It's been about six months since I posted about Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, so it was about time to post about the next game, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2. At its core DDR Extreme 2 is still the same DDR we all know and love, but there were some noteworthy improvements. The big change to the game was that it added online vs. play and leaderboards, although of course those features have become obsolete. The songlist seems noticeably better overall, featuring covers of pop hits as well as the typically rousing Konami EDM tracks. The game still supports the EyeToy mode of its predecessors (although without the lame mini-games), as well as the usual training, free play, marathon modes, etc.
The biggest change and what made me feel it was worth devoting a blog post to the game, is that the mission mode has been greatly enhanced. The previous game had a basic mission mode where you just picked a square on a grid with a challenge to tackle. In DDR Extreme 2 the mission mode is a huge map where you start off in the center, but then have the choice at each node of usually two options of challenges to pick from. As you progress you may unlock hidden nodes, and you can go back and tackle challenges you skipped at any time. As with the previous game, a lot of the challenges are just of the "don't mess up more than 4 times" type, but some of the challenges are incredibly pointless (e.g. "don't step on the down arrow at all"). The board is divided up into areas, and if you get to the end of a route (i.e. sequence of nodes), you earn a trophy. The first two areas are pretty straightforward and feature mostly Easy and Normal-level challenges, whereas the other sections feature much more difficult challenges.
Because of the better songlist and the much more fun mission mode, I would actually rank this as one of my favorite DDR games so far. One minor complaint I have is that to unlock even one character's alternate costume you have to accumulate a huge number of points (earned every time you play through a song), which is annoying. The only major thing marring my DDR experience is that my dancepads have gotten worn out really quickly. I've tried two different official dancepad types, and both of them started getting flaky pretty soon after I started using them. At the rate I'm going through dancepads, I may have to more seriously look into metal options, although it's such a big investment that I'm still not quite ready to make the leap.
Anyway, the next game in the series is Dance Dance Revolution Supernova, but from my short time with it, it looks like a big step back. I may skip around a bit instead, and check out some of the older or newer games instead. We'll see!