Generally the purpose of a
preview is to get players hyped up for a new game and to whet their appetites for more.
Harmonix has put out an interesting title that attempts to add a new wrinkle to the music
mixing game genre, but the preview for Frequency failed to get me tuned up for more
action. It appears as though the game has lots of promise, but its hard to see the
title having more than a passing interest from just the promo alone.
The demo disc
provides a tutorial, two easy and two hard levels to play in solo gameplay. The final disk
will add sixteen more levels and will include a "remix" section, multi-player,
and online play with up to three people. However, none of these other sections are
accessible on the demo. These options will be something to check out on the release, but
the solo gameplay, while fun, doesnt really have a lasting appeal.
Using your d-pad to rotate your "mixing board" 360 degrees, you
simultaneously attempt to copy the provided patterns with either the L1/R1-2 or the symbol
buttons to activate things like drums, synthesizer, bass, and vocals. When you mess up,
your energy bar gets depleted, and if you miss too many of the cues, you lose. The object
is to not only complete the patterns and activate the songs, but to keep the music going
as seamlessly as possible. The better you get at this, the more points you obtain. If you
finish the sections of the song and have a high enough score, you get a little bit of
freestyle time. However, once you finish a level and the "you won" flashes on
the screen, thats it. You must go on to the next level and play a new song. While
there is some satisfaction in finishing a level, I never felt the elation that generally
comes with kicking some booty on a game. It was fun, but not really all that intense or
nerve wracking. Just interesting.
The graphics are fairly simple in this game. The "tunnel" that you are
rotating through is meant to be like the inside of a computer/data link and you have
flashing lights, movie screen with a performers face on it, blocks that look like
Lego cityscapes, and psychedelic swirls that make you feel like youre flipping
between 2001 and the 60s.
So where do I see some strong points that would make me check out the full
version? First, Im curious how multiplayer and online gameplay would be handled. But
other than curiosity, I might be compelled to pick up the game because of the great
musical selections the game uses. The demo boasts songs by The Crystal Method and the Dub
Pistols, with the full version promising tons of more great new songs (by such artists as
DJ Qbert, Juno Reactor, Orbital, and Fear Factory). And heres the kickeryou
can play it like a CD in your home stereo. Now games sell for more than your average music
CD (understatement), but the music is good enough to at least rent this game when it comes
While this demo left me with more questions than answers, I will at least be interested
in checking things out when it gets released. I guess that means that although I have
reservations about how ultimately satisfying the game will be, the demo did its job in
making me curious to find out more. The music is definitely a draw. Yet I am hoping that
this latest offering will attempt to push the boundaries of the music genre game, and give
us something more meaty and challenging than just a "follow the leader" style
music lesson. We shall see.