Pump it Up: Exceed
If You Like DDR, You May Love this Excellent Atlernative!
September 3, 2005 - Though my only recent experience with the series was last week with Exceed 2 (my first time playing that version), I must say that the home version (or CS, whatever you prefer) is excellent! Let's start with the interface. The whole theme of it just screams of awesomess from the main menus to the music select screen, but this is expected from the PIU series. The heavy bass drum beats that play along in the menus really gets you, for the lack of a better word, pumped! This, as far as the interface is concerned, just seals the deal when compared to ITG's generic interface and can be placed next to DDR's (5th Mix to MAXes and not counting EX US!). As for the pad, IMO it has to be the best pack-in pad that I've ever played on! It's not a Red Octane or Cobalt Flux but it gets the job done. The pad hardly slips when playing some hard level songs (though this may change when I decide to play crazy level songs), and very responsive. I must say that that surprised me! It's not all perfect, though. There are flaws when it comes to navigating the menus with the pad. Can't really blame it considering the source but as veteran PIU players may know, the arcade version doesn't have buttons on the machine a la DDR for menu navigation and song selection alone so the pad must be used. It's not consistant; between the arrows are seperate directions (up, down, left, and right) for ONLY the menu navigation. This boggled me since down-left and down-right were the navigation buttons for everything in the arcade. Those same buttons work for ONLY the music selection in the CS release. Speaking of that, it may be only me but selecting your songs is a chore. The center button confirms the song and the upper buttons changes the list of music and a cobination of them all are used for modifications, but the reason for it being cumbersome is because 80% of the time you're standing on the center button while doing it all. I tried placing my feet horizontally between the arrows but the gap, depending on foot size and I have big feet mind you, is too small so you may still hit either button by mistake. And why oh why hasn't Andamiro gone the DDR route and show difficuty levels BEFORE you make the first selected song confirmation and have mod options instead of relying on button codes? But all of this (except the small gap thing) was originally in the arcade to begin with so if you can deal with it there, you're right at home here. The music? There's a craplaod!! The back of the box claims to have 101 songs in all (no beating around the bush with your "65+ songs and over 100 minutes of music!" DDR!), way more than individual US DDR releases and ITGs, but you have to unlock a majority of them of course. Some are right there for you to see on the song wheel but darkened along with the unlock method scroolling on the bottom of the screen. The list of music ranges from Banya songs, K-Pop songs, and Pop songs. As I said earlier, I experienced Exceed 2 recently and I think all of the songs from that version made it on this release (but feel free to correct me on this one). There's even a few old "new" songs not in the arcade such as "Rappers Delight", "Groove", and "The Name of the Game". The songs are of varying quality and some are an aquired taste *cough* "Deux" *cough*. In short, a song you may consider a "dud" may be another person's favorite. You may even find some songs that DDR used in a way (can you spot the song where "V" originated from?). All the songs in PIU fashion have their own videos varying from 2D animations and FMV and they are in execellent quality! Especially "The Name of the Game" video (the one with the nose for a head). It's like you're watching actual high resolution, DVD quality footage unlike with DDR's music videos which can be low-res and somewhat grainy. Sound quality is great since now I can easily hear song lyrics coming from my own room and not background noise along with it from other arcade games. Overall, if you're a fan of dancing games (and if you're reading this, you are!) and K-Pop, I reccommend this game a worthy buy. If you're not a fan because you're a J-Pop fanatic (IMO they both have their good and bad points)and four diagonal arrows with a center button without options for vivids scare you, well, it'll definately tide you over for the 27 days until the release of DDR EX2.