something, kinda like DJ MAX? Nope, you buy those items with Play Coins, and the only slightly useful one is Do or Die (which gives you an instant Game Over if you break your combo (you also get double MP if you clear the song, but that’s just gravy)), although Role Model (which makes the note chart play itself perfectly, doesn’t count as clearing it, obviously) might be good if you can’t seem to get the timing on really hard songs down and you want a demonstration. No no, you use MP to buy furniture for your home which does nothing, outfits for your partner which do nothing (you can use them in the Rhythm Game but the default outfits match the theme of the song anyway), and food/drink to give to your partner, which is not only pointless, it’s also weird. I mean, when you give them cake, you watch them eating said cake for nearly a minute. Sorry, did I say watch? No, you staaaaaaare at them eating cake. And then you find out you can even take pictures of them doing this.

Miku SHORTACAKEY

Want some tea? LET ME TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU DRINKING IT

Miku TEA

It’s so creepy, it makes me laugh. But then you start to realise… it’s a Japanese game with cute anime girls in it. Of course it’s gonna have weird content like this. 😛

That picture taking function is available basically everywhere outside of the Rhythm Game. If you leave the game hanging for long enough in the home screen, your partner might do something other than walk around aimlessly, and you can take pictures of whatever it is they do. Look, here’s a picture of Miku sitting down in a strange way:

Miku Sitting WEIRDLY

Here’s a picture of her lying down on the floor to use her super-high-tech-transparent-tablet-of-the-future instead of sitting on the sofa I paid for:

Miku NOT USING THE SOFA

If you buy a fortune box and set it in your room, your partner uses it to get your “fortune” every day. Yes you can take a picture. Funny thing is…

Miku NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS

It’s not localised, and as much as I’d like to be able to understand Japanese, I don’t, so I have no idea what that means. From the way she’s smiling massively, I’m guessing it’s good. 😛 (UPDATE: I’ve learned that it says “daikichi”, meaning “great luck/fortune”. So yeah, it’s good. 🙂 )

Then there’s the ultimate picture. If you spend 100,000 MP on a plane ticket you can go to the Villa for a week. It’s no different from the standard houses, apart from being able to set every type of item. Oh, and the beach. If you give Miku a swimsuit and leave the game alone long enough, OOSH:

Miku OK THAT'S PERVERTED

Oh, Japan, you so predictable. 😛

You can also give MP to your partner. They seem to like you when you do this, especially if you give them the maximum amount. Yes you can still take pictures while they celebrate:

Miku YAY MONEY

They then use the MP on STUFF, keeping it in a log for you to perv over. 😛 They might buy room items or outfits on their own volition, or waste it on shit that does nothing apart from maybe giving you a chuckle when you read the log. You can’t actually take a picture of this cuz it’s on the bottom screen, so here’s a picture I took with my PHONE:

IMAG0571

I feel that the developers wanted to make some form of metagame, something for the player to come back to and chill with after playing some songs, but couldn’t really think of anything other than this. At least… that’s what I guessed several weeks ago when writing this post. But today, I booted up the game to see this:

IMAG0588

Yes. Seriously. My virtual girl was pissed off because I hadn’t played the game in about 3 days. I was asked to use the microphone and say “I’m sorry”, but this was my lunchtime at work, so I opted for the infinitely less embarrassing option of pressing a button labelled “I’m sorry…” about 50 times before she got over her period. 😛  I now feel that the developers wanted to make a romance simulation but weren’t really allowed to. 😛 Maybe the Eastern audience can see the point, but I can’t. This whole metagame might as well just not be there. 😛 Although… heh, well, maybe it does have a point in the West. It’s a bit of a laugh, a distraction, maybe even a welcome break for your 3DS’ buttons. 😛 It’s the kinda thing you might share for a laugh, on a blog, for example, saying “hurhurhur look how pervy and stupid this is, but actually it’s a really friggin’ good music game at its core”. 😀

As for the post title, that’s actually a line in the song “LOL -lots of laugh-“. The song has a fair amount of English in it, and this is funny to me because Miku sounds like a proper upper-class Japanese person who’s lived around the south of England for years but hasn’t lost her Japanese accent. 😀  The lyrics appear on the bottom screen so I had to use my phoneage for this one too:

