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Pac-Man World 3 PlayStation 2

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Namco/Blitz Games
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Pac-Man World 3, an introduction.

Amazingly Pac-Man is now 25 years old (actually he'll be 26 this year). When people think of gaming icons nowadays most tend to think of Mario and Sonic but in truth one of the first gaming icons was Pac-Man. In recent years Pac-Man has moved away from his 2D roots and has featured in a couple of Pac-Man World titles which have been 3D platform games. Here we have the latest Pac-Man World title aptly named Pac-Man World 3.

What's the game about?

At the beginning of the game Pac-Man is just about to enjoy his 25th birthday with his family. Before he can take a bite out of his birthday cake though, he's teleported away by his old ghost nemesis (who is now his friend) Orson. Orson needs Pac-Man's help because an evil genius by the name of Erwin has devised a way to extract raw energy from the Spectral Realm. Erwin needs this energy to supply his hordes of robotic minions. Unfortunately this also means the end for Pac-Land, unless Pac-Man can do something to stop the evil machinations for Erwin. Thankfully Orson has figured out what Erwin is attempting and has called on Pac-Man to assist him before it's too late. Pac-Man will need to form an uncomfortable alliance with his old ghost enemies, Pinky and Clyde (who are keen to rescue the captured Inky and Blinky) in order to succeed in stopping Erwin.

What's good about the game?

Pac-Man World 3 is an enjoyable 3D platformer that's easy to get into and is suitable for just about any age group. Those who have played previous 3D platform games will find a lot of what's in the game to be familiar but for those who have never played a game from the genre before it won't cause any problems and all the functions you need to perform are clearly explained. The game also remains true to the original Pac-Man games in a variety of ways.  Pac-Man has to combat several enemies but the combat is never bothersome (in fact some might think it's far too easy) and won't cause anyone any problems.
So what does Pac-Man do in his latest game aside from the usual platform jumping and chomping Pac-dots? Well Pac-Man can butt-bounce to destroy enemies and smash item boxes etc. He can rev roll to take out enemies as well as to propel himself up slopes that would otherwise be impossible to ascend. Pac-Man can also punch, wall jump, pole swing and climb fences amongst other things. Power Pellets have always been a key part of the Pac-Man experience and there are five different Power Pellets in Pac-Man World 3. There's the classic Power Pellet that temporarily allows Pac-Man to eat the Spectral Enemies that appear from time to time. Electro-Shock Pellets allow Pac-Man to shock his robotic enemies. Ribbon Loop Pellets enable Pac-Man to emit a special energy trail. When this trail is completely looped around his enemies it will kill all those who have been encircled. The Super Stomp Pellet gives Pac-Man a super charged butt-bounce and the Chrome Pellet gives Pac-Man a temporary period of invulnerability. As well as the pellets there are other items to collect such as health pick-ups, keys, silver Pac-Statues (you'll unlock something special if you collect 5 in any level), crystals, cards and Galaxian symbols. The Galaxian symbols allow you to play a 2D maze that's very much in the style of the original Pac-Man games.
Aside from the main adventure you're able to replay levels and 2D mazes you've completed, as well as access a variety of items in the museum. You can view an interview with the creator of the original Pac-Man game, view collector's cards you've collected during the course of the main game, view the Time Line Tree, which gives you a chronology of all the Pac-Man games that have been released to date, and even play the original Pac-Man.

What's not so good about the game?

Pac-Man World 3 comes with the usual 3D platformer problems. Uncomfortable camera angles are present. In most places you can rotate the camera with the right analogue stick but there are times when the camera is fixed and your view can become obstructed at times. All things considered, the game is too easy. The Easy difficulty setting is ridiculously easy. Even on Normal difficulty, the game doesn't feel challenging enough for someone who has played a few games in this genre. Of course this lack of difficulty will be welcome by some, particularly younger children and those who don't want a lot of challenge from the game, but those who were looking for challenge will be disappointed by the ease at which you can stroll through the game.

How does it look?

Graphically the game looks OK. In fairness there's only so much detail you can have in a game where the central character is essentially a yellow ball on legs. Given the lack of graphical complexity on display it's disappointing that the frame rate takes a dive from time to time. These frame rate dips are nothing major though so it's not much of a problem. The 2D mazes (that you'll play when you find a Galaxian) again look quite basic but they get the job done and it's nice to get back to classic Pac-Man style every once in a while.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Subtitles are present in Pac-Man World 3 and are enabled by default. The introductory cutscene is subtitled using a bold white text that is placed on a darkened overlay. There's no name placed next to the dialogue to show who is speaking, although in fairness it's fairly obvious. Once the main game begins the subtitles are placed in blue dialogue boxes and an icon of the character who is talking is placed to the left of the dialogue box making it easy to know who is saying what. All dialogue is shown in text which is great news for Pac-Man fans. All tutorial messages are shown in text. You're notified in text if items, such as keys etc., need to be found. The interview with the game's creator that you'll find in the museum is also subtitled.

Final thoughts.

Pac-Man World 3 is a solid 3D platformer that should please Pac-Man fans and those looking for a platformer that's not too challenging. Those expecting a high degree of originality in the game will be disappointed as there's little here that you won't have seen many times before. Still it's a polished product and one that's enjoyable. Importantly it's deaf gamer friendly too, which is good to see. It's also an inoffensive game that can easily be enjoyed by even the youngest members of the family.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10

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Pac-Man World 3 is surprisingly enjoyable. You'll have seen most of what the game offers many times before in similar titles and the lack of challenge is a concern if you're experienced with titles in this genre. Overall though, it's a enjoyable family friendly game that most should enjoy.