Yesterday we came away from the Konami BBQ with huge amount of media, some brand new information, and our first build of DDR Ultramix 3 for the Xbox. If you are a DDR junkie then you probably already know what this game includes, but for the uninitiated this is the ultimate chance to boogie down.
The game was first revealed at this year's E3 and it was announced that the Xbox version would include a bevy of exclusive modes. The presentation is a still a poppy explosion of bright colors and trippy effects one would expect from a Konami party game. This installment seems to have an underwater theme that plays with ripples, bubbles, and waves, to dizzy gamers right off of their dance pad.
There were only a few sections open to us on this build including the standard game mode that supports one or two dance mats. Two mats allows for some head to head battles either in regular arcade mode or any of the options described below. The music is another blast of Japanopop that pushes the limits of how many beats can be fit into a minute and how efficiently a song can cause players to hyperventilate.
The party mode has a number of different options for dance battles. The first one we took for a spin was Attack Style. This challenge uses combos on the directional arrows to send penalties over to a rival dancer. For example, perfectly hitting four down arrows in a row will result in a lightning attack that lowers your opponent's screen. This means that arrows approach the hot zone faster and perfect hits require better precision. Players can also block attacks, bring their bars back up, and counter attack an incoming combo.
Bomb Style is a dancing game of hot potato that passes a ticking time bomb back and forth by performing dance combos. Five combos will blow the other player to smithereens or the last person to hold the bomb when the song ends is the designated loser. Quad Style takes multi-mat playing to a new level with the possibility of four mats being used at the same time. This means that it is possible to play a game with 16 floor panels either alone or with friends. The thought of one person using four mats is a bit like playing Ninja Gaiden with four controllers
and no hands.
Sync Style is for precise dancers only. If a player hit less than a "perfect" or great on a dance step the game is over. OKs are allowed on freeze arrows, but this is as lenient as this mode gets. Score Battle and Point Battle allow players to challenge each other or the CPU to see who can grab the highest score or perform the most precise routine.
Another new mode is the Free Style option. This puts up to four players on a stage and lets them make up their own dance routines. The CPU rates each player according to their rhythm and dance combos. There are also small comments at the bottom of the screen a la Mystery Science Theater, which either congratulate or taunt a player according to their technique. I was informed that "the game isn't called Jump Jump Revolution" and that I should "calm down and try for some longer steps." My play style must have been influenced by the chocolate coated crack I had with my coffee break. Freestyle is a fun option for some stress free dancing when players grow tired of following the floating arrows.
Our final dancing experience was with Quest Mode. This single player adventure has players travel the United States vying to become the most famous dancer in the nation. In each city there are a string of challenges that award players with the points they need to access the next zone. A booking agent provides tips for rookies and guides players through their quest for fame.
DDR Ultramix 3 has over 65 tracks and the option to download even more content over Live including packs from previous games. We'll have further updates on this game including the modes that we have yet to try out. These include Workout, Challenge, Online Battles, Training, Edit Mode, and the Jukebox. Stick with IGN for all of your pop-locking updates.
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