IMAG0507

Yes, in Gallery mode you can do all sorts of pointless stuff like leave microscopic comments, which I think is shared through StreetPass. No idea, because I’ve only had one StreetPass hit for this game, and even that was surprising. 😛

That’s Project Mirai DX. Demo’s on the eShop. 🙂 If you’ve got a 3DS and like music games, I massively recommend it. Just ignore the metagame. Unless you’re… I dunno, Japanese, or something. 😛

“Oh, but wait, what about Paper Mario: Sticker Star?” Hmm, it’s… well, I wouldn’t recommend it, sadly. It’s super-disappointing. I got near the end of the second world and just haven’t had much of an urge to play it again. It’s really annoying, because I’ve loved all the Paper Mario games up until now. :/

The battle system is weird. It’s not an action RPG like Super Paper Mario; it’s gone back to a turn-based system, but there’s no levelling or badges or abilities or secondary party members or anything. To attack, you use stickers you find in the field, which have different effects. Sounds unique and interesting, but it just doesn’t work. The battle system is so watered down that you can’t manually choose your target, and sometimes you don’t have a sticker suitable for the situation. It’s okay if you get hit, though; the game is so goddamn easy that I eventually stopped bothering to carry stickers that recover HP. Oh, and normally you can only use one sticker per turn, but you can use up to three… if you pay coins to spin a friggin’ roulette and use epic timing to get three-of-a-kind. Yaaaaawn.

It’s not just the battle system. It’s the story, and the characters… and the dialogue. Those things are basically half the point of an RPG, and the old Paper Mario games nailed every one of them. The Thousand Year Door (my favourite Paper Mario game) contained all sorts of awesomeness. Hooktail, for example! She’s a dragon boss who you can weaken with a badge that makes the sound of a cricket (she hates crickets). Then, when she’s low on HP, she tries to bribe you with coins (more than you can actually carry, lel), a badge (Really Ultra Rare!) and her feet (no, seriously), and after all that, she suddenly eats the audience to regain HP. It’s so good! 😀 Oh, and the moment where a character suddenly breaks the fourth wall out of nowhere (YOU, IN FRONT OF THE TV!), and that bit near the start with the contact lens, and that part where you can get an instant Game Over by reading a diary. 😀 In Sticker Star? Pfft. Your helper character is boring and a bit irritating. And… well, because there’s so little story, that’s basically all I can think of. Maybe I haven’t played it enough to find some good dialogue, but that’s ridiculous. Meh, oh well, never mind. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Bros. is great so far, so at least Alphadream’s still got it. 😀

Man, the 3DS is so great. I’ve got Paper Jam to finish, along with Elite Beat Agents which someone at work recommended to me (he mainly recommended the original game, “Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!”, but Elite Beat Agents was wayyyyyyy easier to get hold of for a good price). There’s also Project X Zone 2, a tactical RPG which I’d never heard of but is apparently quite popular; I played a demo of it and found it pretty fun, so I might consider getting that too. But most importantly, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon finally lands over here in mid-February!! I really can’t wait to play that one! 😀

Right, enough shite from me. I’mma see if I can perfect Matryoshka on Hard. Heheheh, yeah right. 😛

UPDATE!!

WOW GG WORDPRESS, it actually just posted this in the PAST, in October 2015. I copied it and deleted the old one so it would show up that I posted it TODAY, not THREE MONTHS AGO. HERPADERPDERPDERP

And OH MY GOD THIS NEW CRAP EDITOR THINKS UNDERLINE IS AN ADVANCED OPTION

I… um… er…

I’m… just… totally speechless. I just started up Patapon 3… and… well… um… it greeted me with not a handshake, but with a massive explosion of win:

I was expecting the Patapon theme… but an intro like that? And a remix like THAT?! That’s totally incredible… I can’t even COMPREHEND the epicness!

Mind blown. Now it’s all over my room. That will probably impair my ability to play, but I HAVE to at least try. 😀

UPDATE!!

