When Pac-Man Championship Edition DX released a few years ago, it brought about a few changes to the formula set by the original Championship Edition that made it more frantic. Bombs to clear paths, widescreen mazes, ghost trains and a slow-motion gimmick were just a few things that really amplified the experience and managed to improve upon a good game. Much to everyone's surprise, Namco Bandai brought the game back to E3 this year rebranded as Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+.
As a free patch to existing owners of the original DX, the new edition leaves the formula intact but makes a few changes in other areas. According to representatives, the leaderboards will be improved, though no real detail was given. New medals will be added, but they'll be separate from Achievements/Trophies, and there will be a more detailed stat-tracking system so you can see how well you're doing in the game over time. All of these are some pretty nice additions for those who play the game, and the fact that it comes automatically to those who supported the game from the outset is a nice gesture. The real reason for bringing the game to E3, though, was for the new paid DLC support, which reskins the game. During the presentation, we were shown three different upcoming skins.
The first skin we were shown was based on the upcoming animated series Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. The original character models have been replaced with ones from the series, so the overall changes aren't that drastic. The only big change is that the neon aesthetic that normally goes with the game is accompanied by background stills from the show. It revolves as the match goes on, so it's nice but not really extraordinary.
The second skin shown was based on Rally-X, which fits very well considering how the original game was a play on the original Pac-Man formula. Here, both Pac-Man and the ghosts have been replaced with the F1 race cars. While the dots and power pellets remain the same, the fruit has been replaced with the special yellow flags from the game. Once the pellet has been obtained, the enemy race cars turn into smoke clouds that need to be dispatched. The changes are nice, but the arcade game's yellow background makes the skin feel more subdued.
The final skin shown was based on the classic arcade game, Dig Dug. Here, the skin mixes the neon with the subterranean environment of the arcade game, resulting in a funky-looking take on the Dig Dug universe. Just like Rally-X, Pac-Man has been replaced with the arcade's main character Dig Dug while the enemies are combinations of Frygar and Pooka. Once a power pellet has been eaten, the enemies retreat, so the Pookas only have their eyes visible while the Frygars have their eyes and mouths plastered with devious smiles. Of all the skins shown, this was the most impressive.
The availability of new skins is a nice aesthetic change that a few players will enjoy, but the other new mechanics will reinvigorate the game for hardcore players and those who just want a reason to return after a long hiatus. Look out for the patch and accompanying DLC to hit sometime this summer.
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