The 2007 release of Pac-Man Championship Edition revitalized the classic arcade series in unprecedented ways. The rules were bent, a bit of adrenaline was injected, and the result was a pulse-pounding arcade experience that reinvigorated a fan base.
With Pac-Man Championship Edition 2, Bandai Namco looks to do even more renovating. The team is taking more liberties with its legendary formulas. While that kind of expansion beyond what made the original so great in the first place doesn't always work in entertainment mediums, if what I played of Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is any indication, this follow-up is well on its way to giving fans yet another reason to binge on dots and devour wandering ghosts.
Aside from the updated electronic music and surprisingly 3D visuals (despite the gameplay remaining staunchly 2D), the first thing you notice is that, much like its predecessor, this is no ordinary take on Pac-Man. Rather than playing through as many levels as you can, your focus is completing goals such as leveling up the dots to make them more valuable, or waking up sleeping ghosts in order to form massive ghost trains, which can be consumed for an enormous amount of points. Trust me, few things are as satisfying as finally catching a fleeing train of several ghosts and watching Pac-Man munch all of them down.
Another thing I learned early on is that the days of instant death when touching a ghost are behind us with Pac-Man CE 2. Rather than first contact with ghosts leading to a contorted Pac-Man with his famous death jingle, you now can run into ghosts three times before they get angry and attack. This may sound like it dumbs things down too much, but as the chaos mounts and more stuff begins appearing on-screen, you'll be thankful for the leniency.
Some stages now implement jumps, which are done by hitting a certain spot in the maze. Doing so causes your Pac-Man to leap over walls in the maze to the destination point of that jump. It came in handy when I was running from an angry ghost, or if I needed to make it to the other side quickly.
In addition, a new boss battle mode lets you take on massive enemies in a frantic scurry to eat pellets to power up enough to damage the enemy. This continues on the tradition of remixing the classic arcade modes to fun results.
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 gave me such a rush while playing. The stress of moving super fast while dodging obstacles, collecting fruit and pellets, and listening to high-intensity music makes for a chaotic experience I can't wait to dive back into. If you're excited to play you won't have long to wait too long, as Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is currently scheduled to launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in September.