|I am constantly looking
for new gaming experiences. Sure, the systems have gotten more advanced, but the increased
processor power has had little effect on the kinds of games we play. For instance, I was
playing Rogue Leader on the Gamecube the other day, and I found myself both in awe and a
little underwhelmed at the same time. It was incredible to look at, but it was pretty much
like any other space shooter Ive played-- only bigger. Every time I get a new game
and pop it into one of my systems, Im hoping to see something that Ive never
seen before. This is what happened when I booted up Frequency for the first time. The
problem that Im facing as a reviewer is that this game defies description. Frequency
has no gaming precedent that Im aware of. Its a completely new experience.
I know that just because something is new doesnt necessarily make it interesting or
entertaining. Thats just not the case with Frequency. The pace of the game starts
out easily enough. The first few levels of Frequency almost give you a false sense of
confidence. To the untrained, it might seem that the game is too easy, but the more you
play, the more you will get a sense of the underlying strategies that youll have to
master in order to really maximize your scores for each level.
Ive tried explaining the game to some of my friends, but I can never find
the right words to effectively lay out the game. Invariably whenever I try to outline the
game, I find myself tapping my foot in time with a drumbeat in my head.
Your goal on each level is to activate as many tracks as possible on a given song as
youre flying through psychedelic corridors that look a little like Tron on acid.
Already, youre saying, "I dont understand." No review that Ive
read has really been able to convey what this game is, but Im determined to do my
best. As youre flying down these corridors, icons representing notes or beats pass
under your activator. Youre goal is to press the corresponding button on
your controller to activate the music. After youve activated enough notes in a row,
the entire track begins to play. Are you still with me? Once one track has been activated
you then move onto another. For instance, after youve activated the drum track, you
might go on to activate the vocals or the bass. The game also has some free mixing modes
as well as multi-player options. The multi-player aspect of the game could make it one of
the ultimate party games.
Youre not going to
find a review that does a better job of describing the game. Even the manual that comes
with the game failed to give me any real sense of how the game is actually played. You
need to sit down with it for about fifteen minutes to get a real sense of how things work
in this world. However, youll probably be in front of the game for a lot longer than
fifteen minutes. Once you get a feel for the controls, it becomes really hard to put down.
"Just one more song," youll say to yourself over and over again. It feels
a little like Tetris, but at the same time, its nothing like Tetris.
Graphically, the game isnt going to wow anyone. Its psychedelic corridors are
secondary to the gameplay. The graphics serve the gameplay. Theyre entertaining
enough without being too distracting from the musical focus of the game. For the first
time in a while we have a game that isnt obsessed with wowing gamers with its visual
splendor. This is a game where it is all about the game play; it could have the graphical
prowess of Pong and Id still be hooked.
Theres no franchise to build on
with this game. This is the very beginning, and I hope that it really catches on. I tell
everyone that I talk to about this game because it is one of those rare titles that has
the potential to appeal to everyone from the die hard gamer to someone whos never
picked up a joystick in their life. The only real deterrent to the game might be the
music. Personally, Im still stuck in mid-eighties power ballads and the stylings of
Crystal Method or No Doubt dont really appeal to me. Even though I wasnt a
real fan of the tunes, it didnt keep me from loving the experience. I do hope that
we see future versions of the game that expand into other genres of music. I would kill
for a classical version of Frequency. In my head, I could just see me activating sections
of Beethovens Fifth.
My only reservation about recommending this game lies in peoples general
abhorrence of all things new and challenging. The other night I was watching Rush Hour 2,
and I couldnt help thinking to myself, "This exercise in mediocrity was one of
the most successful films of the year." Unfortunately, most people want to be told
the same stories again and again, and they want to play the same games until the end of
time. If youre up for a new experience, if youre as bored with platformers as
I am, give this game a try. You wont be disappointed.
Jason Frank (01/24/2002)
gameplay; great for music fans and makers; highly addictive.
Downs: The newness and musical focus won't appeal to everyone.
Platform: PlayStation 2