# of Players: 1-4
N Amer - 11/14/2006
Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX4 Review
To be honest, I was scared that
Konami was in the process of milking the cow dry with the Dance Dance Revolution
series. There are so many iterations of this series, it’s almost like it’s the
new Mega Man with several new titles a year. Even though I had my fears, I am
happy to say that Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4 provides the energizing
beats to get up and dance.
Before I jump deep into the review, I’d like to mention that Ultramix 4 has no ties to any of the arcade versions. The only similarity it shares with any of the arcade games is that it contains few songs that overlap. Another interesting tidbit is that Ultramix 4 is exclusive to the Xbox console this fall. So, all you Xbox fanatics can rejoice that you are still receiving some exclusives even without Microsoft’s full support of the console.
The focus for this year’s version
was to make it more accessible to new players. For myself, I would rate myself a
three out of ten as a dancer – that shows you how good of a dancer I am. To give
Konami the benefit of doubt, Ultramix 4 has helped improve my ability to show
off in front of my friends playing DDR. Whether or not my friends actually want
to watch me dance is a different question.
What Konami introduces this year is the How to Play tutorial mode to assist beginners. I am not exactly new to the series since I have played the first two titles on the Xbox, but I still consider myself a novice. The How to Play mode does precisely what it states it does, shows players how to jump right into DDR without embarrassing themselves. Wait, I take that back, everyone is bound to embarrass themselves playing DDR.
Konami still has several modes for the hardcore fans that are past the beginning stages of becoming a dancer. There’s Quest Mode which has seen its difficulty anted up a little. The last dancer you square off against, Boldo, is tough competition. Konami also has the Party Mode, Jukebox Mode, Workout Mode and even the Edit Mode still all in tact.
The Edit Mode this year features the ability to edit the background videos and dance steps to any song. Why would anyone want to do this? To put it in simple terms, some players will become tired of the same dance steps and videos being played repeatedly. With Konami now allowing the chance to edit what’s in the background and the steps that you have hit in succession, you are in full control of the environment you dance within.
Of course, Konami still is
implementing more Xbox Live features every year. With Ultramix 4, you can
compete in head-to-head battles to determine who the best dancer is.
Unfortunately, I am not up to par with the competition and find myself on the
losing end almost with every duel. Only players I can ever win against happen to
be my friends that play offline with me; simple because they have no clue how to
play the game. Outside of that, you can download songs along with dance steps to
the songs and view rankings online to see how you match-up before committing to
The only worthy mention for Xbox Live is the capability to use all downloadable song packs that were in the previous Ultramix games on the Xbox. This should attract those who want a wide arrangement of songs to dance to since that includes another 75 songs that will hold your interest even longer.
The graphics are a slight improvement of what you may have seen before. The avatars/characters that are in the background look much better than previously seen before. In Ultramix 3, the characters were a step above the normal avatars of the past editions, but Ultramix 4 has improved them even more. The menus are easy to navigate around and select which mode you want to play. There isn’t a whole lot in the graphics department to compare it to other video games on the market besides other DDR games.
The audio is superb, of course, with
more than 65 songs to dance to. With the addition of Xbox Live download content,
the wealth of songs to dance to has never been higher for Xbox players. For
those who anticipate which songs they’ll be able to dance to in every DDR game,
here’s a quick list of the most popular songs.
“Because I Got It Like That” by the Jungle Brothers
“Cannibale” by Stereo Total
“Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo
“Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls
“Diverse City” by Toby Mac
“Free (Liberation Mix)” by Blue October
“It’s Raining Men (Almighty Mix)” by Geri Halliwell
“No Good (Start the Dance)” by Prodigy
“These Words (I Love You, I Love You) by Natasha Bedingfield
Is Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4 the end of all dancing games? Not even close. What Konami has done this year is create a perfect introductory game to players that have never played the series. What saddens me is that Ultramix 4 is an Xbox game and not a next-generation video game. Players are beginning to move onto their PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii this winter so many will be skipping out on Ultramix 4. What’s good to know is that the Xbox 360 will be receiving its own DDR game in the form of Dance Dance Revolution Universe in the forthcoming months.
Review Scoring Details for Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX4
If you have played the game prior to Ultramix 4, you’ll feel right at home. New players will have the Trial Mode, Super Easy Mode and How to Play Mode to catch themselves up to the advance players.
Compared to other DDR titles, the characters are improved. Compared to action-adventure games, DDR is still not up to standards in graphics. But, I’ll save Konami the luxury of having to be compared to games like God of War and Halo 2.
It’s what you can come to expect with the audio in Dance Dance Revolution games. The songs fit the bill and are great to dance to.
Even with the new modes, dancing on the pads is still hard as ever. Maybe it’s just me, but whatever the case is, DDR is still a toughie to jump right into. The beginner modes do help out a lot.
I still thoroughly enjoy the idea of party games and working off those extra calories. The Workout Mode is perfect for a game like this and helps those who feel unhealthy playing video games, finally feel like they are doing something good with playing video games.
Multiplayer is still not where it should be but it’s decent. Playing the game in the arcades is still head and heels above the console comparisons.
Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4 is in favor of winning the “Best Party Game of the Holidays” award from me. Usually, DDR games have that effect on me to win me over, but Ultramix 4 pulls in a bigger crowd now with the user-friendly modes to attract new players. If you haven’t moved onto next-gen gaming, pick up DDR Ultramix 4 for sure this Christmas.
Dance like it’s your job. Dance like it’s your passion. Dance like you can’t stop. If any of those apply to you, then get ready to be into the dancing groove this holiday with Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4
Reviewer: Dakota Grabowski
Review Date: 12/01/2006