Fuzion Frenzy 2 Review

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Graphics: 8.5
Sound : 6.0
Gameplay : 7.0
Multiplayer : 8.0
Overall : 7.6
Review by Andy Levine
Sure there are tons of in-depth games with cutting edge graphics and deep storylines designed to keep players hooked for hours on end, but sometimes it can be a huge relief to just sit back and have fun. Fuzion Frenzy 2 is the sequel to the minigame title that debuted on the Xbox several years ago, and this game is all about pickup and play value. With a collection of over forty games across seven distinct planetary environments, you won’t find yourself engaged in any storyline or staying up until the wee hours of the morning trying to take down that last boss, but as far as party games go Fuzion Frenzy 2 ranks right up there.

Visually speaking, Fuzion Frenzy 2 has an appealing look that uses vibrant colors and an overall bright appearance to create a futuristic style. Each of the seven planets contains its own theme, such as the fiery lava fields in Blazer or the dark, robotic feel of Machina. Although there isn't a whole lot of differentiation between games on the same planet, the illusion of traveling from planet to planet is more than noticeable. As such, effects such as electricity, running water, and flowing lava were created with fluid motion and careful attention to detail so that every area feels unique. The six selectable characters possess their own personas, but the models themselves won't exactly draw your attention. Fuzion Frenzy 2 doesn’t carry the most impressive graphics technically speaking, but it looks pretty sharp for a game of its nature.

Above everything else, the amount of repetition in sound is enough to put gamers in a frenzy of their own. The announcer of the tournament, known as the DJ, randomly comments on how players are performing during every game, but for some reason he only has a handful of available lines. Even though most games last for about a minute, don’t be surprised if you hear the same phrase at least three times. After playing enough Battle Royale style minigames, hearing “How much did that hurt Player One?” after every hit will drive you insane. The soundtrack consists of some random futuristic bass and rock tunes that aren’t noticeable unless you’re really listening for them, but luckily the rest of the sound effects aren’t too bad. Shocking your opponent with an electric charge or heating them up with a flamethrower sounds fairly satisfying, but there isn’t anything to marvel over here either.

Despite having the universe’s most annoying announcer, the premise of Fuzion Frenzy 2 revolves around an interplanetary minigame contest. Up to four players can compete in a race to dominate a predetermined number of planets. Planets are dominated by earning the most points, which are collected during minigames. Winning minigames isn’t enough though; a fair amount of strategy is involved too. Special Frenzy Cards can be collected to gain a winning edge, so even if you are the master of minigames, you are not guaranteed success in Fuzion Frenzy 2. This mechanic can be seen as either an effective handicap or an utterly frustrating experience. Usually cards are earned by achieving a random objective that the DJ sets before a minigame, but occasionally all four players will participate in a Card Get Game. In this scenario, a machine will launch out cards, and your objective is to randomly grab a card before your opponents. Some of the cards will vanish, meaning they have no effect, while others could make the difference between victory and failure. The most basic type of card, the multiplier card, will multiply your points in a minigame by a factor of two, four, or six. The thieving Steal Point Effect card will allow you to steal a multiplier from a rival, while the Reverse Multiplier card will divide your opponent’s score instead of multiply, which can be extremely disheartening. All cards are chosen before a minigame begins, so knowing how good you are at a game while also studying what cards your enemies have is something to keep in mind.

The minigame collection, while not overwhelmingly diverse, has enough substance to keep a room full of your friends busy for hours on end. It’s not uncommon to come across a few repeats every once in a while, but there’s enough variety to prevent this from being a problem. Fuzion Frenzy 2 includes a few button mashing races, a test of raw reaction time, a few fun sumo ball fights, and plenty of player interaction. A lot of the challenges allow you to attack your opponents in some way, and if you really wanted to incapacitate one of your buddies you could easily shut him out every time if you cared to. No particular game takes a great deal of time to learn, and there’s always a brief explanation of the controls to tell you what to do if all else fails. From racing waves of lava to blasting ice sculptures and electric robot fights, there’s undoubtedly a lot of party action here.

If there’s one major problem about the tournament mode, it’s that the computer AI is downright horrible. You can entirely forget about playing this game by yourself, and sometimes three humans and one computer can grow a little dull. Thankfully, play over Xbox Live is available this time around, so you can compete with any three people all over the world to gain interstellar stardom. Finding a few other competitors in either ranked matches or carefree player matches shouldn’t be a problem and playing online is almost as fun as having a roomful of your friends by your side. Custom modes are also available, so if you aren’t a huge fan of the dominating planet concept you can simply compete to see who can win the most minigames.

While the voice acting is atrocious and the card system can really anger you when it doesn’t work in your favor, overall Fuzion Frenzy 2 is unmistakably an admirable party title. Don’t expect to get too much out of this if you can’t find yourself wrangling up three friends or don’t have an Xbox Live connection, but if you satisfy either of these requirements you won’t be let down.