|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Bemani||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
When Dance Dance Revolution: Hottest Party hit last year, most people were impressed with how it shook up the DDR formula. The core mechanics still involved stomping on different arrow symbols on a mat, but Hottest Party added hand motions to the mix. Instead of only arrows appearing onscreen, there would also be hand symbols that would come up, and you would have to waggle either the Wii-mote or Nunchuk in time with the music. The waggle aspect was a fun concept and helped the DDR franchise feel more like dancing rather than just stepping.
While this formula worked well last year, it feels a little stale this time around. It's not like the DDR franchise is particularly known for its innovation, but it was still nice to see something new last year, and many had hope that DDR Hottest party 2 would continue this progressive trend. However, Hottest Party 2 plays exactly the same way as its predecessor, which is a real shame.
The Groove Arena mode replaces last year's Groove Circuit as the main mode this time around. However this "new" mode has the exact same format as before. This mode entails you picking a character and leading them through different dance club "levels," each one more challenging than the previous. Once you go through the different levels, you'll be able to unlock more characters and start dancing all over again.
In addition to the main mode, there is also a Dance N' Defend mode, which is a little bit more interesting. This mode pits you against a friend (or the game's A.I.) and gives you different battle powers. After you hit a certain number of moves, you will be able to unleash a series of move blockers, which will require your opponent to think fast and clear the extra elements before they begin to fail the challenge.
In addition to these two main modes, there is also a training mode, free mode, and workout mode. These modes are all self-explanatory, but the workout mode stands out as being the most useful and playable of the three. The "calories burned" function is a little bit more intricate here than it has been in past iterations, as it breaks down the calories you burn through your hands and feet. It also tracks all the calories you burn during separate songs, as well as cumulatively.
One thing that I felt was really missing from DDR Hottest Party 2 was online capability. This game could have been amazingly fun to play online, especially the Dance N Defend battle mode. The game has local support for up to four players, but local multiplayer is increasingly obsolete in the modern gaming age. Games like Dance Dance Revolution Universe handled online multiplayer modes well, and I was very surprised that this game did not include this functionality.