If there is one expression that defines Fuzion Frenzy 2 perfectly it is “too little, too late”. While some of us still hold on to a glimmer of hope that we will someday see sequels to some of our favorite original Xbox franchises such as Kung-Fu Chaos and Crimson Skies, getting Fuzion Frenzy 2 as a consolation prize is like getting tofu when you really wanted a burger. While the game is far from broken it resembles more of a second generation Xbox title as opposed to a 360 one.
The first game was actually a launch title developed by Blitz games back in 2001. You could think of it as Microsoft’s way to counter Nintendo’s Mario Party; only not nearly as fun, but it did have some good ideas that many hoped would be fleshed out for the inevitable sequel. Well over five years and one brand new console later the series returns with a new developer, new hardware, and the same tired game play that really keeps it from being much more than a weekend rental.
There are a few bright spots in this sequel though, which make it less disappointing to fans of the original. The biggest improvement is obviously the support for Xbox Live play for up to four players. But this is really where the improvements cease as the rest of the game is almost a carbon copy of the original game, which wouldn’t be such a horrible thing if the original game was anything more than just average.
From the minute you power up the game you will notice the mediocrity. From the bland menu system to the forced game show-esque format that main single-player game incorporates. You basically take on the role of one of six different protagonists in a competition of ridiculous mini-games on different planets. All the while you are forced to endure the horrible ramblings of the spiky-haired host that insists on over-exaggerating every single aspect of the game.
Each planet consists of three main games and one final round and earning the most points at the end will award you with said planet. The catch is that each player can obtain cards that will have different attributes such as multiplying score or affecting the score of the other players. While this probably sounded cool on paper it keeps the game balance completely off kilter. You can dominate all four games and still manage to lose because your opponent waited to use the X6 card for the final round; it becomes really frustrating, especially online.
Speaking of online have you heard the phrase “ghost town”? Seriously it is harder to find a game on here than finding a player in Bomberman: Act Zero. This makes earning some of the online achievement damn near impossible because the only people you run into online are there for the same reason as you; just to get that quick and easy gamerscore.
Visually the game gets the job done and even has moments of brilliance. The character models scream stereotype and the game uses a basic color palette that gives it a predictable future game show vibe. I am sure this was the intent from the beginning but you can’t help feeling cheated, especially considering that the game still runs you damn near full price and delivers, at best, a last generation experience.
There are over 40 mini games to choose from, but to be fair if you played the original game most of these are recycled. Sadly the games from the first game were uninspired and for the most part not very fun. There are a couple of highlights here such as the Turbine Run and of course the giant Sumo Ball levels, but for the most part you will grow tired of many of the games within one or two play throughs.
Hudson has also been stingy on the modes. Outside of the Tournament Mode you have a Custom Mode that allows you to setup your own set of games either online or off and that is about it. You can of course practice any game at your leisure, but unless you have three friends that own this game and have Xbox Live you will lose interest in this one very quick. This game screams $20 title, too bad it costs over twice that which will certainly limit its appeal.
Fuzion Frenzy 2 is a perfect example of the bare minimum that you can do to get a number after the title of your game. While online play would have been a nice addition a few years ago it really is standard these days. With so many fantastic franchises awaiting sequels in their repertoire why MS decided to resurrect this one is beyond me. Someone please let me know when games such as Mech Assault 3, Voodoo Vince 2, and Kung-Fu Chaos 2 get the greenlight, until then I will pass on this one. Wait for a price drop if you are a fan of the original, otherwise steer clear of this extremely mediocre sequel.