OSU! TATAKAE! OUENDAN 2! / Nintendo + iNiS / Nintendo DS

For Western gamers looking for more Elite Beat Agents action, the second installment of Ouendan might actually be a preferable import to the first. It has the improvements that were found in Elite Beat Agents, such as a rumble pack feature, wireless play off of one cart and ghost recording. The difficulty level is also a bit more gentle than that of Ouendan, though I'd say it's about on par with EBA. The easiest difficulty is the softest introduction there is to the series, as you now get one free 'extra life' per level, where if you drain your energy meter the commander pops in to refill it to just into the yellow and you are plopped back into the song at the point where you died.

The game takes place in the same city that the previous did, and a lot of the characters are recycled. In fact, I was a bit disappointed by how many resources and ideas from the first game were used again here - the entire first level is almost completely recycled from the first game, except you are now helping Kim Jong-Il get into college or get a job in America or something.

I was also kind of disappointed by the music. It's yet another selection of J-Pop I've never heard before, but this time out it leans much more heavily to the faux-hip-hop and light pop sound on the whole. I guess that's just personal bias, but I assume that this is the sort of sound that anyone who doesn't like "J-Pop" wants to avoid.

You also have more playable characters, as the theme of the game is that a rival dance team has shown up to challenge the original Ouendan squad, and you play as both as they divide up the city into halves to take care of. Some of the Elite Beat Agents characters were downloadable as multi-player characters as well in Japan, but I don't know how importers would pull that one off short of an Action Replay code or somesuch.

So, on the whole it has much sharper graphics, more modes of play and characters, and less punishing difficulty, yet somehow I found this to be the least interesting of the series. That may just be burn-out, having played so much of the other games just prior to coming into this one, so once again YMMV.

Videos :

* Gameplay video
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