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Beats: A New Way to Experience your MP3 Collection

Sony Computer Entertainment Studios London recently unleashed their new rhythm based title “Beats“. What differentiates Beats from other rhythm titles such as Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) and Guitar Hero is its ability to play tracks from your personal MP3 music collection.

The game uses a beat tracking technology that maps button combos thus creating a unique gaming experience that revolves around your song selection. Each beat corresponds to a face button on your hand held, your goal is to successfully match the on-screen symbols with your PSP’s face buttons. The game also spreads out the symbols into three different directional sections (left, right and center) on the screen, which gamers must counter with the appropriate directional pad and face button sequences.

As you consecutively rack-up combos, your points multiplier meter, which is situated on the right hand side of the screen, goes up (x8 being your highest multiplier). The game will eventually give you glowing orbs that boost up your “Overdrive” meter (located on the left hand side of the screen). Once the meter has been filled up you can tap your left shoulder button and jump into Overdrive mode, which doubles the default points scheme (x16 being your highest multiplier).

The gameplay varies from song to song. It’s interesting to see how various musical genres are interpreted by the beat tracking technology. In other words, the more music you throw at the game the more fun you will have with it. It’s a unique and challenging way to experience your music.

Beats also offers a music creation game type called “Jamming.” In Jamming, you are given the opportunity to mix your own tracks using various predefined instruments. The game comes bundled with 11 tracks that each have their own sets of instruments. You jam along creating your own beats as you go while taping on the right shoulder button to switch through instruments. The tracks can then be recorded and shared with friends. Beats also includes a wireless multiplayer ad hoc mode which lets you create your own jam session with friends locally.

Beats also lets you customize your game to appeal to your tastes. The game offers over 70 background visualizations that interact with your gameplay. It would have been nice if you would have been able to switch through visualizations on the fly while playing the game, but the game offers enough variety to spruce things up when things get a little monotonous. You can also choose one of nine menu themes that match your song/artistic style. Hopefully Sony will offer up some extra visualizations and themes as downloadable content on the PlayStation Network.

Beats will change the way you listen to your music collection. Perhaps one day we’ll see the same type of beat tracking technology in other rhythm based games, thus giving users the ability to interact with their favorite tunes with ease. Beats can be downloaded either through the PlayStation Store on a Windows based PC (store.playstation.com) or on the PlayStation 3. Oh, and don’t let the mere $5 price tag fool you as Beats will definitely be one of those titles that you’ll keep coming back to. Dare I say Beats is one of the year’s most impressive PSP titles?

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