majormitch's Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX continues the efforts of the first Championship Edition to reinvigorate and modernize the Pac-Man formula for today’s gaming landscape. And while this is easily the most exciting version of Pac-Man I’ve ever played, a serious lack of content still leaves me without any desire to play Championship Edition DX for any substantial length of time.

First and foremost, Championship Edition DX is fun. Within moments of turning the game on for the first time you’re treated to a slew of awesome features, including the attractive, retro-inspired visuals and catchy soundtrack. The artistic style is a great fusion of classic and modern arcade trends, and the bumpin’ soundtrack is a treat for the ears. Absolutely everything about the game’s presentation is super upbeat, making it immediately appealing. And it doesn’t stop there, as the actual game itself is as enjoyable as Pac-Man’s ever been. The core concept remains the same- gobble up the pellets and fruit scattered around the map, all while avoiding those pesky ghosts. The big change is that there are simply a lot more ghosts. And rather than trying to cut you off, or otherwise chase you down in clever ways, the ghosts all form up behind you in a sort of conga line. This all builds up to a great moment when you finally eat that super pellet, only to turn around and chow down on a potentially enormous line of ghosts. It’s incredibly satisfying.

This seemingly basic change turns the traditional Pac-Man formula on its head. Rather than being terrified of the ghosts, you’re practically preying on them in Championship Edition DX. You always want to get as many ghosts following you as possible, which leads to a huge bonus multiplier when you eventually turn around and mow them all down. Throw in some other smart additions, such as bombs that clear the screen and the helpful slow-mo that occurs when you’re about to run into a ghost, and Championship Edition DX ends up being not only more accessible than Pac-Man’s ever been, but also more rewarding. It’s a great way to modernize the classic for today’s “make the player more powerful” culture. That all being said, the unfortunate downfall here is that there’s simply not a lot to do. Games like Pac-Man offer one basic mode of play, a single game of which lasts at most five to ten minutes. And even though Championship Edition DX offers two slight permutations of this mode, along with a handful of different maps, each time you play feels essentially the same. This led to me being done with the game after about an hour of play, which is a shame.

That’s a large caveat holding back an otherwise fantastic game. This is arguably the best Pac-Man’s ever been, with a lot of smart design decisions modernizing the classic in fun ways. But unless you’re the type of player that’s content with playing the same thing over and over again with the lone goal of getting a new high score, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX might not be for you.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.

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