Okay, I’ve played it for a few days now, and um, yeah, it’s MILES better than Patapon 2. It’s got fantastic light strategy elements, and it’s an awesome rhythm game. Before playing the original Patapon, I would’ve never imagined those two genres would work so well together, but JapanStudio/Pyramid gave it a shot, and they hit the bullseye. Now they’ve had two chances to evolve it, and it’s amazing. 😀

The basic gameplay’s the same as the other Patapon games – drum different commands to the beat to get your Patapons through the enemies and past the goal flag. That’s about where the similarities end, though. Instead of commanding an army of up to 20 units, they’ve cut it down to five units – a tank unit, a damage unit, a support unit, the Uberhero (you) and Hatapon (the critical unit who triggers an auto-fail when he dies, but can’t be hurt if a tank is still alive). This was a GOOD call, because the amount of times my brain has almost exploded in frustration because my 20 units CAN’T RUN AWAY FAST ENOUGH, or because I can’t get every unit geared up equally, is ridiculous. However, cutting it down to 5 units was kind of a double-edged sword, because although there’s less to cross your fingers about, losing one unit can seriously dampen the amount of damage you can do, making it extremely difficult to continue.

However, they noticed THAT, as well, and so have introduced another new feature, “Summoning”. If you can stay in Fever Mode long enough, the Fever Worm will start to change colour. When it starts shining gold, you can summon a Djinn, who heals your units AND resurrects lost ones. On top of that, you’re unchained from the standard beat for a little while, and can FREESTYLE. 😀 You can just hammer the buttons and create a rhythm of your own, and the better you do, the more EXTREEEEME OWNAGE is dealt on the final measure. It’s AWESOME, but unfortunately, you can only do this once per level. Although on multilevel dungeons, if you don’t use your summon, it carries over to the next floor, so if you’re good enough (and the boss has enough HP), you can unload multiple summons into the dungeon boss. 😀

Speaking of boss HP, they’ve done what Monster Hunter needed to do a long time ago, and displayed boss HEALTH BARS, so you know how close you are to owning them. That was a REALLY nice thing to do, especially since I don’t trust AI with invisible health. 😛

Another significant change is the leveling system. In Patapon 2, you used to have to go through a sickeningly evil, confusing, grind-like Evolution Map to make your Patapons stronger. It cost lots of money, lots of difficult-to-get materials… and it was impossible to choose between all of the different variants of Patapon. In Patapon 3, they’ve just added an Experience and Level system. THANK YOU. 😀 Nice and simple, just play missions for XP to level up and be able to do more difficult missions.

There are also various classes to level up. At the start of the game, you can choose between three base classes, which are melee, ranged and support. When you hit a certain level in these base classes, you unlock new classes to try out, which are generally more powerful or have different abilities.

The weapon system has changed a lot, too. Instead of just getting weapons in missions and improving them by finding better weapons, you find various types of treasure chests in missions. Bronze and Silver chests generally give normal or magic items, whereas Gold and Jeweled chests often give extremely powerful Unique/Super Unique items, but they can’t be upgraded. Normal and Magic items can be upgraded at the blacksmith for Ka-ching (yeah, it’s called that ;)) and materials.

Unfortunately… as is the case with pretty much all Japanese-made games, the difficulty curve is unrealistic and stupid, the recommended level is almost always a lie, and the Bonus Bosses annoy the HELL out of me.

The difficulty curve is ridiculous. At the start of the game, it’s extremely easy, and it gets more difficult over time, which I expected. But I KNEW there was going to be a difficulty spike at some point, because… well… it’s a Japanese game. Thing is, you don’t know WHEN it’s going to spike, which adds to the frustration when you’re level 5, open a door on a quest with a recommended level of 3+, see a big dragon there who proceeds to unfairly stomp the living crap out of your party. I say “unfairly”, because he literally shuffles towards you (because he can’t fly), ever-so-slightly clips your tank with his foot, and cuts a third off his health. Oh, and summons weren’t unlocked at the time, so when my tank DID die, I couldn’t resurrect him. And do you know what was REALLY annoying? Well, I managed to kill the dragon, and I didn’t know that when a dragon dies, they collapse to the floor about one measure afterwards, and cause massive, cheap damage to any unit near them. Since my tank was dead, Hatapon was wide open. The dragon collapsed onto him, one-shotted him and I auto-failed the mission. UNBELIEVABLY GAY. Why can’t the dragon just collapse without doing damage?! It’s not particularly fair when you’ve never seen one before. 😛

