By RAmpersaND 0 Comments
Reuniting with Elite Beat Agents was a unique experience for me because I played the game while waiting in lines at this year's PAX East. I didn't want to scare anyone by laughing hard at a pug turning into a samurai, but I chuckled anyway. And I didn't want to freak anyone out by crying when a little girl's father dies, but I got a touch misty anyhow. Really, it amazes me that this goofy little title can elicit such strong emotions, especially when it portrays itself as a game that's purely about rocking out.
The Good: The highlight of PAX East for me this year was a panel on localization: the process of translating Japanese titles for an American audience. Although the panel's presenters never discussed Elite Beat Agents, they did ask all of us in the audience to call out quality localization when we see it, and I'll be damned if I don't mention the quality of this game's localization. Rather than simply translating the J-pop-fueled Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, the team at iNiS completely re-invented that title to produce EBA. I can only imagine that it took a lot of hard work to keep Ouendan's quirky atmosphere and inspirational message intact!
The Bad: All of EBA's songs were recorded by cover bands, which is disappointing even though none of the performances are painful. The only other complaint that I have with this game is that its final stage seems to be one notch too challenging on each difficulty; for example, the final level on Easy (or "Breezin'") feels like it would be better suited for Normal (or "Cruisin'"), and the final level on Cruisin' feels like it belongs on Hard (or "Sweatin'").
The Stand-out Moment: Honoring the memory of a young girl's father on Christmas Day.
The Verdict: 8.5 (out of 10)