Whenever I play a game I like to imagine sitting in on the meeting where the game initially gets discussed and given the green light to begin development. For Fuzion Frenzy 2 (obviously a sequel, so the discussion is actually kind of moot) I can imagine the conversation going something like this:
Microsoft: You guys (speaking to Hudson) made those big hit Mario Party games for Nintendo, we want the same thing for the Xbox 360, but with none of that cartoon stuff, that’s for kids and Nintendo, that’s not the Microsoft way.
Hudson: Yeah, we can do that. We’ll scrap the board game portion and get right to the meat of it and have lots of mini-games. We’ll make it playable online and we’ll set it in outer space with a sort of Running Man feel to it. What do you think?
Microsoft: Brilliant! Make it happen.
And so Fuzion Frenzy and its sequel came to be. Yet, the Mario Party inspired game leaves a lot to be desired and fun is part of that. Don’t get me wrong, Mario Party isn’t all that fun either, but part of the fun comes from that board game style overview and the rest is from the things you can do with cartoon-like characters that you can’t do with the more realistic type. If you’re not to go over the top then all you’ve got is a series of uninspired mini-games that are more or less rip offs of the same stuff we saw in earlier Mario Party games. That in a nutshell is Fuzion Frenzy 2.
Fuzion Frenzy 2 is a nice and colorful game that looks good though nothing too spectacular. During the portions of the game where you’re not playing the game looks stellar and you’d wish they could maintain it that way. Instead the graphics surrounding the majority of the mini-games are rather bland. Your character remains on the small side and at times tends to get lost because of the awkward camera angle. Oh and that same awkward camera angle makes some of the timing based mini-games hard to play. It takes a bit of getting used to and like anything can be overcome, but the last thing you’ll want to do after dropping your hard earned cash on a game is get use to weird camera angles. It shouldn’t be your punishment that the developers couldn’t figure out the proper placement for a camera. Still, though despite the minor quirks and setbacks of the game it looks great in High Definition and the vibrant colors are no less than stunning. You won’t, however, confuse this with some of the better looking 360 games out there.
While the graphics are solid enough for this game the audio takes a turn for the worse. The announcer who speaks between rounds is atrocious. It’s not the fact that everything that he says sounds so over the top, though that does contribute, it’s the fact that he’s annoying and repetitive along with being a bad public speaker. For some inexplicable reason he tends to pause before saying certain things. Luckily you can skip past this most of the time unless you’re playing an online game in which you’re stuck listening to whatever he has to say. The music is equally boring and plain uninspired. It’s like some weird butt-rock music that doesn’t exactly fit the style of the game and doesn’t exactly inspire you to go out and win the next mini-game. In short; it’s bad.
Now, most gamers with experience know that any game can overcome decent graphics and a below average soundtrack if it has great gameplay. I wouldn’t go so far as saying Fuzion Frenzy 2 has great gameplay, but it’s good enough to get a fun experience out of it. Mostly you’ll have a good time if you’ve got three friends to play with or if you’re playing online against three other people. The single player game is dull and kind of a crap shoot half of the time. At normal difficulties you’ll win most of the time, but sometimes the computer manages to steal your victory away from you simply because they’re the computer. The reason behind that is that in between rounds you’re often given cards, those cards can have effects such as allowing you anywhere from 2-6 times the amount of points you would normally receive for a mini-game. Conversely, there are divider cards that can divide your multiplier by that number. In addition there are cards that let you steal a card used by an opponent, select the next mini-game, and one to select the next planet you visit, each planet has a different set of mini-games to choose from with elements differing for each planet among other things. The strategy of knowing when to use your cards is key, the computer seems to know more often than not when to use theirs so that you end up getting hosed in the end. Though single player is kind of boring, multiplayer is where it’s at. You’ll have a much better time playing with friends in your own living room or those on your friends list, but that brings me to the next point.
If only you knew people who owned this game…or not even that, if only people were playing this game. I spent ten to fifteen minutes just trying to find someone to play a game with. I adjusted all the factors to try to find a game, but unless every game was in progress and full it seemed like the game really isn’t being played by many people. Eventually, I found a game with one person, we had to choose two computer controlled opponents because otherwise we’d probably never have played. If you know people on your friends list that have the game it is possible to have a good time, but as it stands right now, you’re going to have to wait a long time to even get into a match with people who aren’t your friends, which isn’t a good sign.
It’s not like Fuzion Frenzy 2 is a horrible game, it’s really not that bad. It does, however, lack some polish and a wider variety of mini-games to choose from. On the flip side if you entertain friends a lot you might find this to be a fun party game. Gamers lacking friends need not apply for this one.
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