Another case of bad difficulty curve? Well, in the next three-level dungeon, on the second level, when I was VERY overlevelled, in the first room there’s a normal-sized ice dragon, a bit of a challenge, but taken down no problem. In the next room… there’s an Ice Salamander. And they’re PUSHOVERS. >.> In the room after that, there’s ANOTHER dragon, a BIG one this time, who was very tough, and I almost lost several units to him. After that, in the next room… another Ice Salamander! WHAT THE HELL?! And then… in the final room of the floor, a GI-FRIGGIN’-GANTIC golem, who DESTROYED me. Difficulty curves aren’t SUPPOSED to look like this:

Patapon 3 Sample Difficulty Curve

(AAAARGH WORDPRESS IS SO GODDAMN SHIT! I want MORE than a millionth-of-a-pixel-wide column so I can ACTUALLY post images WITHOUT THEM BEING CLIPPED, NOT a STUPID NEW TOOL that lets me COPY PREVIOUS POSTS for GOD’S SAKE!!)

I hope you get the idea from that tiny picture. Sorry I can’t make it bigger, WordPress is shit.

The Bonus Bosses now. I like Bonus Bosses, I really do. They give you a little something extra to aim for, and reward you well for taking them out. However, the Japanese don’t quite understand there are people who like Bonus Bosses, but don’t have friends in close proximity who own an unpopular handheld console AND a copy of Patapon 3. Seriously, a Bonus Boss appeared while I was playing, so I thought “Hey, cool, it’s appeared pretty early in the game, so it must be a low-level Bonus Boss – it can’t be insanely hard, surely.” So I had a look… and the recommended level was “?”. Oh, nice and helpful as always, Japs. >.< I decided to have a go by myself, since I didn’t know what level I had to be.

It was impossible. Literally. My main damage-dealer can crank out about 10,000+ damage (A LOT) with a charge if the Random Number God is feeling nice, but after about five of those… his health bar was still full. But the funny thing is, when the boss finally stopped being an idiot and started to attack, I could defend quite well. 😛 All he had was an unfair, cheating amount of HP, so I just returned to the hideout.

The selection of modes and stuff is brilliant, and the gameplay would be fantastic with a friend or three… but it’s on the PSP and you can’t play over the Internet. That damages it quite a lot, since I’ll never get to play it with someone else.

Alright, that’s pretty much everything. Lemme do the F.A.G.G.O.T Rating. 🙂

Fun
Enjoyability – 10: Ha ha HAA! This is such a great game to play. It’s as if it was designed with fun as the biggest point, becuase almost every part of this game, the music, the voices, some of the dialogue, is a HEAP of fun. 😀
Frustration – 6: You know when you’re having fun with something, then all of a sudden it’s taken away? That feeling of elation usually turns to anger. And that’s exactly what happens when you’re having a great run, without any worries, then all of a sudden there’s a difficulty spike, you make one slight mistake, and it’s all over and you’ve gotta start again from the beginning of a mission. I like a challenge, but not an almost impossible one halfway through a seemingly easy level.

Audio
Sounds – 9: Not really much to say about the sounds, since they’re usually drowned out by the amazing soundtrack, but the drum sounds are almost iconic, the monsters sound pretty good, and the “SHHWING!” sound when you hit a perfect command makes you FEEL GOOD. 😀 They’ve also replaced the creaking treasure box sound when a dialog appears with a less annoying “Shht” sound, which is welcome. 😛
Music – 10: All of it is… just awesome. 😀 There are new tracks, and old tracks from Patapon and Patapon 2 which have all been remixed, often with guitars, to sound “meatier”. The lyrics are all Patapon tribal chants, and they change depending on what command you entered in the last measure. (DON DON, CHAKACHAKACHA-KAA!) The soundtrack REALLY comes alive in Fever Mode.
Voice – 10: PATA PON, DON CHAKA! FEEEEVERRRR! DON, DO-DON, DO-DON! OOH AH OOH AH OH YAY! YAY YAY, OOH AH OH YAY! Quite frankly, I LOVE it, it’s crazy, it’s funny, it fits the mood, and it’s absolutely fan-friggin’-tastic. 😀

