Death Jr. 2 – Root of Evil

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The original Death Jr., which hit the PSP about a year ago, was a respectable platformer that put characters in the robes of the son of the Grim Reaper. It was a fairly enjoyable outing, with a cast of incredibly odd, but certainly unique characters, good graphics and about average level designs. It’s key weaknesses were the simplicity of the action, which involved nothing more than the basic of platforming basics – jump,smash and swing, to be precise, and the annoying camera. With Death Jr. 2, the camera’s been fixed for the most part, but the rest of the game pretty much remains the same. Far from boring, Death Jr. 2 makes a respectable run at being a solid PSP platformer, though stripped of its characters, it lacks any originality.
If you like basic platformers, which have you swinging on vines, sliding down wires and smashing everything in sight, then Death Jr. 2 will be a pleasant addition to your game collection. It does just about everything right as far as gameplay mechanics go, and it’s got a decent enough story to keep you playing through they myriad of dark-themed worlds. That’s not to say the game isn’t without problems. The camera, which was less-than-stellar in the first game, has been tweaked a bit to be more manageable now (you can actually rotate it, thank God) but it’s still a little slow to keep up with the action, and there’s still plenty of clipping to be had. At times, there’s simply too much “stuff” on the screen, and the graphics engine just decides to make as much stuff transparent or invisible as possible, making figuring out what to do even harder for the player.
Another problem is that the game doesn’t feel terribly fresh. Instead of being a true sequel, the lack of any significant new characters or gameplay features makes it feel like “Death Jr- The Lost Chapters.” Playing as Pandora doesn’t change things up enough for anyone to think this game is fresh or new, as she’s just a new skin on an old Death Jr character model.
Death Jr. 2 is far from a bad game, but it’s barely worthy of sequel-status, and much less worthy of the full game price of $40. It’s best to wait for it used for $20, or rent it first, but definitely don’t sink 40 bones into this slapdash “sequel.” While this game may look and sound good, that’s not enough to carry the shallow gameplay very far.

Overall: 6.5
Barely a sequel, it’s more like a Death Jr. add-on pack, but still enjoyable for a short amount of time.