Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA Review

Okay, okay – everybody calm down! I can already hear the screams from the hordes of j-pop fans slavering for their next taste of the DDR Franchise. I’d like to take a step back and say that if you’re expecting something radical and different, your head might just explode from disappointment. To recap for those of you out there who live under rocks with Ataris, DDR stands for Dance Dance Revolution, the rhythm based dancing game where you actually have to get off the couch and keep time to a beat with your feet (of all things). If you are here and reading this, you probably already know what DDR is, and that DDR: SuperNOVA is the latest iteration of DDR on the PS2. Boasting a huge slew of new songs with new and different genres, a single player ‘quest’ mode and EyeToy support, they’re pulling out all the stops in the latest edition.

Despite this list of impressive sounding additions to the game, I can say that nothing brought to the table is too terribly impressive, and some are downright useless. For instance, the ability for online play is integrated in this release, and while it’s hard to find a partner online, its not impossible. However, this concept just fell flat; unless you enjoy watching someone less skilled making mistakes or just like the idea of playing against another person you can’t talk to, there’s not much to it. There’s no visceral feel to winning or losing. I guess there’s simply no substitute for inviting your friends over for one-on-one madness in person.

In addition, the built in EyeToy support feels like a stretch. It does add another level of complexity and challenge to the game by using hand movements as well as the normal ‘dancing’ – and it is kind of neat to see yourself flailing around like a disturbed child – but it quickly becomes passed up with the more classic gameplay, which is challenging enough. Leave the webcam hand motions to the super addicted experts, as they’re the only ones who will most likely get anything out of it. So with the Internet play being mediocre (partially due to the PS2’s weak network support in general) and a silly EyeToy addition, what in SuperNOVA is good?

Put simply, everything that was always good about the franchise. The actual formula for DDR hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s still a total blast to dance and nail the perfect 155 step combo on a tough high-energy techno song. There are a slew of new songs – some of which may catch you by surprise as they’re not commonly associated with dance. This actually brings me to one other gripe, which is the song list. There’s a ton of music and some new high-energy songs like Fallout Boy’s "Dance Dance," which is a great addition. This, unfortunately is not the case with all of the new songs. David Bowie, The Buggles, Kelly Clarkson and others are brought to the table in SuperNOVA. While I’ll make no judgments on the quality of the songs (maybe you’re a HUGE Bowie fan), they don’t exactly lend themselves to the energetic rhythm dancing that DDR has shaped and made famous.

Getting back on track, some songs feature a music video from that track playing in the background: the rest feature psychedelic camera effects with a cute polygonal avatar mimicking your movements. This too is fairly untouched from earlier titles, although the quality might be just slightly higher. One cool addition in the game is the Stellar Game Master Mode, where you basically go on a single player quest with different requirements to advance. You move from planet to planet with different groups of songs and requirements to pass, such as a certain score, ignoring an arrow direction, a certain amount of perfects, and more. This mode (and others) also unlocks previously hidden or unavailable tracks, so you’re rewarded for your sweaty hard work. This actually does give the game a much needed boost, in the sense that it gives you a direction and ongoing goals to complete instead of mindless high scoring. So kudos on the Stellar mode, Konami.

There’s not a whole lot more to tell in this turgid tale of DDR madness. The new modes may draw in a few extra players that previously haven’t tried out these titles, but fans of the series know what they’ll be getting in the end. While there are a few niceties and features to round out a sequel, it really comes down to a new song lineup for you already pre-addicted players. Many games these days throw in the kitchen sink to stand out, and end up ruining what was really fun about them in the first place. I can honestly say that DDR: SuperNOVA does, in fact, throw a few kitchen sinks in, but Konami was smart enough to leave the same gameplay totally intact, and for that alone I can recommend this to you dancing gamers.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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