Review  #1: Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 (VG - PS2 USA) & Dance Dance Revolution Universe 1 (VG - XBOX 360 USA)

Originally posted: April 6, 2009 (MySpace)

(EDITED April 13th. Edits in Red)
This was my first review on the site. It kind of started as a rant, but ended up being more review-y, so I changed it from a rant to a review. But I *am* gonna bitch about these two mixes a little bit, and only a little bit because neither of them are total ass, and neither are worthy of being burned to the level that SuperNova 1 is. Let's start with Extreme 2 (PS2 USA).

DDR Extreme 2 (PlayStation 2 - NTSC)

The starting song list is okay. In fact, a lot of the songs we've unlocked so far are actually pretty good. From the song list we have so far, this is actually a pretty good American release. I can't really complain much about it. There's *some* 'American'-style songs in it, but nothing really sticks out. Unlocking songs is, as is common these days, a real snoozer, but that's why you get someone to do the mission mode that isn't a long-time expert and actually plays on Beginner/Light modes. Plus, having them go through the mission mode actually does teach them to play somewhat. They will get better as it goes on! The interface is okay, it plays like DDR, the same ridiculous OPTIONS menu being below the difficulty settings is in this as well (read the SuperNova rant to see what I mean), but at least in this mix there's an option to start the song FROM the options menu (as well as difficulty selection within the Options menu but it sets both players to the same difficulty when used, sometimes - why? At least you can back out of the options menus though). Why did they take this out of SuperNova?! It's like they sat around and said "Okay, how can we make setting the mods a total pain in the ass?" and some guy was like "I know! Let's put the access to it below the difficulty setting!" and they were like "Yeah, good fuckin' idea!" and when they sat down to plan SuperNova they said "Okay, how can we make this suck MORE?" "I know! Let's take out the Start Song option from that options menu we added to the last game!" "Somebody give this guy a fuckin' promotion!"

That's not my biggest problem with Extreme 2, sadly. They did manage to fuck it up to a point that not even SuperNova managed - there's no SOLO arrow mod, ANYWHERE. IN. THE. GAME. Solo - the thing that makes it easier to tell the 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16 arrows apart? Yeah, it's not there. Don't bother looking. This has been in pretty much every DDR except like 3rd mix or something, even 4th had a SOLO mode where the arrows were colored differently. Why did they leave this out? I don't personally *require* Solo, per se, but I use it 100% of the time and it's a lot tougher without it, so why the HELL isn't it in the mix? That just makes no sense, did someone forget to include it? Were they like, "oops?!" In fact, they don't even HAVE an arrow color option in the mods menu - no flat, no solo, nothin. I did some checking on the net though, and apparently you can set it to flat in the options menu if you set the arrow type to 3, so I imagine that Type 2 is Note (it is) (which is Solo, but red and dark blue instead of orange and blue), so that's somewhat forgivable. Anyway, those are my only real rants about Extreme 2. Oh, and the scoring. Jumps count as 1 step, not two, and you MUST full combo a song to get the AA, even if you only had 1 great and 299 perfects and 1 good - no AA for you. I've always hated this scoring method. It's worse than MAX2's, which actually scores you correctly based on # of Perfects vs Greats, but also automatically AA's you if you full combo it (but you don't *have* to full combo it for the AA). That method is lame-ish. Overall though, Extreme 2 is a good mix, and definitely better than Extreme 1 (American).

Dance Dance Revolution Universe (XBOX 360 - NTSC)

Now, DDR Universe. Ah, the first Xbox 360 DDR game. What can I say other than PILE OF DOOKIE? If you've ever played an XBOX DDR, some of the things I'm going to mention will be familiar to you because they're the same damn problems that have existed since Ultramix 1.

First off, the interface. It fucking sucks. The lettering for your step rating(Perfect, Great, etc) is HUGE and goes OVER the arrows, as does your combo counter - this makes it way harder to read the arrows. I have a damn 60" screen and I still can't read half the arrows because most of the stepchart is covered by the combo counter, the life bar, the step rating, the dancer picture, the score... MAKE THAT SHIT SMALLER, KONAMI! In mission mode you can't see dick because of the dancer picture, you get 1/2 the normal screen to read your arrows, it's bullfuck.

Second, some of the songs are defective. And no I don't mean they suck, I mean they are fucking broken. This mix includes HOT LIMIT, a song that hasn't been in a DDR game since 5th Mix, and there it was a Long version (takes up 2 stages but lasts about 3 minutes). Whatever they did when bringing it to Universe, they fucked up. After the music fades and the last arrow leaves the screen, the game just sits there. Forever. Until you hold start to end the song. It will sit there all night and never go to the result screen if you let it. There is at least one other song in this mix that does that that I've come across. HOW COULD THEY MISS THAT?! "Hey uh, boss? This song never ends..." "Oh well, ship it anyway." Like seriously, I'm not making this up. IT DOES NOT END. EVER. I waited on it for like 10 minutes hoping it would realize "Oh hey, song's over, I need to like, do something" but it doesn't. This would be almost forgivable, since you can hold start to end it but still pass it, except it makes mission mode unplayable. This sucks, cause the mission mode isn't terrible because it lets you play on the difficulty you're good at so I was actually enjoying it.

Let's move on to this mode. You start off in California, and you get to drive or fly all over the US of A doing challenges, earning money, building a fanbase, challenging champions, etc. This is entertaining. Most of the missions require you to fill a dance meter by getting 'x' combo, or just hitting perfects and greats, some are real hard and it moves down if you get a great, so you really gotta strive for perfects. As soon as the dance meter fills, you can hold start to exit the song, pass, and move on, or keep playing for more money/fanbase. This is good.

If you keep playing, it will pick a random song after the one you chose is over (yes, you actually pick the song you do for missions, mods included, and they count!) and you can keep going. Sometimes you have to play multiple songs to fill the meter or beat a champion, and THIS is where the problem with mission mode is. The last two sentences is what makes mission mode unplayable. Why? Because at any given point, one of the "broken" songs might get chosen. If you're facing a champion (which took me about 7 songs to fill the meter, it was that difficult) and HOT LIMIT gets picked as like the 2nd song - you're fucked. If the song ends and that meter isn't full, you're going to fail the challenge and NEVER GET TO DO IT AGAIN. Well, maybe not never, but you lose a lot of the fanbase you've built up and the time you put into earning that championship shot is wasted (because it autosaves your failure). So unlocking everything is really all about dumb luck, and since Hot Limit isn't the only broken song... chances are you're gonna get fucked over on a multi-song challenge.

Also, this is the last thing - Universe, like every other DDR on the Xbox ever made, doesn't accept multiple inputs of the same button. Example: you're playing on the controller, as my tubby ass often does to unlock songs, and you hold down the A button (down arrow) - if you try to press down on the d-pad, it will not register the press. This isn't a huge issue in dance pad play, but for controllers it blows because if you're frantically mashing buttons and arrows, if you're releasing A as you're pressing Down, or whatever, that step is most likely not going to register. This is ONLY an issue on the Xbox DDR's.. Ultramix 1, 2, 3 and 4 all have the problem, and I imagine Universe 2 and 3 do as well. Fix it already, fuck!... at least you can hold A to get to options...

Anyway, enough about those. Check back for more game reviews in the future.

Make a free website with Yola