Having shared some of my favourite custom themes for the PSP in the previous post, I now bring you what I have to show for the last couple of days.
I don’t think it’s half bad for a first attempt, although perhaps I could have gone for a bit more consistency with the logos I used to mark options. And it is, of course, yet more proof that I need something more productive to do with my time.
Feedback is welcome.
It’s finally here! The sequel to the best cult game ever has turned up, and I’ve been exercising my hot-blooded rhythm soul with it.
Think of it as Ouendan with the improvements made to Elite Beat Agents (3D map, skippable intros, better graphics, saved replay ghosts, four player support) and, most importantly, that quirky Japanese humour and music that made Ouendan so great. I always thought that EBA was very good but lacked that something.
The best that the original had to offer like Kokoro Odoru and Loop & Loop are a high benchmark, and it’s not just out of laziness (OK, it is) that the Ouendan soundtrack has been in my car’s CD player for the best part of two years. While I’m so far not sure that Ouendan 2 will be the one to displace it, it beats the pants off Madonna and Avril Lavigne. Alas, nothing as immediately memorable as I’d been hoping but far from a bad selection.
All the characters from the original turn up, either as background characters or because they’re in trouble again, and Ryuta’s cheer squad is joined by a competing team who they stare menacingly at between missions. It of course makes very little difference because much of the game is spent looking at concentric circles and trying to decipher some headscratching storylines (what’s happening isn’t always as obvious as last time), and I’m sure it wouldn’t make much sense even if I could understand it.
It wouldn’t surprise me if many of Ouendan’s fans have bought this already so I’m waiting for the new chart data to see whether all the importers will make this one register significantly – it’s a DS game so I assume it’ll be somewhere on the Japanese charts regardless – and if you liked the original, even if you weren’t as obsessive as I was back in the day, it’s worth buying. Just make sure that you have the original first. No excuses.
Today is a good day. Elite Beat Agents may not have been quite as good, but with a touch of impenetrable Japanese weirdness and some more obscure J-rock I’m confident that iNiS will be able to capture lightning in a bottle again. If you still haven’t played Ouendan (or even EBA), shame on you. Atone!
My only fear is that they won’t come up with such a brilliant soundtrack – the original has been in my car CD player for months – but everyone who helped give this game such a massive cult following can pat themselves on the back. Whatever happens, they’ve outdone themselves with the title. Moero! Nekketsu Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm-Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 roughly translates as Burn! Hot Blooded Rhythm Soul! Go! Fight! Cheer Squad 2. Superb, but Ouendan 2 would have sufficed, wouldn’t it?
The almighty Ouendan’s sequel/remake/bastardisation (take your pick) may not manage those heady heights, but it certainly deserves a place on here. What could easily have been a cynical rehash of a cult classic kept what made the original great and managed to forge a personality of its own.
I don’t like it as much as I did Ouendan, possibly because that game came out of nowhere without any expectations whatsoever, and to be fair I was probably predisposed to not liking this as much. Inis did a great job of keeping it faithful to the style of Ouendan but just having English text and Madonna and Avril Lavigne over impenetrable Japanese and bands you’ve never heard of takes something away from it. I maintain that all an English version needed was a menu translation, but that’s probably why they don’t let me make games for Nintendo.
Despite the shortcomings, EBA makes the list because it builds on an extremely solid base and still does a good job at something that – let’s be honest – was never going to please all of the fans who imported Ouendan. It’s still a hell of a lot of fun and well worth picking up, especially if the original was a bit too “out there” for you.
I don’t think I really need to go over how much I liked 2005’s cult DS hit Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan (in case I do: 1, 2, 3) so to say that a whole new sequel excited me should go without saying. Well, having played a good few of its songs now, I can safely say that Elite Beat Agents is a great addition to the burgeoning series, even if some of the quirky charm is lost in translation.
The wacky sense of humour is still in there, to be sure, but I can’t help but feel that it loses something when what’s going on beyond what you can work out visually. Does it even need to be in English? Diarrhoea is a pretty universal language.
OK, so marketing is an obvious concern in that respect. CIA agents just sell better than male cheerleading squads for some reason, and for god-knows-what-reason people prefer Ricky Martin to L’Arc-En-Ciel. The music may have been more appealing if they’d gone for less obvious artists that could have been pulled straight out of thin air, and again just don’t have the idiosyncratic charm that the best stages of Ouendan had. I’d just pick any of the original songs over the embarrassment of having YMCA suddenly blare from my DS.
Regardless, the great fundamentals are identical and on that basis it still gets a firm recommendation. Just be sure to pick up Ouendan as well (handy Play-Asia affiliate link!) so that you won’t miss out. The original is still the best.
Not exactly confirmation, but Go Nintendo is reporting that someone from Nintendo of Europe has let slip that Ouendan, the sixth best game of 2005 (NTSC-uk thought similarly), will come to the UK. It’s a pretty safe bet that if that happened it would make it to the US as well.
Personally I hope that if it comes out outside Japan they leave the actual song sequences untranslated and only change the menus into English. Knowing what on Earth was going on might actually be detrimental to the quirky appeal of the game, so they should at least leave the option of keeping the crazy Japanese-ness intact.