While I primarily use my PlayStation 3 for Blu-Rays, when I do play video games on it, they’re typically Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) titles. Since we have modded metal DDR pads, we’ve been able to play PS1 & 2 DDR games on our (60GB) PS3. If you don't have a USB DDR pad, the bundled in pad will not only allow you to play this game, but PS2 DDR games as well. PS1 DDR games depend on the model of your PS3. While Dance Dance Revolution supports the Eye Toy and Move controllers, I can’t comment on their support since I don’t own them. If I did, I would imagine only using the camera and not the Move controllers since I’m not a fan of the hand gimmicks in the Wii's DDR Hottest Party series.
The basic gameplay is still the same. You have arrows coming up on the screen, and you must step on the dance pad arrow when the arrow lines up with the one on top. You are rated on your timing: Perfect, Great, Good, Almost, and Miss. There is a life bar that depletes as you miss steps, and when it's drained, you fail the song. There’s an announcer to encourage you or taunt you if you fail. Most songs have multiple difficulty levels you can choose from: Beginner, Basic, Difficult, and Expert.
There are a few game modes to choose from and a tutorial for newcomers to the series. Dance Off is the multiplayer mode where up to four players can compete against each other to see who the best dancer is. I played this game solo, so I can’t comment on that mode unfortunately. Free Dance lets you jump right in and dance to the song and difficulty of your choosing. You can unlock additional songs by completing the single-player campaign, Club Mode. In Club Mode you must dance your way to the top to become the dance club leader. The challenging part is that the songs, difficulty, and gimmicks, will be completely random.
While that sounds fun in theory, it misses the mark in executing it. I typically play on the expert difficulty level and being forced to play on beginner or basic difficulty levels is just plain boring. There were times when I had a 400+ streak going and I was still stuck on the basic difficulty level. Other times I had a 200+ streak going and my difficulty would drop down instead of going up. On the contrary, there were times when the game would be too difficult. When I was doing rather well, the game would sometimes drop one of the arrows down below the rest and let me tell you, that’s quite a challenge! My last complaint on this game is the lack of a pause feature. In the Club Mode you can choose between four and twenty songs to play. I would typically do fifteen, and to have that streak ruined by a phone call or the ring of a door bell, is very frustrating.
The song selection has a wide variety of styles and time periods. There are songs from the 60’s to the new millennium. Some of the older songs include Dancing in the Street, We Are Family, Venus, Rio, and Love Shack. Some popular artists like Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum and Sean Paul make an appearance as well. While I enjoyed songs like Hey Soul Sister and I’m Yours, they are not really songs to bust a move to. Like many dancing games, some songs have suggestive themes and I’m Yours had the word "d*mn" in it.
Graphically this game looks nice on the PS3 and it got the much needed overhaul it deserved. The video backdrops are visually appealing, but I miss seeing the original music videos like in previous DDR games. The interface is easy to use for the most part. However, I never got the calorie counting feature to work. I set up my profile and enabled it, but never got a tally of how many calories I burned. A good steady workout of nine songs on expert is guaranteed to make you break a sweat though. I used sweat as an indicator instead.
While this game caters more to newcomers, DDR veterans will like the ability to download greatest hits from the original Dance Dance Revolution, Konamix, DDR Max2, and SuperNova 1 & 2. Those tracks all cost money but there are a handful of free full version tracks for cheapskates like me. As a veteran DDR player, I was too put off by the Club Mode to truly enjoy this game. Now that I unlocked all of the songs, I’ll fully enjoy the Free Dance mode, but it took a lot of dancing at beginner levels to get there.