March 8, 2007 - With Sony projecting screenshots of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lara Croft onto a giant screen above its GDC booth and letting folks blast through Resistance Fall of Man on flat-screen TVs, it was pretty easy for the PSP title DJ Max Emotional Sense Pē to get drowned out on the showroom floor. Literally.
A music-based game, DJ Max could barely be heard over the din of excitement in the Moscone Center Thursday, but with the PSP's volume cranked up and players leaning in close, the title did its best to strut its stuff.
The game, set to be published by Pentavision, lets players pick a track from a handful of original pieces and add the beat on a palm pilot-looking device that eats up most of the screen, although animated music videos play in the background. Bricks drop from the top of the device and players tap buttons that correspond with the falling objects to add sounds to the track.
Doing well? You'll start racking up combos and eventually unleash "Fever" to see your points multiplied for correct combos. Pulling an Ashlee Simpson and stinking up the joint? It's game over and the reminder "practice makes perfect."
The gameplay seemed frantic and fun enough - I'm sure not being able to hear the songs and what each button press was doing pulled me out of the experience somewhat - but the real hook to DJ Max was the wealth of content on the UMD. The single-player game featured five difficulty levels that ranged from the four-button beginner mode to the Xtreme Challenge difficulty. Players can pop into "Collection" to see the percentage of the game they've completed and the awards they've unlocked - such as honors for only slipping up once in a song and completing a song without a blemish. A "Network Battle" mode was also on the main menu but unplayable at the event.
The biggest knock on the version I got to rock this afternoon was that the palm pilot dominated the screen and blocked the majority of video content for the song. Granted, there's rarely a break in the frantic brick-dropping that made up the gameplay, but I still wanted why that girl kept crying in "GET OUT" and why those blondes were so damn happy in "Bye Bye Baby."
Luckily, the folks behind DJ Max thought ahead. From the main screen, PSPers can go into "MV Edition" and watch the videos that make up the game without that pesky game screen getting in the way. If the videos aren't your thing but you dig the tunes such as "Smokey Quartz," Pentavision tossed in "O.S.T." The option lets you play the songs without their videos. Kind of like a limited MP3 player for the hardest of hardcore DJ Max fans.
Nine songs were available at the onset of the easiest single player mode and seven on the Xtreme Challenge, but the Collection screen had more than 210 slots available for unlocked tracks.
That's a lot of bricks to drop, but don't hold your breath in anticipation - no release date has been announced for DJ Max.