Beatmania Review

Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami
Release Date: March 28, 2006 Also On: None

After the musical masterminds released the ultra popular Dance Dance Revolution and Karaoke Revolution, Konami is getting DJ’s in on some of the fun. They made the series popular in the Japanese arcades, and now using the PS2, they’ve brought Beatmania across seas and into the homes of rhythm and dance lovers everywhere. After just an hour or so of playing Beatmania, I wasn’t sure if I loved the game or hated it. When it comes down to it, I’m not sure that even the hardest of hardcore fans will be too excited about this game, mainly due to the poor music selection and arthritis-inducing controller.

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As I just said in the paragraph above, the game’s music selection is less than satisfactory at most. Not that the trance, drum-n-bass and house beats aren’t fit for the game. In fact, they probably fit the game more so than any other game, but there aren’t really any big hits in the game that will make you “feel the beatâ€?. Plus, once you do find a decent song every now and then, before you can truly get into the song, it’s over. The songs are about a minute and twenty seconds long on average. Not only do you not get into the song, but if you mess up a bit during the middle of the song, you have no time to come back, so you’ll find yourself failing quite a few times.

On the same subject, you lose points way too quickly in the game. You clear songs by way of a percentage gauge at the bottom of the screen. You’ll need to finish the song with 80%, otherwise you fail. You start out at 22% (why not 50%?) and work your way up (or down) as the song progresses. The problem is that missing four or five notes will take your percentage from 100 down to 70 instantly. This will frustrate many of you, seeing as the learning curve for the timing and controller is hours at best, and even after that you’ll still have plenty of trouble clearing most songs above the 3 star difficulty. Especially since, much like Guitar Hero, your pressing of the buttons at the right time actually makes the sounds and completes the songs, missing a note will easily throw you off beat, into a slew of missed notes and awkward sounds. Needless to say, this game is not easy.

The graphics don’t really help out this game’s score either. As far as the actual game goes, it’s nothing more than blue and white bars coming down to a red bar (which is where you’re supposed to hit the corresponding button), and the occasional red bar that comes down, signifying a scratch on the deck. Next to the main screen is a video playing some uninteresting movie with PlayStation-quality graphics for outside viewers of the game to enjoy. I would much rather watch the seizure-esque graphics that come along with DDR any day.

Playing the game itself is not too bad, but there are still plenty of flaws, most of them residing in the controller. Having seven buttons and a turn table deck to scratch seems pretty cool at first, but after feeling the extremely awkward button placement and the turntable deck’s stubbornness to turn, you realize the mistake you’ve made. Unless you have hands like Shaq, you’re going to have trouble pressing all the buttons on time, especially when you’re using all seven of them.

The thing that truly kills this game for me is the lack of variety in the game modes. You can play game mode, where you must complete three songs in a row in order to unlock songs, free mode, where you can play any song that you’ve previously played in Game mode, expert mode, where you play five songs in a row without having your percent bar reach zero, and a multi-player/head to head mode. In all of these modes, you do exactly the same thing. There’s no change in the way you play the game. I expected some cool ‘create your own beat/song’ mode where you get to mix and create your own tracks. Much to my dismay, there’s nothing even close.

Konami gets points for trying to bring a good game overseas to the PlayStation 2, but have had few hits and far too many misses with this game. An extremely weak song selection, extremely clunky controls, sub-par visuals and minimal play modes give Beatmania a score much lower than I had anticipated. It’s a real shame, I was hoping for much better..

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 5.8
Written by Matt Evangelista Review Guide

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