Boogie PlayStation 2
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Originally a Wii game, Boogie has now been brought to the PlayStation 2. In some respects it's rather a curious decision as the Wii version of the game relied on the motion-sensing capabilities of the Wii remote. It's also more curious when you learn that the PlayStation 2 version of the game doesn't even come with a microphone. That's not to say one isn't needed however. On the front of the box you'll notice a small graphic that says 'Compatible with SingStar USB microphones.' Of course that could potentially mean it's going to be practically impossible for deaf gamers to play. As with the Wii version however, it's not actually that much of a problem. Whether you'll already have the microphones is another matter entirely however.
Boogie allows you to dance and sing to a whole collection of songs. In addition you can also create your own video clips and apply effects to them. The modes on offer are Story, Karaoke, Dance, Party, Video Maker and Practice. These modes are pretty self-explanatory but it’s worth mentioning that the Practice mode is essentially the tutorial mode and it's here that you'll have the basics of the game explained to you. Before you do anything though, you'll have to create a profile and play through a tutorial. To do this you'll select one of the game's five characters, give them a name and customise the clothing, accessories and hairstyle etc. You can't create your own character from scratch however. The character you choose and name is the character you'll see in every mode aside from the Story mode.
The Story mode allows you to pick one of the game's characters and play through a handful of challenges that require you to dance or sing. What you'll notice right away is that there's not much of a storyline here. In fact it's just a few lines of dialogue to move you from one challenge to the next. Most gamers won't play through the Story mode for entertainment. In fact the only reason to play through the Story mode is to unlock an assortment of items with which you can customise your character. Of course you'll also earn tokens in this mode (and in other modes) that will allow you to purchase additional songs, outfits and stages.
In the Wii version of Boogie you had to swing the Wii remote about in order to dance. In the PlayStation 2 version things have had to be changed and here you'll simply press either the square, circle or X buttons to dance in addition to using the left analogue stick (or directional buttons). To move forward, backward, to the left or to the right, you'll have to hold down the triangle button and use the left analogue stick. To do the combo moves you'll have to hold down the L1 button and use both analogue sticks. Once your Boogie meter is full you can hold down the R1 button and move the analogue sticks to strike a pose. All of this is a little more involved (and a little more precise) than in the Wii version. It also makes the dancing much easier and you can earn high scores without even really trying.
During a dance you'll see various items that can be picked up. Some of these are multiplayer specific items (the game allows two players to compete simultaneously). There are items that can multiply the score you earn for 10 seconds, fill your Boogie Meter with Boogie Power and give you 5, 10 or 25 tokens to spend in the game's shop. Multiplayer specific pick up items include the Reversomatic, which inverts your opponents controls for a short duration and Freeze Burn, which makes it impossible for your opponent to move for a while.
It's perfectly natural to think that having to sing in the microphone is an aspect of the game that's going to give deaf gamers problems. In normal circumstances it would do but that's not really the case in Boogie. Like in the Wii version, you don't have to sing at all. I successfully passed the singing challenges by blowing into the microphone. An arrow icon indicates if you're getting the pitch right whilst singing (or blowing etc.) so there's absolutely no need to hear what's going on in order to play the Karaoke events. The song lyrics are shown on screen but their worth is questionable if you're just blowing into the microphone.
In addition to the singing and dancing you can also create your own video clips of your character in the Video Maker mode. Essentially you have a choice of dancing, dance and singing or dance then sing. Once you've completed your dancing/singing or dancing you'll have the options of applying various video effects and adding text to the recording. The whole thing works fairly well, although it's nothing more than novelty value and you certainly won't bother with the Video Mode much once you've had a dabble a couple of times.
Boogie was a good looking Wii game and the PlayStation 2 version looks almost as good. As you can see from the screenshots, the game has a unique almost 3D, cel-shaded look to it. The characters all look good and animate quite nicely as they are moving around on the dance floor. The general performance of the game is fine but the load times are noticeably longer on the PlayStation 2 version, which certainly comes as no surprise.
We've already mentioned various aspects of Boogie's suitability for deaf gamers and it's surprisingly not that bad. An on screen meter gives you a visual representation of the beat you need to keep. An arrow icon indicator shows you if you're getting your pitch right during the karaoke sessions. You don't need to be able to hear or sing as you're shown on screen when you need to sing (or blow). The story dialogue is text only (with some gibberish speech thrown in) so you'll be able to follow exactly what's going on. In fact it's not bad at all for deaf gamers. The tutorial you're forced to sit through isn't subtitled, but it's possible to work out what needs to be done.
Boogie probably isn't a game that deaf gamers are going to be interested in but there's certainly nothing here to cause them any real problems. Of course whether you would want to purchase a game simply to blow into a microphone (or tap on it) is another matter. At least you wouldn't have any problems playing the game with a hearing friend. Like the Wii version, it could have been a lot better. In all honesty there's not a lot of challenge here and it's quite feasible that most will tire of the single-player game after a few short hours. The PlayStation 2 version is obviously a different experience because of the change in the controls but it's still not a great experience unfortunately and it's still far too easy.