Beatmaina IIDX 9th Style is the latest mix in Konami’s DJ simulating series. In case you didn’t know here is a brief run down on gameplay. On the bottom of the screen there is a keyboard and a turntable. Notes fall from the top to the bottom where the keys are. When a note is right about to fall off the screen you need to hit the right key on your shiny IIDX controller. Yes, you can use a PS2 controller, but the control with it isn’t nearly as natural as a real Beatmania controller. Honestly, if you’re even considering to get into the series pick up a IIDX controller or if you want to save some cash at least a five key controller. With your music device in hand you’ll be off playing songs in no time. When you’re really good you’ll hit all the notes on beat and you’ll hear your work in perfect harmony. If you make tons of mistakes what you’ll have a nice cacophony. The Beatmania series has always prided itself on a high level of skill. To become an expert player you need a good sense of beat and have to practice, a lot. Mastering one song and getting a grade of A is a true achievement. Albiet the grading system has changed from other Beatmania titles in ninth style making it slightly easier to ace a song.
Each installment of Beatmania IIDX is pretty much the same game. A few cosmetic changes in the interface make 9th Style look a little sharper than 8th Style. However, most fans are probably not going to care too much about a better menu. Beatmania addicts are really looking at the game’s song list. Hardcore fans that hit up the arcade all the time will be able to play sixty songs from the 9th style arcade mix. There are some big songs in this mix like "Abyss – The Heavens Remix-", "Over the Clouds", "moon child" and "Karma" from TaQ. Konami also included six all new songs exclusive to this mix. The console exclusive song "Photongenic" is a phenomenal vocal trance song. "5PM Eternal" has a unique beat pattern to it. It’s like bass heavy reggae music, it’s fresh sound makes it stand out as my personal favorites out of the new songs. "5PM Eternal" is just one of the many different genres of music featured in 9th Style. No question about it you do have a majority of trance and house songs. However, unlike other Beatmania mixes you have some more J-pop like "Love Heart Shine". You also have a few unique additions such as DDR Extreme bagpipe classic "bag" and Jazzanova inspired "parmanesia".
No Beatmania mix is complete without a bunch of repeat songs. There are 19 returning songs. Some of the repeats are nice to have like "murmur twins", that I’m not sick of yet. Although Konami has chosen to repeat some of the same repeats over again. We’ve seen enough of "V", "Can’t Stop Falling in Love" and "Dive into your heart" already. They might be fan favorites, but every fan probably has another disc with those songs on it. Give us something deep from the archives Konami!
Beatmania 9th Style sports the same gameplay modes as the other console titles. There is the classic arcade mode so you can simulate the experience in your living room. Beginners mode still exists to teach you the basics. Training mode is also around for gamers to practice a single song to perfection. For those expert players there is the taxing expert mode to tackle. While there really is something for all levels of players out there, there is anything different from what is offered in past Beatmania titles.
We’ve already pointed out the new cleaner interface shown off in 9th Style. A solid addition, but it feels incomplete with the less than adequate background videos. During songs there is a preset video that plays to keep on lookers entertained. While these are normally not amazing, the videos shown in 9th style are boring. No full motion music videos, just prerecorded, screensaver fluff. Players will likely not care about this, but having some better videos couldn’t hurt. To balance out the poor videos the sound quality in 9th Style is top notch. If you’re lucky enough to have a digital surround system with an optical in, you’ll hear sharp, crystal clear sound. The difference between this and 8th style is fairly noticeable. Fans will be pleased.
What more can be said about Beatmania: 9th Style? Not much. You already know, love or dislike the series. 9th Style isn’t out there to change your mind, it’s out there to show love to the die hard Beatmaniacs.
Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 1
This game is really import friendly. The song list and menus are primarily in English. Some things like Beginners mode are in Japanese, but you can get almost everything out of the game without understanding the language.
Still no word of any Beatmania game coming stateside. For now you’ll have to import if you want to get this.
+ Pros: A more impressive songlist that covers 60 arcade favorites and brings in 17 spanking new songs.
– Cons: Beatmania mixmasters probably won’t care, but Beatmania IIDX is being rehashed again.
Overall: Out of the past few Beatmania IIDX games this one stands out as one of the better titles. If you’re into music / rhythm games you can’t go wrong with a IIDX controller and 9th style.
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