Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2ESRB:
Platform: PlayStation 2
Developer – Konami
Publisher - Konami
1-4 players online
Network adapter required
Memory Card –175 KB
Everyone has seen how Dance Dance Revolution works in the arcades, but I have always wondered how fun it really is. The countless number of people playing seems to indicate that it is very enjoyable. Published and Developed by Konami, this series has been a popular game in the arcades for quite sometime. My personal preference has me playing other Konami titles like Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, and even their Pro Evolution soccer titles, but never a DDR game. But things are a changin' as I was given the daunting task to review Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2 for the PS2. I’ve never felt the need to want to play DDR in any shape way or form, but in the privacy of my home office I suppose I could roll out the pad and give it a go.
SuperNOVA 2's graphics are not much different from previous versions already released. Now considered Sony's last-gen console, the PS2 has been pretty much maxed out in terms of processing power so the visuals really can't get much better. And to be honest, as you play this game you will be spending more time dancing and eyeing the moves than studying the games beauty. That being said, SuperNOVA 2 looks and feels like a brightly lit neon sign as the screen flashes and pops with loads of color. I couldn’t really see any tell tale signs of any slow down or frame rate drops. The pre-rendered backgrounds looked pleasing enough, but they are really nothing special. SuperNOVA 2 doesn't really give us anything different then those of past DDR games. The presence of on-screen dancers for songs that use random pre-generated loops of images and the occasional music video mixed in manage to liven the background of your dance routine. Overall the visuals are pretty solid, but just don't expect anything groundbreaking for a game of this nature.
With some of the most popular dance songs in the forefront of SuperNOVA 2 it is no question that the sound of the game is by far the biggest enjoyment factor of this title. The song line-up is pop-based as usual, and there are many local hits to keep the teenyboppers bopping. Some of the artists include Ashley Tisdale, Justin Timberlake, KT Tunstall, Natasha Bedingfield, Britney Spears, Paul Oakenfold and Brittany Murphy among many others. Other than that, the game is mostly made up of the same style of J-pop tunes that were found in the past DDR games. As I played I couldn't help but get some flashbacks of the Space Channel 5 from my Sega Dreamcast days. Although this soundtrack really isn’t my musical taste I found that almost every song took on a "hook" factor. It’s truly amazing how catchy these songs become in this game's environment. It could even be a song you would normally not listen to, only to find yourself shaking your booty to it.
Technically speaking the game is mastered in Dolby Pro logic 2 and sounds fantastic through a decent surround sound set-up. The music is crystal clear, with high and lows very audible throughout the game. I really loved that the soundtrack got my 15-inch subwoofer pumping and transformed my room into a night club on a Saturday night in the middle of summer. I bet my neighbour was wondering what all the hub-bub was about. Overall the sound is a solid compliment to this games style.
I’ve never really understood the attraction to the DDR games. I always thought the people playing these interactive dance games in the arcade were a bit weird to shake it in front of all kinds of strangers. The gameplay of SuperNOVA 2 has definitely not strayed from the original DDR roots as the main focus is to place your feet on the proper area (e.g. arrows) on the game mat while keeping in time with the rhythm of the music. The game is easy enough to figure out and I was up and running in no time. My wife got a good laugh as I tried to master the beat and speed of each song in the game. I felt like a rumbling, stumbling oversized Rhino with very little coordination. However, I began to make progress pretty quickly and discovered the addiction factor is somewhat huge. I found that I did not want to stop playing as I wanted to perfect the next track or redo the last one in an effort to improve. I’m sure veterans of the game will move very quickly through the levels but with over 70 songs and 100+ minutes of material it should still take everyone a bit of time to get through it.
One of SuperNOVA 2’s newest features is Hyper Master. It sounds extreme, but there’s no reason to be frightened as it is basically the same gameplay that is in the regular modes just more intense and, for a lack of a better word, hyperactive. If you are one of those ridiculously fast players that never misses a step than this mode is perfect for you. Rather than take on any song individually to make progress the Hyper Master mode provides a particular grouping of tracks to conquer. You don’t win by merely completing the songs though as you only succeed by meeting the listed requirements. These challenges are somewhat varied and range from keeping the dance meter at or above 80% to scoring combos of 65 or more made of Marvelous, Perfect, or Great ratings. There are other variations, too such as score 80 combos from the top within 60 seconds. It sounds complicated to the casual gamer who’s never played a DDR title before, but you’ll get the idea surprisingly fast.
As you move along through the Hyper Mastsr mode, defeating the base song list (ranging from four to eight songs), you will end up at the inevitable boss battle. Bosses aren’t anything out of the ordinary, just a more intense version of the stages you’ve already beaten. The songs are different, which means the pace, number of beats (arrows), and visuals will change. DDR experts are going to blow through the first half no problem but after that be prepared as only those with the fastest of feet will survive through the end.
The entire Hyper Master mode has one thing that really sets itself apart from the rest of the game, modules. Modules can slow down or speed up the rise and fall of the dance meter among other attributes and enhancements. By completing the games stages you will begin to unlock items (modules) in the DDR shop. These items can’t be acquired until after you start earning points. Favourite tracks and/or other treats can be purchased from the store; it’s almost like customizing your own game play within the game.
SuperNOVA 2 also supports enhanced Eyetoy functionality by letting you see yourself dance in front of your TV. Also, while I did not go online via the PS2 network adapter, the game does allow for some online gaming. Up to 4 players can connect for some ground stomping fun. You can also simultaneously chat with them and chart your Internet rankings.
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