Dance Dance Revolution Supernova 2 «

Let’s face it: This franchise put rhythm games on the map with the simple and addictive play mechanic of stomping arrows on a dance mat in time to the beat of tacky club tracks. But after years of tired rehashes, it’s not surprising that this one only modestly improves on its predecessor.

Dance Dance Revolution: SuperNOVA 2 features more than 70 songs but tucks away about half of them as unlockable content. Though generic club tunes still form the mainstay of the franchise, more than a handful of familiar tracks like Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” and Fatboy Slim’s “The Rockafeller Skank” elbow their way into the collection. A few classic hits like a-ha’s “Take On Me” round out the package to give this sequel one of the better set listings of the past few years.

Click the image above to check out all Dance Dance Revolution Supernova 2 screens.

Though the standard arcade mode (where the player selects three songs sequentially) headlines the package, SuperNOVA 2 introduces the all-new Hyper Master mode, a series of increasingly difficult challenge sets, each culminating in a “boss battle” that doesn’t actually involve a boss. Each stage features a single song with one or more clear criteria such as a minimum letter grade, a percentage of the dance meter filled, or a max combo count. Players only need to clear the boss battles (which aren’t any different from normal stages aside from typically being more difficult) to advance to the next level, so thankfully most of the annoying songs can be skipped.

The heart of Hyper Master mode is the use of gameplay modifiers called modules. Support modules ease the difficulty of a stage at a point penalty while challenge modules toughen things up for a point bonus. While challenge modules remain wholly optional, most players will want to employ support modules to cancel out the gimmicks like reversed arrows in later stages or to lower the difficulty to a level where people with only two legs stand a chance at completing them. Even though the difficulty ramps up too quickly at times — with some challenges being outright frustrating even with plenty of support modules employed — the mode is still reasonably fun until you’re exhausted. That’s more than we could say about Quest Mode in other DDR games.

Advanced Mode houses a more traditional DDR experience featuring Course, Battle (where you use step modifiers to “attack” your opponent), Survival, Combo Challenge, and Endless modes. Except for the slightly confusing Battle mode, these all play pretty much as they did before, and you’ll need to unlock the last few. Edit Mode and Online Play return as well; unfortunately, we were unable to sufficiently test Online Play, partially due to network issues and partially due to there being a total of seven other players online (which should tell you something about how relevant it is to the overall package).

Click the image above to check out all Dance Dance Revolution Supernova 2 screens.

Arguably the best reason to invest in DDR: SuperNOVA 2 is Workout mode. Unlike some DDR games that just flip on a calorie counter, SuperNOVA 2 offers one of the most full-featured videogame workout packages on the market. Anyone looking to break a sweat can program a customized workout of up to 20 continuous songs, each with individual difficulty levels and options. Though the game is certainly a bit generous with its calorie counting, we found a well-chosen 20-song workout of difficult tracks to be just as tiring as 30 minutes of jogging on a treadmill (and much less of a drag). And even including the price of a PS2, it’s probably hundreds of dollars cheaper.

DDR: SuperNOVA 2 doesn’t bring much new to the table, but it does execute some of the tried-and-true series staples better than its predecessors. As a first DDR or a workout tool, it’s a great place to step in, but series veterans should consider it yet another slight tweak on a game that’s nearly played out.


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