He’s leaving home, bye bye

Humans! I am away from home and work and, god willing, the Internet through Wednesday evening. I was presented with the opportunity to stay in a really nice hotel in the Sonoma area for free for a few days, and it seemed like a welcome opportunity to escape from all this “real life” nonsense for a little while — some much-needed downtime between the madness of GDC and E3. Don’t expect to hear from me for a while, and be nice to the other posters in my absence.

I notice that my Rhythm Heaven review has gone live over at 1UP. This is one of those cases where I’m choking back my urge to apologize for an article so people won’t grip about empty self-deprecation — but I really am a bit unhappy with how it turned out, even after revising and rewriting it several times. I blame Nintendo for not having the decency to release the original GBA Rhythm Heaven in the U.S., because if they had I wouldn’t have had to spend so much time explaining why the DS version is a mild disappointment. Everyone would have played the GBA game and would therefore realize how and why the sequel falls slightly short. Instead, I had to waste a lot of space explaining the difference between the two versions and breaking down a complaint leveled at a somewhat intangible failing, and now it seems like the review veers dangerously close to import elitist snobbery. But it’s not! It’s just that, having experienced the other version, I can’t knowingly brush off this version’s stumbles.

Actually, I guess I’ll just blame Kurt Kalata, since HG101’s critique of the game pretty much covered all the bases ahead of me, forcing me to write something different. Thanks for nothing!

That being said, it’s a quality game and you should buy it. So please do.

16 thoughts on “He’s leaving home, bye bye

  1. I assume that title is a reference to something, but it worried me at first glance only b/c there’s been way too many “bye bye”s from my favorite game journalists as of late. Enjoy your trip, hopefully we can hear about some of your gaming escapades when you get back.

    On an unrelated note, I visited the 8-bit cafe off of your and so many others’ recommendations. It was awesome. If I can get back up to Tokyo, I see myself hanging out there regularly.

  2. I agree almost completely with what you said in your review. I don’t mind the way the controls worked out, but I don’t think the music hits quite the same highs that the original reached.

  3. So would you have given the game the same grade still if the original had been released here? Seems like you gave it the benefit of doubt because of the lack of anything to compare it to. Your review did convince me to pick up a copy of the GBA game. I’ve always wanted to try it, and I think the next time I see a copy I will get it.

  4. I’d have given the DS game the same score regardless. There’s a pretty good chance I’d have given the GBA game an A+, though. I guess we shall never know.

    The title means you need to bone up on your Beatles.

  5. Totally went out and bought the GBA game today. I’d been considering picking one one of them up lately (since the US release of the DS title had me thinking about it and I’d never played either) but couldn’t decide which. So I guess this review of one pushed me towards the other! Though at this rate I’ll be adding Gold to my DS queue, too.

  6. I first played the DS game (import version) and and I had too much fun, played it through 4 months every day. After this i imported the GBA version and the official soundtrack. In my early play sessions with the GBA version I cant stop compare the 2 games and think that th DS version, that I played first, was much better. But now after some months with the GBA game, the 2 games divide the same place im my preferences.

  7. The GBA game is good but not perfect, so I’m expecting the DS version to improve on it.

  8. On the plus side, Play Asia recently restocked copies of the GBA game, which was getting pretty pricey to find for awhile, so at least anyone that’s curious can check it out.

  9. I love the GBA game, and imported the DS game but have yet to open and play it. Not sure if I want to buy the US version after hearing the poor english version songs… :(

  10. I understand what you’re saying, but most of us havn’t played the original. You reviewed the game as a sequel,which works, but the game as presented in the U.S. isn’t a sequel. It’s like reviewing Sonic 3 & Knuckles without the previous games existing for most people. I think you did the right thing, but could have faulted game more for what it slipped up on instead of comparing it to its’ prequel.

  11. Yes, fine, but the game’s shortcoming are best explained by contextualizing them in the GBA game’s successes. I could have gone even more abstract and conceptual in my criticisms, but there was no point in doing so when a concrete (if mildly obscure) example of this concept done correctly exists. “I think maybe this could have been executed better” is a less compelling argument than “This HAS been done better.” I just wish the better game were more accessible.

  12. How can I catch up on the Beatles when there’s too much Asian Kung-Fu Generation to listen to?!?

  13. Interesting enough, your review made me think, “Oh, instead of picking up this one I should go and see what I missed on the GBA”. I’m happy to say that your indirect recommendation has made me fall in love with this lost GBA classic (over here at least–does it sell well in Japan?)

    I think the conflict you had to deal with is always an interesting one that applies to rating all sequels. One can rate it as more of the same, or rate it as if this was one’s first time playing the series. Same conflict is going on right now with all the Chronicles of Riddick reviews.

    It’s always preferable, IMO, to write from the stance you know. So, you were right to say, “It’s just not as exciting or well done this time around” even if it seems like elitist snobbery to some.

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