Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series – Review

The dawn of the 3D era in gaming brought a scenario to explore that perhaps even the developers at the time had no idea what it would become. It was a period when many saw games, including platformers, freed from the shackles of lateral progression in favor of natural and irreversible evolution. Others saw it as a passing fad, and there were those who realized that the truth lay somewhere in between. During this period of experimentation and sedimentation of possible new models emerged established classics that continue to this day and other games that have been hidden over time.

Klonoa’s duology is certainly not among the obscure and completely unknown works of the time, nor did it become great. hit Recognizable to any gamer, especially here in the west, and probably not on the list of games that should come back or get a sequel. Fortunately, Bandai Namco, who are having a great time, made the choice to bring the franchise back into the spotlight in time for the character’s birthday by remastering two of the main games released for home consoles (there were a few. and by critics and was limited to Japan only) to introduce them to a new generation of gamers and, who knows, discover how strong the brand is for new invasions.

Thus, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series is a collection celebrating 25 years of the franchise with two great adventures of the character that gives the games their name, namely Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, originally released in 1997 for the first Playstation, and Klonoa. 2: Lunatea’s Veil, from 2001 for the Playstation 2, both with excellent graphics upgrades running at 60 frames per second and reach the infamous 4K definition in the case of the Playstation 5, the version we’re basing this analysis on. However, it is important to note that the remaster of the first game in this set was created from another re-release of the game, remake for the 2008 Nintendo Wii, and so while the PS2 and Wii don’t belong to the exact same generation, the two games start from a very similar base audiovisually.

Narratively, for those who didn’t have a chance to play the original versions, the Klonoa series brings a friendly anthropomorphic half-cat, half-rabbit character who, upon discovering a powerful artifact, finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy where he will have to. Face countless dangers and enemies to help your unlikely friend save the day. The sequel, on the other hand, introduces new friends (and enemies), but mostly – and very superficially without giving away spoilers – it can be reduced to the same. plot, an unlikely hero’s journey to defeat evil creatures and ultimately bring peace to the world. Although there are some very intense twists and moments of great emotion that were under-explored at the time, especially in mascot games, they are very simple plots, almost concepts that are excuses for classic platform adventures.

As an innovation, both correspond to a concept we later call 2.5D, where basically the game is structured as Platformer A lateral progression that abuses verticality, with some aspects that explore depth of field. In addition to the scenarios that offer circular formats, some of them are almost spiral, which allows us to see the background sections that we will go through later, and it is also possible to interact with elements on different planes. You can, for example, throw an item to trigger a switch in the background, or reach for a collectible that’s closer to the camera, which may seem simple and commonplace today, but which was some paradigm-breaking at the time. .

Klonoa also innovated the relationship between the protagonist and enemies by not offering a direct combat system such as jumping on them or throwing objects to defeat them. To defeat any opponent, the hero has the so-called wind ring (or loosely translated, Wind Ring), which, as the name suggests, is a large ring that creates a stream of air that envelops an opposing creature in a bubble that Klonoa can throw to either eliminate it or reach it. point of interest. In addition, it is also possible to drop the captive to give an extra boost to the jump, in practice working as a double jump device. All in all, it’s a model that can be strange at first, even when it’s not new, but it only takes a few minutes to get used to it.

This is because both games have been remastered to form one large two-part product. This means that all gameplay has been tweaked to work well for the current controls, and the transition between the two is as smooth as possible. It is a very comfortable, accurate and responsive base that responds well to the level of precision required for both platforming passages and those that require different actions when encountering multiple enemies. It’s also worth noting that both games bump up the difficulty drastically, which might scare off a beginner, but that’s pretty common at the time of their original release, and nothing has been profoundly changed in that regard. Also included was the ability to play with another person moving a second controller along, more or less like in Mario Odyssey. Originally only introduced in the second game, the feature is somewhat clunky, useless, and sometimes annoying.

