PS3 Fitness Game Reviews

Review of Dance Dance Revolution for Playstation Move

Dance Dance Revolution

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Summary: A good, if not phenomenal, first-ever release of DDR for the PS3.

A lot of Playstation 3 owners have been waiting a long time for Dance Dance Revolution to make it to the PS3. Four long years later, it’s finally arrived. Was it worth the wait?

The first thing I noticed when I opened my DDR box was a brand new, sleek black dance pad. it definitely looks a lot “cooler” than the old white dance pads on the Wii and the PS3. The pad features the normal four directional arrows, as well as the Playstation X, square, triangle, and circle on the four corners. Installation is a snap, of course–just plug it into an available USB port and you’re all set.

The options on DDR should be familiar to anyone who’s played it on the PS2 or the Wii. You have an enthusiastic man’s voice shouting out the options as you select them.

  1. In “Free Dance” mode where you can just dive into dancing. You select te number of players (single player or multiplayer) and then you can choose any song at one of four difficulty levels (beginner, basic, difficult, expert).
  2. “Club Mode” is where you basically have to proceed thorugh different levels of difficulty to win the game. As with all the DDR games, this is a good way to learn the game and to gradually build skills. unfortunately, the developers decided to put in things which seem more like gimmicks than anything else. There are features like “TRICKS” which will suddenly change the difficulty level in the middle of a song. As you finish songs in other “clubs”, you can move them to your own “club”. Honestly, this section seemed much more confusing than it should have been, and the confusing and poorly written explanation of “How to Play” at the beginning only made things worse. Konami should have stuck with keeping this simple. I didn’t even bother.
  3. “Dance Off” mode is where up to four players can take turns dancing. There’s something called a “combo roulette” which does things like speed up the dancing, shift the top arrows around, make the arrows bigger. But what it ends up doing is make the competition confusing and frustrating. Seems like another situation where they tried to innovate, but ended up causing more of a mess.
  4. There’s been a lot of talk about how the new Dance Dance Revolution makes use of the Playstation Move controller. Turns out there’s only one menu option in which you can use them: “Move & Step”, which is basically “Free Play Mode” that uses the Move Controllers. So you can’t use the Move Controllers in Club Mode or Dance Off Mode. To start, you need to adjust your position so that you and your mat are in the middle of the screen–and you need to stay in that position throughout the song. I thought that maybe like Just Dance, the game might at least featured some hand movements that looked like real dancing. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, there are four new kinds of arrows (pointing diagonally to each of the four corners of the screen) added to the mix. To get points, you need to swipe your hand to that corner when you see the arrow. The controls are precise, of course, and you do see a visual “swoosh” when you move your hands in the right direction. For some inexplicable reason, when using Playstation Move controllers, not only does XMB navigation not work, the “X” button on the Move controllers doesn’t even work. So you’re in an awkward position where you’re holding two Move controllers, but when you need to select a menu option or even just move to the next screen, you need to drop the Move controllers, pick up your Dualshock controller, make your selection, and then pick up the controllers again. It’s a rather sloppy piece of programming on Konami’s part.
  5. The remaining modes are “How to Play” (for anyone who doesn’t know how to play DDR yet), “Training Mode” (which lets you break down any song at any difficulty to practice it–again, no Move support), “Music Store” (which lets you access DLC), “Workout Profile” (which tells you the number of calories burned), “Records” (which displays the high scores for each song on your system for Free Play Move and Move & Step), “Video Manager” (which lets you export videos to YouTube and Facebook) and “Options”

The graphics are much better quality than on the Wii or the PS2, of course. When you select the songs you see a high-resolution image of the song’s album cover. For the most part, the graphics are crisp and the colors bright. During the dance numbers, you’ll see a video of yourself, taken with the Playstation Eye, in the background (sometimes clear, sometimes stylized with a solid color). I first found this a pretty cool feature, but sometimes the stylized images were so garing and distracting I just had to turn the camera off.

The playlist, as usual, is a combination of licensed tracks and Konami’s in-house music composers.

  • According to You (Orianthi)
  • Animal (Ke$ha)
  • Bad Romance (Lady Gaga)
  • Battlefield (Jordin Sparks)
  • Celebration (Kool and the Gang)
  • crushcrushcrush (Paramore)
  • Dancing in the Street (Martha and the Vandellas)
  • Hey, Soul Sister (Train)
  • I Got You (Leona Lewis)
  • I’m Yours (Jason Mraz)
  • Love Like This (Natasha Bedingfield)
  • Love Shack (The B-52s)
  • Mission (Everything But the Girl)
  • My Life Would Suck Without You (Kelly Clarkson)
  • Need You Now (Lady Antebellum)
  • Plastic Beach (Gorillaz feat. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon)
  • Rio (Duran Duran)
  • So Fine (Sean Paul)
  • Venus (Bananarama)
  • We Are Family (Sister Sledge)
  • dreaming can make a wish come true (jim and NRG Factory feat. Anna Kaelin)
  • In the Zone (UI, NPD3 style) and KIDD KAZMEO
  • Let’s Get Away (NAOKI fear. Brenda Burch)
  • MAGIC PARADE (Lea Drop feat. Katie Dellenbach)
  • One Sided Love (D-crew with Melissa Petty)
  • Private Eye (atomsoak ft. cerol)
  • Rescue Me (NAOKI feat. fracus)
  • Rhythms Inside (DKC Crew)
  • The Island Song (TAG feat. Eric Anthony)
  • TIME (NM feat. Aleisha G)

There are a number of aggravating annoyances. You can’t pause when you’re in the middle of a song. No buttons will work, and even if you hit the PS button, the song will keep on going. So if you get a phone call in the middle of a song, you just have to let it play all the way through.

You have the ability to record your performance in Free Play Mode, Dance Off and Move & Step. I can see the usefulness of recording songs with a dance game like Singstar Dance where you’re dancing to “real moves”. But here, you’re just hopping up and down and waving your arms randomly. Something tells me that this isn’t the sort of thing most people will be sharing on their Facebook page.

In all honesty, I think this summarizes DDR’s main weakness. DDR was the king of the hill of motion gaming since it first launched as an arcade game in 1998. But the world has moved on. Now that you can dance “real dance moves”, stepping on arrows seems a bit passé.

Don’t get me wrong, die-hard DDR fans will love this new game, the improved graphics, and the new music tracks. It’s still one of the better workouts you can get, especially when you practice over and over again to nail a difficult song. And of course, no other game can match it in terms of precision. But everyone else will probably find more satisfaction in newer games like Singstar Dance for the PS3, Just Dance 2 for the Wii, and Kinect Dance for the Xbox where they can not just pattern match but actually learn real dance steps. In that regard, DDR seems almost antiquated.

Overall, I’ll give it a rating of three of five stars. Executed well enough, but there’s really nothing very noteworthy nor innovative about it. It’s basically the same as it was in 1998–the “improvements” the developers tried to make (including use of the Move controllers) seem for the most part forced and contrived, as if they knew they had to be innovative, but knew that there’s just not that much more that can be done to stretch a 12-year old platform.

That said, I’d say it’s still a good purchase if you’ve never owned DDR before, and especially if you have kids in the house whose gym classes offer DDR (it’s a great way to get kids to not only get some exercise, but also give them some bragging rights at school after they’ve practiced at home).

3 of 5

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