Review  #4: Dance Dance Revolution (VG - XBOX 360 USA)

Posted: June 17, 2014

So, I was at my local resale store today with money to burn, and guess what I found? Yep, Dance Dance Revolution for the Xbox 360. "Hey, I don't have this one yet... might as well pick it up." (I like to collect the DDR games, I still need so many...) And so I did. I finally have an Xbox 360 again, so I figured I'd give it a go. It can't be any worse than Universe, right?

Actually, when I got it home and was looking it over, I kind of had high hopes for it. It seemed that with no subtitle it could be Konami's way of trying to reboot the series and make it actually good again, like a lot of movies have been doing lately with everything they can get their hands on. So I popped it in the console and loaded it up.

Oh. My. Fucking. God. What the shit is this?! My hopes of the game being good were instantly dashed once I got into the game.

First off, the song list is COMPLETE SHIT. The back of the case touts Paramore and Kool & the Gang as being featured, so I figured from the onset there would be a couple of "Americanized" songs in there along with the normal DDR-style music. But no. Almost the entire fucking starting song list is Americanized garbage. Battlefield (Jordin Sparks), According to You (Orianthi), Bad Romance (Lady Gaga), Love Shack (B-52s), Animal (Ke$ha)... like... what the fuck?! And it's not just those songs. There are 30 songs on the starting list, and only maybe 3 of those are non-Americanized garbage. Two NAOKI songs (which IIRC is an in-house DDR artist anyway, so it only sort of counts) and something else that I didn't care about.

I think the biggest offense in the song list is "Need You Now" by Lady Fucking Antebellum. WHY THE FUCK IS THERE COUNTRY MUSIC IN MY DDR GAME?! IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE? What the fuck, Konami? Who is making these games and why haven't they been fired yet?

I took a look at the full song list and honestly, there is almost nothing in it I care about. The presence of "Flowers" and "Tsugaru (Apple Mix)" is nice, as is "MAX 300", but too bad you have to fucking unlock them. The DLC is also a joke. $5 for 5 songs, and the only DLC even worth it is the SuperNOVA Greatest Hits 2, and then only for "Flow" and "Innocence of Silence". Some of the other DLCs have decent songs too ("Gamelan de Couple" is present in one of them, as is "Super Star" and some other classics), but still, you end up spending a ton of money just to get a few decent songs that are already present in other games' default song lists and don't need to be unlocked.

Speaking of unlocking songs, guess how you do it? GUESS! If you guessed that you have to play some shitty ass story-type mode which consists mostly of Beginner difficulty songs and is a total snoozefest to play, then yes, you'd be right. Why do you keep doing this shit, Konami? Most DDR veterans, in fact, I'd dare say ALL DDR veterans, do not want to play on Beginner. Or Light. Or Standa-- excuse me, "Difficult". Universe had a great story mode for unlocking shit (despite it being fucking broken). If you insist on using shitty story modes to unlock songs, at least make them fun. Yo, Konami, ProTip: For someone who's been playing DDR for 10+ years, BEGINNER/LIGHT/STANDARD IS NOT FUN. IT NEVER WILL BE EVER AGAIN. Stop making us play it to unlock songs, because it's not going to get done. I give zero fucks for unlocking the songs in this game. It's not gonna happen. Can't I just play the game to unlock them like in games before SuperNova? I had no problem with that method. Why can't we have that back?

Also, keep the Light/Standard/Heavy/Oni naming convention. "Difficult" is not difficult. It's fucking EZmode.


sigh. I don't know why I keep hoping future DDR games will ever be good. The series hit its peak at DDR Extreme. There hasn't been and I daresay will never be a mix better than that (and no, I'm not talking about the American release. I mean the Arcade/Japanese PS2 versions. SuperNova Arcade isn't terrible, but it's been all downhill from there. Konami needs to stop trying to Americanize the series. Fans of the games don't care about having fucking Kelly Clarkson or Selena Gomez or Sean Paul or other Top 40 bullshit songs in the games. We don't play them for those songs, we play them to do crazy ass dancing on some whacked out awesome techno/trance/eurodance/j-pop/k-pop/etc music. You know why DDR Extreme was the best mix? Because it had the best interface, the best scoring system, and the BEST FUCKING SONGLIST. Granted, 4th mix was also fucking amazing. DDR Max and Max2 were great too.

Moving on, the game isn't ALL bad. If you can get past the shit songlist and terrible Club Mode, there's a decent core game underneath (but honestly the songlist itself kind of makes or breaks a DDR game).

The interface isn't so bad, it looks like a normal DDR game, except all red. It's also odd having Up and Down scroll the songs instead of Left or Right, but I guess it works. Getting to the mods menu is annoying, but not as bad as SuperNova PS2. You have to press Y and then go into it. There's also no Solo in this game, but it does have Note, so that works. I'm okay with Note.

Another postive is the in-game UI. It's shiny and kind of pretty. On that same note, though, it's also weird. The arrows fade in from left to right when the song starts (and sometimes as arrows are coming down). I'm not sure I like that. I think the effect is cool, but it should make sure all four are present before any actual arrows are scrolling. Just my two cents on that.

The game also introduces (I can't say 'introduces' with certainty since I haven't yet played Universe 2 or 3) something called "Chains". It'll be these brightly glowing arrows that if you hit all of them, you get a huge score bonus, kind of like how you build up Starpower/Overdrive in Guitar Hero/Rock Band. I have a like/hate with these. They're pretty, but they have a glow that cancels out their colors, making Note useless for them and they also have this big circle around them that goes into other arrows. It's weird. It's a neat effect, but I wish I could disable it from happening. I don't play DDR for points, I only care about the final letter grade and the full combo.

Speaking of scoring, the scoring system in this is AS IT SHOULD BE. Jumps count for two in the combo, you can AA without a full combo, it's fucking perfect. (Side note: I didn't actually play enough to check the ratio of perfects to other stuff that are required for a AA to compare it to, say, Extreme, but it's still good that you don't need the FC to AA).

Which brings me to my next point, the timing words are small as fuck and appear at the arrow itself. Y'know, PERFECT/GREAT/MISS/etc. It makes it really hard to see what your timing was for that last step. It should honestly stay up with the combo like in past games. This also makes it hard to see if my A/V calibration is on point or not (I kind of skipped adjusting that, because chances were good that I wasn't gonna spend enough time in this game for it to matter).

One last thing, and probably the best thing, is that this is the first Xbox/Xbox 360 game that doesn't have that stupid controller problem that I've talked about in the other reviews. You can hold down a button and still have the d-pad register that same button all day if you want. Thank God they at least fixed something in the series...

Also, it's 4 player. So that's okay, I guess, if you want to dance your heart out to shitty Top 40 songs with your friends, then this is the game you need.


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