Beatmania IIDX: 7th Style

Two years in the making


The Lowdown

Pros: 80 different songs to choose from, better visuals

Cons: Still need the controller to enjoy the game, no gameplay changes

Purchase at Play-Asia
Honestly, it has been a while since we've seen a Beatmania game. The last game, Beatmania IIDX 6th Style, was released way back in 2002. Just shy of two years later, Beatmania IIDX 7th Style comes out. Fans of the Bemani series have been awaiting this game for quite awhile. Was it worth the wait?

If you haven't heard about Beatmania before that's because it's not big in America. You may have seen it hiding in a corner at an arcade next to a bunch of Dance Dance Revolution machines. Konami calls Beatmania a "DJ simulation", but it is more a kin to a beat box simulation. The gameplay concept is simple notes appear on the screen and fall to the bottom of the screen. If you hit the appropriate note at the right time you'll get a remark saying good or great. Getting a good or a great increases the bar at the bottom of the screen, this bar indicates how well you're playing the song. If you don't hit the note at the right time the bar will drop. The goal is to move the bar into the green, which requires getting the song at least 80% correct.

While you're busy pressing notes on your controller or better your Beatmania controller you'll be making sounds. The sounds are part of the song, so when you're playing right you'll complete the song. One of the fun parts of the game is being able to complete a difficult song. For whatever its worth it feels rewarding. Maybe because when you play a song out of beat it sounds like a cacophony. When you get really good with the game you can start to remix songs to your own liking. If you want to get into the game more than just casually playing it you have to get one of the Beatmania controllers. The game supports the standard PS2 controller, but the way the buttons are mapped out just doesn't work. It becomes increasingly frustrating as the song level difficulty increases. You can use either of the 5 key Beatmania controller or the IIDX 7 key controller. Even though the game supports both if you want to play the game seriously you need to have the IIDX 7 key controller. The 5 key controller simplifies the game quite a bit and takes away from the game a little bit. The 5 key controller does work for people that are still learning how to play Beatmania IIDX.

While the gameplay is pretty much the same Konami did increase the amount of music in 7th Style. There are 80 songs in the game, more than any other mix. Chances are you'll like at least twenty of them. You have a lot of popular DDR songs in this mix like Max 300, D2R, Kakumei and Destiny. There are a bunch of all new songs like "Traces" from TaQ, "General Relativity" from Symphonic Defoggers, "Solid Gold" from Dusty and "Cloudy Music" by Slake. What really surprised me was some of the licensed music in the mix. Normally, Beatmania games have a few pop songs thrown in for good measure. Instead they have some popular trance tracks. There is "The Beauty of Silence" from Svenson & Gielen, "Never Look Back" from DuMonde and "The Sound of Goodbye" from Armin van Buuren. These are some pretty big name artists in the electronic music scene so it was a nice touch to the music line up. If you're tired of all the new stuff many classic songs like 5.1.1., Abyss, V, Frozen Ray, and Burning Heat! (Full Option Mix) complete the soundtrack. While there are a lot of songs, this mix seems to have lost some of the music variety seen in the other Beatmania games. Hip hop tracks and pop tracks have been phased out. This mix has a good line up, but you're going to have to like house music to get the most out of it.

Konami have beefed up the visuals for 7th style. In addition to all of the crazy flashing seizure like visuals you have a lot of full motion video. Instead of random CG clips or random video clips Konami actually features some of their singers like in the visual for More Deep (ver 2.1). The visual that goes along with Burning Heat, give the Gradius game a neat tribute. Probably, the funniest thing in that video is there is a kid that is playing the game on a fake touch screen monitor. Other videos feature the classic computer graphics you come to love or hate within a Beatmania game. Although, when you're playing the game you're barely glancing at the video so it even if Konami failed in this department it would hardly effect the fun of the game.

Beatmania IIDX: 7th Style is a mix that fans of the series will like a lot. The Beatmania series has been moving towards having solely having electronic music for awhile, so it isn't a shock. The licensed tracks are a nice addition and if anything will attract more people to the Beatmania series. For first time buyers of Beatmania you may want to check out 6th Style since it has a little more music variation, unless you really like electronic music.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 0

The majority of the menus and the entire song list are in English, making this very import friendly.

US Bound?

Always that slim chance that one day Beatmania will come to America, but even if it does you can bet on the song list being different.

Overall

Even though the game doesn't feel fresh, it remains fun and is something that followers of the series will enjoy.