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Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix 2

  • Released on Nov 16, 2004
  • By Konami for Xbox
9.6

Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix 2 review
The Best US DDR, By Far

The good:

BeatMania crossovers, 60 songs avaliable from the start, interface, songpacks, modes, song variety, HOLY FREAKIN' AWESOME STEPCHARTS, BATMAN!, HOLY FREAKIN' AWESOME DANCERS THAT YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD, BATMAN!, upload Edit data, Beginner Mode, and songs themselves.

The bad:

XBox Live =\, runs at a sketchy 40-ish FPS even with Dancers and background movies disabled, no modifiers available online, Songpack #6 >..<, Micro$haft's stupidly small user storage only allows 6 Edits online per user, no "recognizeable" modes like Nonstop and Challenge Mode, no Challenge steps, and no Lesson Mode.

Summary:

As a DDR player who has started playing at DDRMAX for the PlayStation 2, and continued with DDRMAX2, and DDR EXTREME for the aforementioned platform, Ultramix 2 DELIVERS.

Note that Ultramix and Ultramix 2 was NOT made by the same people who made DDRMAX, DDRMAX2, and EXTREME. Ultramix 2 and its predecessor was made by Konami's Hawaiian branch who has developed the game from a different standpoint: DDR for the hardcore.

Now, last game, Ultramix 1 didn't do so hot in a lot of places, namely for the new songs that premiered to DDR. Besides from some songs ranging from mediocre to just plain bad, they had mediocre to bad steps to go along with them.

(As a side note, if you own Ultramix 1 and have XBox Live, you might want to visit some forums and ask for the new step data made for songs that premiered in Ultramix but to DDR as well [remember, there's a difference between a song that's premiered on Ultramix, and one premiering on DDR entirely] as Japan just got a new console DDR with about half of their songlist consisting of songs coming from Ultramix with updated steps.)

After you get through looking at the shiny hyper-futuristic interface and setting up your options, you go into Game Mode to get comfortable. The in-game song interface is simplified like DDR EXTREME where instead of a large banner consisting of vital info taking up 1/8th of the top and bottom, all of the background movies are fullscreen and you just get your all important lifebar and difficulty at the top, and your score at the bottom.

The background graphics are AMAZING. All of them are totally new (some of which are reworked movies seen in past DDRs such as a blue lightning storm and the girl from the song "i feel..."). And the dancers...wow. They'll dance differently but accordingly to the song, and you might notice changes depending on who you use (some of the male dancers might do a femenine style if a female is also present).

You get 60 songs out of the box, all in different genres. Favorite Konami Originals such as B4U, A, V, My Summer Love, DROP OUT, 321STARS are already available. Those who have played DDR since the days of 3rd Mix will be happy to see songs like VOL.4, FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING), and NIGHT IN MOTION to show up, but new players will enjoy these songs as well, also available out of the box. And the Beginner Mode will also be helpful for those who have never played to enjoy them too.

For you aspiring Heavy players, THESE SONGS DELIVER! No matter which song you play, you'll find the steps enjoyable, yet not without their degree of difficulty. There's actually a 5-foot song here that actually has more than 250 steps to do! And if you are discouraged over EXTREME's "break combo and you automatically get an A no matter what" grading, Ultramix 2 is not like that. Ultramix 2 grades and rewards you based on your skill, but it's a little disheartening to see that getting 1 Almost near the end of the song cost so many points here.

When you're ready to play online, you quickly find games in progress or start your own. There's a new Tournament mode for 16 players as well. All of the modes found offline are also available online. Let's not forget the songs you can download. As of this time, there are 7 songpacks, each of which have 5 songs for 5 dollars each. Do yourself a favor and avoid Songpack #6. It's hideously awful.

And what about Doubles players? You're in luck! Besides playing like normal in Game Mode, you can actually play Doubles versus a friend offline or online!

Speaking of opponents, Ultramix 2 has the ability to make up to 3 computer-controlled opponents for playing against in the other modes. Or, of course, you can use 3 human friends too. In fact, you can actually go online with your friends from the same XBox.

Okay, so there's no Nonstop or Challenge/Oni modes here, but Ultramix 2 tries to alleviate the problem by providing a lot of new modes completely new to DDR. There's Attack Mode, where you must bring an opponent's Step Zone down to a certain point to make them lose. Bomb Mode forces you to keep your combo up or you'll blow up and be out. Synch Mode has you and up to three partners play on the same Step Zone and not break the combo, not even once.

Well, now the bad:
If you've played on the PS2 before, you'll be slightly disappointed to know that Ultramix 2 has the mysteriously odd problem of having a lower FPS with the arrow scrolling. You'll get used to it, but it's just weird having this problem.

Considering it's a game for the hardcore, why shouldn't it help you BE hardcore? The lack of the staple Lesson Mode will make it harder for new players to get better without knowing how to step properly.

Konami Hawaii also left out Nonstop and Oni Mode. It's still acceptable to leave them out for now, but it'd have helped, even if it was just Nonstop. They'll have to implement one or the other on next game.

Overall, the game will not disappoint. It's a great improvement over Ultramix 1, and it's far, far superior to EXTREME on PS2. Ultramix 2 is worth the money.

For an in-depth breakdown with EXTREME US versus Ultramix 2, go here: http://neoseeker.com/forums/index.php?fn=view_thread&t=476313

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