Elite Beat Agents

Elite Beat Agents

The formula established by Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan is a promising one that could use some iteration and improvement. Elite Beat Agents doesn’t really take the initiative on that, so the only things that separate it from its predecessor are a Western soundtrack paired with a new set of increasingly insane scenarios. That’s arguably enough, given that the first game never made it out of Japan, but the number of little frustrations is difficult to ignore. The constant drain of the player’s life bar is a punishing design choice, especially since the interface does a poor job of visually conveying upcoming rhythms, and the markers jump between vocals and instruments without warning. Furthermore, the required precision isn’t a great fit for wacky multiplayer, and the sentimental 80s ballads aren’t a great fit for…anything, really. It’s worth noting that despite these things, I still played on until midway through the highest difficulty. Memorizing and pulling off a complex combo is amazingly satisfying thanks to a combination of excellent sound design and accurate touch controls, and the accompanying scenarios are frequently hilarious and sometimes surprisingly moving. If the gameplay could be cleaned up, this could be an outstanding franchise.

6/10
6/10

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