This means that, even in practice before us remakes Rather than remasters (taking into account the more literal definitions of the terms) these new versions were highly respected by the team responsible for the base material. There are occasional tweaks to the level design that fix some of the time constraints, but overall, it’s a very faithful experience, gameplay-wise, to what came before, if only because both games have always been known for being great in this area. question Creative use of the maze environment, from learning new skills to solving small problems puzzles And even for intense boss fights, it’s thankfully maintained.

Visually, however, the collection can be a bit divisive for the most purist. In order to promote a cohesive sequence between the two productions, it sacrificed what was specific to both. One cannot, for example, visualize the first game in the most polygonal version typical of the 32-bit generation, nor is it possible to make choices that come close to aesthetics. cel-shading the other. With smooth modeling and without much noise, the kit is very beautiful, clean, and has little to do with similar productions like the recent remasters of Crash Bandicoot or Spyro The Dragon. In the most careful way, it should still be compared to these more famous works in terms of details, parts and scenery. But perhaps overcoming the known graphically was not the goal, but rather updating the brand and positioning it for a possible future.

However, the most uncomfortable moment is when both games offer to switch to the third axis. The positioning of the camera, especially in the first game, significantly hinders the concept of three dimensions and the location of the hero in space in relation to other objects. The cutscenes against bosses (as shown in the image above) or the ones where we ride on moving platforms and rails are problematic to determine distance and depth, making us lose, silly, collectable crystals or even easily avoidable enemies if we could. At least have an idea of ​​the actual distance. The passages are few, but the difficulty is amazing.

It is not only visually, although there were innovations. Fortunately, there is also the addition of new difficulties, easier for less experienced players or even children, and more difficult, which is released after beating the game for the first time, for the more daring. However, these difficulties have more to do with the eligibility of the game than with substantive changes in the matches. In the simplest one, the health bar (measured in hearts) is higher and the damage taken by enemies is lower. The margin of error in the Supreme is minimal, and reaching its end is reserved for only the most skilled and resilient. After all, when life ends, especially with an elder, given that these are very long phases, only the most worthy manage to maintain calmness and patience.

There are also additional modes to unlock, such as playing each level against time. Aside from returning to levels you’ve already beaten to find missing citizens, or collecting all available crystals to guarantee 100% completion and trophies, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in each of these two parts even after the adventure is over. Considering the first game lasts around 7 to 8 hours and the second 9 to 10, there’s a lot to enjoy in this collection and, who knows, a hint to Bandai Namco that a new unreleased title will be very welcome. I still believe that spin-offs The portables would make a great addition to Klonoa’s ultimate collection, but understandably they can be quite expensive for a new foray into home consoles, especially the next-gen.

Overall, the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series does a great job of rescuing two games that would have been lost to time and older platforms to this day, balancing what needs to be remade to avoid games that date so easily. ports And what should be preserved so that the two works are not mischaracterized. Some elements are still outdated, for example, long and tedious cutscenes that add little to the story and can be annoying either with animation cycles typical of the past or overly catchy voices in a somewhat strange language. Given that there are no Portuguese versions of the subtitle text, some sections can be boring. However, others are important either because they contextualize threats or because they can be revealed and touched upon.

At an important moment, when the survival of past experiences coincides with the revival of a once irreplaceable mascot, Klonoa is positioned very promisingly, and manages to avoid the danger of betting on empty nostalgia that can tarnish the legacy of a beloved character, and really revives something that is different from what the current market has to offer. However, it’s a pack that may struggle to find its footing, as even with a loyal audience and a clear raiding niche, it doesn’t have the popularity to garner much media space, and high difficulty peaks can drive players away. Younger and/or more casual, even offering choices that weren’t there before. In addition, the narrative structure nowadays seems to be displaced, more dynamic and objective. Still, it’s a strong recommendation for fans of 2D platformers, as it remains one of the best options on the market.

The game is reviewed on PS5 with code provided by Bandai Namco.

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