Cue Charlie’s nerd alert editors note, I’ve been a DDR player since it’s U.S. release back in 1999 so I’ve seen my fair share of mixes come and go. I’ve also picked up every next generation mix to come out, both foreign and domestic. So it’s no surprise that I picked up Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix for XBox. After five minutes of having the game I wish I hadn’t spent the extra money to get the pad as well. At the 40-dollar price point the game is worth picking up, but what you’ll be getting is a game rushed for the holiday season so badly that at times it will feel unplayable. Granted there are a few redeeming factors of this game, but if you know DDR like I know DDR then you’ll know that this is not how Dance Dance Revolution should be.
For the uninformed or parents out there, Dance Dance Revolution is Konami’s famed dancing series that you’ve seen in arcades. Step on the pad as the arrows come up on the screen, really simple stuff. Of course there are plenty of difficult things about the game as I’m sure many readers have seen people play the dancing game like a man possessed. In Ultramix you’ve got the regular game mode, which has three difficulty levels, and Konami also opted to throw in a Challenge mode, which has you complete specific tasks to unlock hidden songs, quite a boon for the hardcore out there, but I seriously wish Oni mode was included.
Starting with the graphics, the design is technically sound, I dig the new silver metallic look of everything, very clear and clean, and the main menu background looks great with the video running in the background, though I wish there were some variations and not just the same video on loop. Now once you get into the game the ugliness shows up. First off, on the early builds of the game there were supposed to be multiple dancers that could be selected. In the end all you’ve got are the first mix Afro and Lady characters who look nice but cause the frame rate in the game to bog down. The dancers aren’t the only thing ruining the gameplay. The movies also cause the frame rate for the arrows to drag and be sluggish. I seriously feel like I am playing Konamix for Playstation. This is especially perplexing when you consider that the demo mode shows that game running perfectly smooth with the dancer and the videos running in the background. And if you think that adding options to the game will make it better then you’re sorely mistaken. I tried playing many a song on high speed 2, reverse and it’s horrifyingly choppy. The only time the game feels even remotely playable is when the game is running at its basic mode. Thankfully when playing on XBox Live you are forced to play the game with no options making it an equal playing field for everyone. However in their haste to make the game playable online they made it so that when you play the arrows are small. Edit mode small, making for quite the eyestrain when you play with four people. I think it would have been better to put a meter on the side of the screen showing the Perfect, Great, Good, Boo and Miss count of all players.
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