DJ Max Portable 3

DJ Max Portable 3 is the latest entry in the successful Korean DJ Music Simulation series. The game retains its former style, but also adds in a new x.2T mode and a new batch of music.

If you weren’t a fan of the previous entries music, this one won’t convert you over.  It has a mix of styles ranging from Korean pop to R&B and Hip Hop. If this isn’t your style, you should look elsewhere. This is a music game after all.

The core gameplay remains unchanged. Depending on the mode chosen, you are presented with a number of columns that all represent a specific button. Notes are dropped from top to bottom, and when any given note hits the bottom, you press the button. The closer to the line you are, the better your score will be. It is a very simple concept. The modes range from 3 columns to 6, and this time around give you the option to add a table switch mode. In this “x.2T” mode you are given two side tables which you can switch between with your analog nub, adding depth to the gameplay.

The game offers two main modes of play: Arcade and Mission. The Arcade mode is set up in three stages. Each stage offers a different set of songs, starting easy and gradually gaining difficulty. After each song is successfully completed you are graded on your performance.  Each grade adds experience to your DJ and offers unlockables to enhance the gameplay.

Mission mode works differently. In it, you are given 70 challenges to overcome. They vary in goals, but are mostly set up to have you score a certain amount of points in a specific track, keep a combo going for so long, or  have a certain accuracy percentage.  Every challenge offers a special reward and also earns your DJ experience points.

Overall, the gameplay is polished and works the way it should. There are only a few complaints I have against it. The “x.2T” mode adds to the gameplay, but if you are playing with four or more columns it can be chaotic to control. You are constantly switching your left thumb from the D-Pad to the analog nub to switch tables, and doing so in a quick fashion can be hard to accomplish. There is a quite a bit of a gap between the two and the analog nub can be hard to find without looking. The cross button is used to trigger your multiplier, but can be difficult to press in the heat of gameplay and cause you to lose your current multiplier or even make you lose your combo during those chaotic moments. One other issue I have noticed is the pace of leveling up. You are given so many Challenges at the beginning, but the majority of the Challenges are unlocked by leveling up your DJ. The game offers a healthy amount of songs (about 40), but they can be tiring after playing them over and over to get the level up.

Solid gameplay on top of the mostly fabulous soundtrack (each with their own unique background video animation) make up for the few flaws and make this game a fine addition to your PSP lineup. It makes as an excellent time killer between those down periods of the day.  There are plenty of unlockables to gain and the different modes will keep you coming back for a more.

Highlights

–          Solid Gameplay

–          Excellent Soundtrack

–          Beautiful Video Animations

–          Plenty of unlockables

Drawbacks

–          Chaotic controls

–          Tedious leveling system

Grade

B

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