Pros: 80 different songs to choose from, better
Cons: Still need the controller to enjoy the game, no gameplay changes
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.
The majority of the menus and the entire song list are in English,
making this very import friendly.
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.
Even though the game doesn't feel fresh, it remains fun and is
something that followers of the series will enjoy.