Pros: Eyetoy support is a neat idea and it has a collection of USA
exclusive songs on it.
Cons: There isn't enough "new" stuff in the game to warrant an import
Konami's Dance Dance Revolution series hasn't undergone any major
innovations since the introduction of freeze arrows in DDR Max (also
known as 6th Mix). Yet followers of flashing arrows are content with
having a new songs and new oni courses in a new mix. Low and behold
Konami of America decides to give the series a face lift for the release
of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme in the US. Instead of just making it a
dancing game they take advantage of Sony's Eyetoy camera. It looks like
that Japan might miss out on the new Eyetoy features, but Konami comes
right along and releases DDR Festival for Japan. Unlike other Dance
Dance Revolution mixes this one contains "new" content for the Japanese
audience by packing together American exclusive content.
All of the
mini games and Eyetoy support from DDR Extreme US are in DDR Festival.
With the Eyetoy you can watch yourself dancing on the TV. This is
somewhat interesting for freestyle players out there who want to see
what they look like while playing. Another new mode is where you dance
to a song, but the screen keeps getting dirty. Virtual dirt covers the
screen, which blocks you from viewing the steps to the song. In concept
this mode sounds pretty good, but in reality it just isn't interesting.
Pro players won't be affected by this if they've already memorized the
steps. Novice players are likely to get frustrated because they have to
flail their arms just to see the next set of steps. Besides Eyetoy
support Konami has also added in two mini games. One of the games has
you race against a friend. To win you need to stomp on your pad as
quickly as possible to make your character run fast. You don't have to
fight fair in this race if you are trailing behind. By pressing on the
down arrow you can make a hole appear, which could slow down a player
long enough for you to take the lead. The other included game has you
feed a bunch of animals. Each arrow represents a different type of food.
You need to feed the correct animal the correct meal to score points.
For instance you need to feed the rabbit carrots and the frog flies. You
don't want to feed fish to the dogs, that's for the cats. The more
animals you feed the more you take a lead in the feeding race. Whoever
feeds the most animals in the end wins. All of these extra games are a
nice diversion from DDR, but most arcade veterans won't care too much
The core of Dance Dance Revolution has always been the song list, not
any mini game. Gamers want new songs and more of them. This mix has a
total of 66 songs, which is a solid number to have. If you're in Japan
this might be the first time you're hearing a lot of these songs. Many
of the Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix Xbox exclusive songs are on the
PS2 for the first time. This includes songs like Infinite Prayer,
Absolute (Cuff-N-Stuff Mix), There 4 You. A bunch of the songs were
taken from the Xbox Live upgrade packs which include Mind Parasite, Fire
Dub, Battle Breaks and What is Love. Even if you've tried these songs
out on the Xbox, they have all new step sets for the PS2 version. This
is a blessing for importers that already own Dance Dance Revolution
Ultramix. Another large group of songs were taken from DDR Extreme US.
This includes all of the Karaoke Revolution covers like Waiting for
Tonight, Believe and Bizarre Love Triangle plus the non Karaoke
Revolution song, Maximzier. Like in all DDR mixes Konami has to add old
favorites in the song list. DDR Festival has a bunch of Be For U songs
like Dive, Firefly and Candy Heart. Also included in this mix are Sana
Morette Ne Ente, Abyss, Un Deux Trois and the challenging Sakura. We've
gone through the majority of the songs and you probably haven't seen
anything new. The absolutely new stuff added includes the anime theme
song from Cutie Honey, two J-Pop tracks Diamond and Gakuen Tengoku along
with Ki Se Ki sung by the reformed Be For U.
While the song list might not sound great to importers, it's not a
bad mix for the Japanese market. Classic Konami songs like Dive, era
(nostralmix) and Insertion haven't seen a PS2 release. The new tracks
from Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix haven't been seen in Japan either.
Overall the song mix is pretty balanced genre wise. While the steps
chart is skewed towards a more novice crowd. There are only two 10 foot
songs and four 9 foot songs in the list. DDR Festival is working the
same angle as Extreme US with a song list designed to pull new players
into the series.
The graphics in DDR Festival are far from spectacular. You have a lot
of reused animations from other DDR mixes and they're getting old. On
the other hand, you're not playing Dance Dance Revolution to look at
pretty pictures. So, even without having stellar graphics a DDR game can
succeed. There is main graphical achievement in the game is having an
all new music video for Ki Se Ki. Some followers are going to hate the
new interface the series has. Instead of the song wheel seen in the
arcade versions of DDR, DDR Festival uses the same interface as Extreme
US. The interface is pretty clunky compared to the jukebox from 5th Mix.
It takes slightly longer to navigate to the song you want. Since there
are only 65 songs to rotate through the interface is workable.
It might not be the best mix for importers, but DDR Festival is a
pretty good mix for the Japanese audience. It's got a good variety of
songs and brings the Japanese audience up to speed on the American
changes to the series. The Eyetoy games are interesting, but they're not
great. If you're a huge DDR fan and don't have an Xbox DDR Festival is
up your alley.
Unlike most Dance Dance Revolution games this has a Japanese menu.
Navigating through the options isn't that bad, since the menu is all in
katakana. If you can't read any Japanese just use some trial and error
or look at the DDR Extreme USA menu. The only problem gamers can come
into is when trying to figure out the mission mode.
Since the majority of these songs are in some US mix already there
is no reason for Konami to port it over.
If you love DDR and never played Ultramix some of these songs may
interest you. Otherwise, the new Eyetoy features that are already in DDR
Extreme USA and the weak song list make this pale in comparison to other