Audition (Season 2) Review – Get “served” online!
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Everybody loves to dance. Or at least, everybody loves to try and dance. For those that want to bust some moves without busting their hips in the process, games such as “Audition” will allow them to do just that. Audition Season 2 is an online multiplayer casual rhythm game produced by T3 Entertainment. You’ll play as either a male or female dancer against other players while grooving to some of today’s popular dance beats on your way to becoming digitally famous.
When starting out, creating your character is pretty basic as there’s only a few hair, clothing and shoe styles to choose from. After creating your character, you’ll be given a quick tutorial that will get you up to speed in less then 10 minutes. After the tutorial, you’ll have access to the Audition Town menu including the Item Shop, the Audition Studio, the “FAM” office for players to join or create FAM groups, which are Audition’s version of guilds, the rankings list, and the dance hall for creating and joining dance battles.
“Welcome to Audition Town, where all your dancing dreams come true”
The main gameplay in Audition is similar to “Bust-a-groove”, an old 989 studios published game made for the Sony Playstation (and when I mean similar, I mean it plays almost exactly the same as.) Players will press arrow keys corresponding to the order shown on screen and press the spacebar key before the 4th beat of every song. Certain moments or modes while playing allow you to “freestyle” your key inputs by pressing up to three keys of your choice. Nailing the 4th beat on every turn requires a good amount of timing (especially on songs with high beats-per-minute) and getting perfects multiple times in a row will earn you tons of points.
From time to time, the game will throw you a few curve balls with red “chance” arrows that require you to press the opposite of the key shown. In certain modes, players that are skilled or daring enough to deal with chance arrows can switch on the tab key and play with all the arrows set on chance. I wasn’t very good at playing with chance set on, but those that can handle it will be able to rack up high scores to blow past the competition or make huge comebacks.
Audition features tons of different game modes that all use the same core game play mechanics such as beat rush, battle parties, club dance, ballroom dance and my personal favorite, b-boy mode.
“These suckas are getting SERVED!”
Audition has game modes that use completely different game play mechanics such as one-two parties and beat up mode. Using beat up mode for an example, arrows fly towards the middle of the screen and you must time your arrow presses with each one on screen, similar to games like Dance Dance Revolution or Pump It Up. You can enjoy beat up mode even more and hook up a dance pad to your PC if you know how to use external programs such as Joy2Key. It just goes to show you that there’s a style of play for everyone in Audition.
“It’s like I’m really playing Pump it Up!”
The presentation used for Audition gives players the feeling that they’re stars of a music video. The opening of each dance battle showcases the players and the song they’re about to dance to, all on “Audition TV”. Since this is a music game, the soundtrack is filled with dance (of course), house, pop, club, and many other genres of music to groove to. Audition also features tons of licensed songs from today’s popular artists such as Lady Gaga, Sean Kingston, Fall Out Boy and more.
Audition’s overall visuals are ok, but are filled with blurry textures on just about everything and hefty amounts of jaggies on models making Audition feels like some kind of bargain bin title, not to mention that the faces on each player model are static and never animate, which looks silly. On the upside, the developers put a lot of work into having the player models dance throughout each song with the use of motion capture for animation. You are able to make your character do the moonwalk, the robot, one-two step, pop n’ lock and tons of other dance moves. While almost all the dance moves look motion captured, the finishing moves look terribly sketchy and un-lifelike.
My favorite thing about Audition is the game’s item shop. There are tons of outfits you can choose from so you can make your dancer look his/her best. As a nice bonus, most of the items you can buy with cash are purely for cosmetics, meaning you can play through the entire game without buying any cash shop items and still be a great player, which I feel that more free-to-play games should be doing.
“Just about everything in the item mall is just for show”
The collected songs used in Audition are pretty nice, but some songs have censored or removed lyrics that can completely throw off the feel of the song. I know the game is trying to maintain an E+10 rating, but there really should be an option for players over the age of 18 to filter lyrics on and off. Not being able to hear the lyrics to some of the songs (such as Audition’s “New York” song which is a remix of 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” with lyrics by Tupac) was kind of a deal breaker for me.
Outside of beat up mode and one-two party, the feeling of rhythm in Audition is quite awkward since the only real moment where rhythm is required was for nailing the 4th beat using the spacebar. Everything leading up to getting the 4th beat just feels like random button mashing. I will admit that players inputting those arrow keys on songs with high beats-per-minute and nailing multiple perfects is quite masterful.
One last thing I should add: There were some noticeable synchronization/lag issues that would make arrows go blank on screen. I’m not sure if it was caused by my own net connection, but it definitely screwed up a couple of my rounds.
Overall, Audition’s game play is a bit simple but exciting enough to keep you going. The community is decent and most players will enjoy dancing with you whether they win or lose. There is also great support from Redbana with tons of updates, events and community involvement. If dancing and music is your thing, you might want to consider signing up for Audition. (Signing up for Audition… Get it? GET IT?)
– Simple, yet exciting rhythm based game play
– Tons of game modes and some game modes with alternative game mechanics
– Fair and balanced item shop for paying and non-paying players
– Good and various selection of dance music
– Nice motion captured dance animations
– Muddy visuals
– Censored/removed lyrics from some songs
– Possible lag/synchronization issues.