Video Game Review: DDR Universe 2
Hello, and welcome to the second edition of the DDR Hardcore feature. I decided to write the DDR Universe 2 review now, so enjoy! If you were anxiously waiting for this game, and love techno, you will not be disappointed!
Players: 1-4 Online
MSRP: $49.99,$69.99 (With Dance Mat)
Shake your body to the all new Dance Dance Revolution!
Or should you?
Dance Dance Revolution Universe 2 has been released for the Xbox 360, but this time with a trick. Only the dance mat bundle version is available in retail stores at the moment, so what is the point in spending an extra $20 for another mat? In response, the new mat has one new feature, your wireless headset will now work with your mat! That is indeed wonderful news, as the people online in the previous iteration were usually very quiet, since the headsets did not work with the mat, unless one was using a controller.
The number ‘2’ holds sacred ground for me, as DDR Ultramix 2 on the original Xbox has been my favorite DDR all these years. So when DDR Universe 2 was released, I had high expectations for this game. For those who have previously played DDR Universe, you already know that your original Xbox songpacks will not work, but furthermore, not even your DDR Universe downloadable songs will work. That came as a shock to me, since the DDR’s on the original Xbox allowed the songpacks to be carried over on other DDR games- provided they were of a later iteration.
So exactly what is new to this DDR besides a songlist? Well, there is a new mode called Freestyle mode, which allows players to dance to arrows however they like, which is great for beginners. Quest mode has received an overhaul, in which you can create a personal dancer, where you travel through five fantasy islands trying to become the ultimate dancer. The best feature added to Quest mode is the Shop, where you can purchase all the songs and video clips, along with hairstyles and clothes for your dancer. This makes Quest mode less frustrating, as one will never be afraid of missing out on something.
You are probably wondering how the songlist is. Well, in my musical opinion, I believe this is one of the best songlists ever released on Xbox consoles. When you dance to songs such as EternuS, Synergy, and Take Me Out, you will be happy that you purchased this game. Granted, many of these songs have been released on previous DDR iterations, especially the ten downloadable songs, which is a shame. I do not like paying for songs that I already have! Overall, DDR Universe 2 has one of the best music songlists ever, and will keep you grooving for a long time.
Online is another story. I could not find a single match over the last few days, it seems to be a ghost town at the moment. Sadly, the online options have not improved at all from DDR Universe, which is very frustrating. Why is that DDR Ultramix 2(known as the only xbox DDR game to have 16 player tournament mode) and DDR Ultramix 3 and 4, which have an awesome matchmaking system- are not on DDR Universe 2? Furthermore, one can not even upload their own custom dance steps. I find it sad that the older iterations have much better online modes then the next-gen ones.
Hopefully, Konami will look back on the original Xbox DDR games and see why they were so wonderful. But until then, DDR Universe 2 is your best choice for those who love dancing games. Maybe Pump It Up will come to Xbox 360 someday…..
Presentation: DDR Universe 2 goes oriental, as noticed by the font and online themes. Easy maneuverability through the menus. Not much different than from DDR Universe. No complaints here. 
Gameplay: With one new mode added, Freestyle- along with many other modes to choose from- there is plenty of game here. The Quest mode is a bit easier, which is great. The annoying “do 30 freeze arrows” or “45 jumps” have been reduced. Furthermore, the challenge mode is back once again for those looking to be tested. Unfortunately, there is a slight bit of freezing every once in awhile- but it is much more improved over DDR Universe. [9.0]
Graphics/Sound: Graphics in Quest mode has been spruced up, along with the video clips, making this the most graphically advanced DDR yet. If you love anime, you will be in heaven. The music in this game is amazing, and has one of the most grooving soundtracks ever. There is a song for everyone in this DDR. The announcer is slightly annoying, but luckily one can lower the volume. 
Value Factor: For DDR pros like me, it will probably take you 7-9 hours to complete Quest mode. There are over 70 songs to choose from, with many unlockable songs and gameplay modes. Hopefully more downloadable songs will be released in the future. The variety and quality of songs justify a purchase, or a rental for those who are curious. [9.5]
Bottom Line: Not much new in this version, and unfortunately the online options are terrible, as it has not changed at all from DDR Universe, meaning you can not change the speed of the arrows, or see who is available to match up with. Furthermore you can not even upload your custom dance steps. However if you only play DDR offline then those complaints do not matter. If you are a hardcore DDR fan, then you will be pleased with the song choice, for others- rent first, and if you can see yourself playing this game from time to time, then purchase it. The songs alone are worthy of spending the money.
+ Awesome songlist, improved Quest mode, and Freestyle mode a bonus for beginners
– Online options are pathetic, slight freezing at times, nothing really new
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