Graphics
Animation – 8: The animation is mostly smooth, but there are a few animations which look a little jerky, like when the Patapons jump into the air and spin around. Other than that, no real complaints. 😀
Models – N/A: The only models/textures are the treasure chests that appear after a mission. Rating them would just be unfair, since they make up such a tiny amount of the game.
Textures – N/A: See above. 😛
2D – 9: The art style hasn’t changed, and that’s a good thing, because the Patapon art style is insanely recognisable and just plain awesome. I wasn’t so sure about the new Uberhero when I first saw him on the Patapon 3 XMB background (I thought they’d gone too far into the realms of cheesy DBZ Super Saiyans), but he stands out, fits the art style and looks ace. The new monsters, weapons and enemy units all look brilliant. The only thing that’s wrong is when monsters are scaled to emphasise extra HP/attack power – they often look quite blurry, which is a bit of a shame.
Effects – 8: The particle effects are great, the Summon effects are awesome, the and the “dead-things-fall-into-the-ground” effect works much better than the standard, boring “Everything Fades” effect. Cool damage amount effects are welcome, too. 😀

Gameplay
Core – 9: I didn’t think strategy and rhythm could be combined into a game, but they sure showed me with Patapon 1 and 2. In Patapon 3, though, they’ve REALLY improved it. A nice simple leveling system, weapon customisation, and when you input Pon Pata Pon Pata, you don’t have to cross your fingers and hope that all of your 20 units run away fast enough. 😛 Having all commands accessible at the start is really welcome, too, but it might outface newbies. That’s where the nice set of tutorials come in handy. Every problem they’ve noticed has been addressed pretty well. Apart from the difficulty curve, that is. Oh, and the fact that Bonus Bosses aren’t accessible. 😛 But at its core, it’s an amazing game.
Immersion – 10: Against bosses at least, I LITERALLY can’t play this game and talk at the same time. It’s extremely immersive, and needs your undivided attention if you’re going to do well.
Story – 6: Well, the story hasn’t progressed THAT far for me yet. I don’t quite understand it, though – in Patapon 1 and 2, it was simple: the Patapons want to get to Earthend and look upon “IT”. In Patapon 3, it’s different. There’s more dialogue and it seems more indepth… but I’m not totally sure what’s going on.
Replayability – 7: Sure, you can replay quests, and that’s great… but after completing the game, I can’t imagine there’s much else to do. But then again, there is a LOT of game time here. 😉
Repetition – 3: This depends on how good you are, really. If you’re good, the repetition will be almost unnoticable. If you’re not so good, you might find yourself doing the same mission again and again to try and complete it, and that IS noticable. 😛 Personally, I found it so much fun that I never really noticed it being too repetitive. (By the way, yes, lower scores on a negative point are good. ;))

Online
Praise – 7: There’re all sorts of co-op and VS modes here. You can have a race, or a sort-of Capture the Flag type game. You can also do missions co-op… but I’ll probably never experience that.
Criticisms – 10: The problem is not the game itself, it’s what system its published on. Let’s all be honest here, the PSP isn’t PARTICULARLY a popular thing, especially over here, and especially when compared to the DS. It also doesn’t allow playing over the Internets, which is the only way  people who don’t have any friends close by who own a PSP can experience multiplayer. They’ve also got to like the Patapon series, and trying to get anyone I talk to frequently to try a game like this is nigh on impossible because “it sounds stupid”. It’s impossible anyway, because everyone’s probably sold/lost/broken their PSP. The multiplayer features are so inaccessible, the devs might as well have just scrapped multiplayer and spent that time on trying to improve the single player experience even more.
Fun – 5: I can’t rate this properly, since I can’t actually PLAY multiplayer properly!

Total (After overly complicated but quite good Importance Machine calculations):
7.26/10 (Very Good)

If the difficulty curve was less retarded, and if they’d published it on PC or Xbox or on any NORMAL console to make multiplayer realistically accessible, this could’ve probably hit a 9. Despite those extremely annoying problems, Patapon 3 is better than its predecessors, and it’s still a REALLY fun game with gameplay deeper than it appears. It’s a diamond among the piles of crappy games you get on the PSP. If you dismiss it as “stupid” or “childish” and you don’t even give it a chance, you’re SERIOUSLY missing out.