Saturday, March 3, 2007
Good: Lots of songs
Bad: Lots of bad songs
There are many things that I'll never do in my life. I'm never going to catch a touchdown in the Super Bowl. I'll never see Jimi Hendrix in concert. I'll never have sex with Kate Beckinsale. Above all else, however, I will never dance. Ever.
Because of my staunch opposition to dancing in all forms (unless you're James Brown, then it's cool), you can imagine my hesitation when Dance Dance Revolution Universe arrived at the Lawrence.com offices. I'm basically John Lithgow from Footloose, only I object to dancing because people look like jackasses while they do it, not because of some holy viewpoint. I distinctly remember making fun of the guys in the dorm lobby that constantly played it, and vowed to never touch it.
That was before I reviewed videogames. Now that I have an obligation to play and critique each game that arrives at our door, I figure I'll change my tune a bit. This doesn't mean I'll dance, though. It just means I'll step on arrows when my Xbox 360 tells me to.
This experience was a recipe for disaster. I hate dancing, and I despise techno music. The contents of DDR Universe seemed destined to give me an aneurysm. It failed to do this, and I'm terribly confused. I'm not going to call myself a DDR fan by any means, but I can now say that it's a well-made game that I'm sure fans of the series will love.
Fundamentally, I'm not sure how much more they could have done with the game/controller setup. Like always, the game is controlled by stepping on four arrows when the onscreen prompts tell you to. This alone would cause some problems with replayability, but Konami made up for it with a wealth of modes. There's an extensive tutorial mode, a basic "pick the song and dance to it" option, multiplayer modes, and a quest mode. The quest mode didn't do much for me, and I much preferred to just go through the songs one by one and try to increase my grade.
As for the songs themselves:.they pretty much suck. There's a few decent remixes of Steppenwolf, Earth Wind & Fire, and Sugar Hill Gang (and even a sweet rendition of the Castlevania theme), but the majority of the 70 tracks are annoying techno. Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who absolutely hates the genre, so you might enjoy it if you're into that kind of music. Either way, would it have killed them to include some P-Funk?
The dance pad itself works perfectly, and even includes a guide button for the 360. There was never any problem with the game registering my intended movements, and the hardest part was just keeping track of where my feet were.
Critiquing graphics in a game like this is pretty pointless, as you're going to be focusing on the arrows rather than what's behind them. If you happen to glance away from the task at hand, however, you'll see the occasional music video and (more often) a ton of flashing lights and bright colors. The only real misstep with the presentation is the frequent "Perfect!", "Great", "Almost", and "Boo" indicators that pop up directly in the line of the arrows.
This obviously isn't my area of expertise when it comes to gaming, but I'll admit to having some fun with this title. Namely, the hilarious realization that I was pseudo-dancing to Chris Brown and Kylie Minogue songs.
First Play: 7.5
Replay Value: 7.5