Personal Rating: "Grab it during a sale"
Traditional Rating: 6/10
Years ago when I still owned a PS2 I landed up buying PAC-MAN World 2 for the system. As a gamer who is almost 40 years old I grew up on the PAC-MAN arcade game as a kid. The original game swallowed more than enough coins of mine than I care to admit but it was always a solid good time with school mates when looking to kill an hour or two. Goodwill prompted me in the end to purchase PAC-MAN World 2 and all I remember of it was that it was a dismal game that failed on almost all the levels it tried to attempt. This was the period when platforming was king on consoles and everybody and his dog was trying to ensure their mascot became the champion mascot - the mascot that got to sell consoles ala Mario. However, PAC's transition to 3D platform hero was a horrid affair with terrible 3D graphics and even worse platform mechanics. It was a game that was quickly regulated to the bargain bin.
Unbeknownst to me I soon found out that PAC had been busy in the interim since I last saw him. Starring in his very own short lived cartoon show (seems the yellow chomping dot just can't get a break with today's modern audiences) and yet another attempt by Konami to make a platform star out of him with his newest adventure - PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures. I bought this title with great hesitation because when you have Nintendo and Mario in one corner and Ubisoft and Rayman in the other and then Activision literally dominating the space with its Skylander figurine's and game, a platform title emerging into this market has really got its work cut out for it because the market is already saturated with other middle-tier heroe such as Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank and Sonic the Hedgehog. Very little breathing space when all things are considered.
One can't help but feel sorry for poor Namco Bandai who haven't seemed to be able to get it right when it comes to branding and delivering a platform PAC that is a PAC for the ages. PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures is not a bad game by any means - it certainly plays and feels like a platform game but Namco is a little behind the curve here, about 20 odd years behind the curve to be exact. If ever a game was made from an early blueprint of what a platform game should play and feel like then this is that game. It has the all the obligatory levels you would have expected to find in a platform game circa 1990 from levels made out of ice to levels set in molten lava. The game is so old-school in its design and implementation that you would think it was literally an artifact dug up from that time period. When you have platform games like Rayman Legends pushing the boundaries in literally hundreds of different creative directions it becomes much harder to recommend a title like this one.
Whilst certainly not bad in terms of PAC-MAN World 2 kinds of terrible - it's certainly not top tier stuff either for the gamer who demands just that little bit more from his platform games. It's all very middle of the road but despite itself it's still fun to play in small bursts. In fact this may be the perfect game to get for the little ones and I would heartily recommend you do pick it up when it goes on sale if you have bambino's running around but if you are an old time gamer like myself who has seen and done it all, PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures will offer you nothing new. You will get a solid, short little game that can be played through in about 5-8hrs and then when you are done with it you will have already promptly forgotten it.
Get it on sale if you must pick it up. Already within the month of purchasing, playing and writing this review the game has dropped from $29.99 to $19.99. I wouldn't pay full price like I did for this but it appears that some old childhood icons will die hard. Well for me at least.