Garfield 2 PlayStation 2
Published by The Game Factory
Developed by ASOBO Studio
Release Date: Out Now
Garfield, that rather sarcastic, portly cat, has long been a popular character with children. The cartoons have run for years and he's even featured in his own movie. In fact this summer he featured in his second movie and that's what this game is based on. Garfield has managed to smuggle himself aboard a plane heading for London. In London Garfield ends up, by way of a mix-up, at Carlyle Caste and is involved in a case of mistaken identity. At first all of the animals think he's the Prince, the Lord of the Castle. The real Prince has been kidnapped by the evil Lord Dargis though. Garfield soon discovers what Dargis is up to and helps the animals to rebel against him.
In Garfield 2 you'll play as Garfield (naturally), Chirstophe the goose and Claudius the mouse. You'll explore ten different areas of the castle and in each area you'll find a variety of missions. To trigger a mission you’ll simply approach one of the white signs that you’ll see around the place. You'll have to collect various items and acquire skills as you progress through the game. There's also a variety of enemies to deal with but thankfully they don't pose too much of a challenge. The game offers four difficulty levels ranging from Easy to Nightmare. Younger children should be fine on the Normal difficulty level (the default difficulty level) but should they find it a little challenging then it's good to know that an easier difficulty level is available. The game is targeted at 7-12 year olds and my 8-year old daughter had no problems with the game on the default difficulty setting so it's obvious the developers have pitched the difficulty just right. Even the platform game elements you'll find here aren't too difficult for younger gamers.
If there's one problem I had with the game it's that it can be a little on the dull side at times. The characters have little in the way of personality. The characters all seem a little too wooden at times. Even Garfield doesn't seem his usual self. The story just isn't as interesting as it could have been. It's a very linear affair and it's not uncommon to completely hit a dead end from time to time until a certain objective has been completed. A game aimed at children should be a little more flexible than that and should try to keep things interesting at all times.
Garfield 2 is an average looking PlayStation 2 game. The models for the various animals actually look quite basic although Garfield does look a little better than most of the animals in the game. You are able to control the camera angle with the right analogue stick but thankfully it’s not really much of a problem because the camera is generally well behaved. The frame rate is generally fine too but there are some small amounts of slowdown but certainly nothing problematic.
The game shouldn't cause deaf gamers any problems. There isn't an option to enable subtitles but thankfully the game is subtitled by default. Cutscenes are shown in a letterbox format with the text being displayed in the lower border. The text is clear and easy to read using a bold white font. There are no character names or portraits placed next to the text which would have made it clear which animal is saying what at certain times but thankfully it doesn't cause any problems. All tutorial messages are shown in text. Tutorial messages are triggered by walking Garfield into '?' icons. All instructions for the missions you'll obtain are all shown in text too. The only unsubtitled speech is the comments that Garfield makes whilst you're moving him around.
Garfield 2 certainly isn’t the best game of its type but it does a fairly good job of keeping younger gamers interested. The combat in the game isn’t too much, the platform game elements aren’t too difficult and even the tutorial messages are delivered in such a way as not to overtax the younger gamer. The decent range of difficulty levels means that there should be a difficulty level to suit everyone. Old gamers might find it all a little too straightforward but in truth the game isn’t intended for anyone over 12. It’s also quite deaf gamer friendly so any young fans of Garfield will certainly have no problem playing or indeed enjoying the game.
Garfield 2 is a good game for younger children. The story and the various characters in the game could have been more entertaining though.