The revolution is far from over, it seems. For a franchise that took forever to reach our shores, DDR has become one of the most prolific game series in North America, hitting every platform under the sun and getting a generation weaned on videogames up out of their chairs and jumping around like idiots.
But the series doesn't rest on its laurels, generally adding something interesting or at least new each year. Ultramix 4 features most of the play modes you'd expect, from the standard game quest to workout mode (where the game tells you how many calories you're burning and tracks your progress from one play session to the next), to a great selection of 10 different party games and a fantastic video edit mode, where you can splice up available background videos for a particular song for your own, unique presentation.
Just hope you're not prone to seizures or something, because the backgrounds in Ultramix 4 are some of the most glitzy, neon-laden, strobe-filled levels you'll ever see. They're actually very distracting.
The music selection in Ultramix 4 is vast, with 70+ songs and more on the way through Xbox LIVE downloads. It's definitely a bit more user-friendly than previous games too, with a good chunk of the tunes being more at the "beginner" level. But series fans shouldn't fret - you'll still find loads of songs on here for more advanced users as well. It's a really nice spread.
But unless you're a series regular - or you spend lots of time clubbing - chances are you're not going to recognize a lot of the songs in Ultramix 4. DDR's selection isn't nearly as mainstream as the stuff you'll find in SingStar, Karaoke Revolution, or the Guitar Hero titles. There are a few chart hits from Pussycat Dolls, Stray Cats, and Oingo Boingo, but more of it is electronica and house beats. Good music still, but not the stuff you usually find when flipping around the radio dial. Interesting to note is that four of the tunes are user-created, chosen in a contest earlier in 2006.
Ultramix 4 is one of the best in the series thus far. The balanced music library - complete with song-packs you can download from LIVE for $5 a pop - the great party games, decent quest mode and downright beautiful character graphics, there's not much a fan could ask for. The only real knock against it is that the basic premise is getting a bit long in the tooth.
Oh, and be sure you own at least one dance mat, or get the Ultramix 4/mat bundle. Playing DDR any other way just isn't worth it.