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Beatmania Review (PS2)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Beatmania box art

Beatmania - US version

Konami

The Bottom Line

In all honesty, the 4-star rating I've given this is certainly influenced by the quality, and novelty, of the controller, as well as my personal fascination with Beatmania and Beamani culture. The game on its own may only earn 3-3.5 stars, due to difficulty and music selection. Beatmania has stellar game design, an incredible controller and a massive selection of options. It's too bad that poor song selection, both in terms of difficulty, and taste, really dampen the Beatmania party.
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Pros

  • Amazingly low price for the controller and game bundle
  • Beatmania controller is solid, too bad it uses the PS2 controller port and not USB
  • Classic rhythm gameplay still shines
  • Many modes of play, tons of options

Cons

  • Many gameplay modes, such as original "Beatmania" mode are far too difficult
  • Despite over a dozen Japanese PS2 Beatmania games, music selection could have been better

Description

  • Graphics: 3.5 - Beatmania is a bit dated, but it retains all of its cool
  • Sound: 4 - It sounds great, even if you don't want to listen to Briney Spear's Toxic
  • Control: 5/1 - With the Beatmania controller it's the best, without it's the worst
  • Difficulty: 5 - I've met people who've given it up to play more Guitar Hero, but that's just wimpy
  • Multiplayer: 3 - It takes two controllers, but can be very tough for a noobie
  • Online: 2 - Internet rankings, but there's room for much more
  • All scores are out of 5. The overall rating is not an average of the above scores
  • Rated: E10+ For mild lyrics and suggestive themes, I'd let my kid play just for the dexterity skills

Guide Review - Beatmania Review (PS2)

When I lived in Japan, I saw the greatness that is Beatmania. I stood amazed at the sight of the fingers of spikey-haired Japanese kids flying over the rectangular keys and spinning the scratch pad. Unfortunately, I have also seen the mediocrity that is the US version of Beatmania. The controller is stellar, the price is right, the gameplay superb and Beatmania has charm in spades. But like any rhythm game, it's all about the music, and it's here where the Bemani party goes limp.

While you can play Beatmania with the Dualshock, it would be akin to eating soup with your fingers, doable, but not so much fun. The super-hip Beatmania controller supports both the 5-key Beatmania game as well as the 7-key IIDX version. And, best of all, you can swap the keyboard to be played right or left handed, or set up for player 1 or 2. The controller feels and plays great, it's too bad it wasn't put to better use.

It's not that the music is bad, though Funkytown is a stretch, it's just that far too much of it focuses on strange syncopation and off beat notes. While experimental music is fun to listen to, it can be a drag to dance to, and a total bummer to play in a rhythm game. With more Bemani games out there than DDR you think you'd just get a best of, rather than the eclectic mix in this version.

In the end, the US version of Beatmania gets everything right but the tunes. Let's hope that Konami releases more discs to take advantage of what could be fantastic franchise.

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