Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil
Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil is an action/adventure game for the PSP. This release (as noted in the title) is the second installment to the PSP's Death Jr. video game (but the third under the Death Jr. name as there was a Nintendo DS release). This sequel follows the same goofy bunch of characters on another adventure that follows a similar premise in found in the previous games. DJ (Death Jr.) is on the verge of being sent to military school by his father Death (the Grim Reaper). Because of this, DJ has to be careful and not get into any trouble. In the first PSP installment, he made a big mistake at school, which he was able to clean up. In "Root of Evil", DJ and his friend Pandora accidentally unleashed a massive evil force and they have to stop it before it is too late.
The story driving "Root of Evil" gives the game an edge. The characters, DJ and otherwise, are all fun and likeable. The story is portrayed with animation that is almost on par with a Pixar feature film. This aspect and the general fun nature of the game play make "Root of Evil" a must own game for the PSP. I found it so addictive and exciting that I went out and bought the original release Death Jr. after finishing "Root of Evil".
Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil is a fun game. There are several aspects that make it a fun game. First, the controls are intuitive and easy to get used to. I pretty much picked up the game and started playing with no difficulty. Second, as previously mentioned, the storyline aspect is done very well. It is animated and full of life with great looking and sounding cut scenes. Third, the game is easy to pick up and play. Play for minutes or hours, it is easy to come back to.
Four, the general game play is fun. As an action/adventure game, there are a lot of enemies to fight! And the best part is that there are many ways to take them out! The main characters (DJ and Pandora) have their basic hack-and-slash type weapons, which are usable with a variety of special combos that can be unlocked as the game progresses. There are also eight different guns to use, which add a nice strategic aspect to the game (some weapons work better for different enemies and situations).
The game itself has a decent amount of replay value. There are a total of sixteen levels (or episodes as the game refers) with two major bosses. There are also four different difficulties of play. Also, unlike Death Jr., "Root of Evil" has two playable characters. In addition to DJ, Pandora is also playable. The difference between them is their arsenals; they have different primary weapons and guns. The game can be played through as one character and the other after beating the game. I enjoyed playing through as DJ and later as Pandora.
Another aspect that adds to the game's general goodness, as well as frustration level, deals with the secondary weapons. The guns DJ and Pandora have at their disposal are only available after being unlocked. In order to unlock them, certain weapon parts need to be found. Each level has zero or more parts hidden throughout. Sometimes they are in plain sight and other times they are hidden. In the case of the latter, it can be frustrating to have to replay through the levels over and over to find the missing part. (Sometimes they are literally right beneath your nose!) In addition to unlocking the weapons, the playable characters also have special attacks that can be unlocked. These specials can be very helpful in DJ and Pandora's adventure.
One problem I had with the controls was the camera angle control. For the most part, the game allows the user full control over the camera angle in regards to rotating left and right. (There is also a free look, but this gripe is not affected by the free look). In some portions of the game, while rotating left or right, the view will be automatically adjusted to a fixed angle. For instance, when DJ is in a corner, the camera angle will be automatically adjusted. This proves to be a pain at times when trying to get a specific position with the camera while in a tight spot. It gets even worse when a gang of monsters is in pursuit and the camera angle changes because you were to close to a corner or something. While a minor gripe, it caused me a enough difficulty (especially with the end boss) that I think it is worth mentioning.
Overall, I really had a lot of fun with "Root of Evil". The storyline was enjoyable, goofy, over-the-top, but nonetheless great. I also found the general dynamics of the game play great. While the game could get frustrating at times (lots of challenging levels with jumping, swinging, hooking, etc.), it still proved to be an overall fun game. I had such a great time with it I went out and purchased Death Jr. since I wanted more DJ action.
Visually, Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil is a sharp looking game. The character models are represented well with a fair level of detail (both main characters and monsters). The environments are also detailed well and set the game in the proper mood with a Pixar-like dark world (more like Tim Burton's stuff). The game's cut scenes feature strong animations with great looking characters. Overall, the game has a great look.
The game also sounds very good. The music sets a somewhat somber mood and generally fits the stages very well. It is subtle and does not overpower the game's sound effects. The effects work nicely with the hacking and slashing game play. During the cut scenes, the game's animations have superb voiceovers that give the characters real personality.
Death Jr. 2: Root of Evil is an action/adventure game for the PSP. It features a goofy tale about the son of the Grim Reaper, DJ, who finds himself in a predicament when he and a friend unleash an evil force. DJ and company embark on a journey to stop the Root of Evil and return everything back to the way it was. The storyline proves to be a fun part of the game with strong animations and voiceovers. The game also has solid graphics and great game play that is both addictive and fun. In the end, "Root of Evil" is a solid production and it is a must own.