As much as I hate to admit it, Konami’s Dance Dance Revolution
is an unstoppable juggernaut. While arcade mainstays like racers and fighters were dying down, DDR was rapidly gaining an audience, an audience that would help it survive for the better part of a decade. With each and every entry Konami has done little to change the formula that hooked millions, but has at least tried to cater to fans by adding more songs and minute features that help them get the most out of their game. DDR Extreme
tries to continue this tradition but a few hitches prevent it from being the all-encompassing game that DDR addicts have been yearning for.
Konami promised that Extreme would be the most definitive DDR title to-date and it took every measure to ensure that it would live up to its word. For starters, it features the largest track listing of any home ‘Stateside release. There are more than 65 tracks available for you to dance and groove to, more than any previous entry, and the song variety is just excellent. The designers took great care to handpick the songs so that they wouldn’t overlap with the songs in the other DDR games. This is a huge boost because I’ve always knocked the franchise for rehashing the same songs over and over again. That’s not to say that there aren’t any repeats in this entry, it’s just that there are much fewer ones, giving you more bang for your buck.
To coincide with the new release Konami decided to utilize a new interface for its song selection screen. In the past the game had utilized the small panels on the right side of the screen in order to display the song title while pushing all of the info into the bottom left corner of the screen. The designers removed that little chart that told you how the step difficulty and how much air you could expect. Instead, the game utilizes an archaic rotating system that looks similar to the interface found in the first DDR game. It’s clunky, uninformative and less attractive than the interfaces found in the previous entries. Personally I preferred the interface found in DDRMAX2
as I found it to be both attractive and accessible.
It’s a little disappointing to see that Konami hasn’t added any new features to spice up the gameplay. The last real change to the franchise came in the form of the freeze arrow, but that was three games ago. There’s not much that you can do with a game that relies on the dance pad as its means of control, but there must be something that the designers could do to spruce up the action a bit. My girlfriend had a friend who used to play DDR and Para Para Paradise
at the same time because he liked the challenge presented by playing them simultaneously. Extreme has a feature similar to this but it’s barely developed and needs to be fleshed out quite a bit. Personally, I’d like to see them combine DDR and Karaoke Revolution to form some sort of Pop Star-ish Bemani game where you have to sing and dance at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, the game is still an addictive time-muncher, I just think it would be nice if Konami could change things up a bit. It seems like Mission Mode was supposed to accomplish this but it doesn't really bring enough to the table to do so. It's fun to try to accomplish minor goals set to select portions of your favorite songs, but it's not really worth playing over and over again.
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