Hands-On: Gitaroo Man Lives!
A port of the legendary PS2 game arrives on PSP. We say if it's good or not.
Legendary; that's the only way to describe the saga of Gitaroo Man... in part because of its critical acclaim yet commercial failure (though that happens to too many games), it's varied but always excellent soundtrack as played by COIL, but also its subsequent rise to being a regular Ebay darling due to its devoted fans (e.g. anyone who's played the game) spreading the joy through word-of-mouth... and mostly just for the game's main song, "The Legendary Theme".
Anyone who has yet to get hold of a copy though, can now stop scrounging around for one off Ebay, and get hold of a new, improved version for PSP, Gitaroo Man Lives!. At least, that is anyone who doesn't live in America, as the game is currently only set for release in Japan and Europe.
For all intents this PSP version is foremost an exact port of the PS2 original, but additions will include at least 2 (but we were told, anywhere up to as many as 6) new tracks to play, and as the first batch of 10 were so varied in musical styles, it's anybody's guess as to what those new songs will be like (other than legendary, of course). The trailer gives a couple of clues, though. It also shows brief glimpses of the new (ad-hoc only) multiplayer modes: an expanded versus mode, and the new duet mode (which sounded like a cooperative and competitive mode to us).
There was some concern with the controls in the show floor build. We'd like to put it down to either the noise of E3 not letting us get into the flow of each song, or even blame it on our atrophied Gitaroo skills (which is nonsense, of course; or so our over-inflated egos tells us). However, we believe it's more a case that the analogue nubbin on the PSP is a touch over-sensitive for the exacting demands of Gitarooing, but we're confident this will be fine tuned before we get another go on the game. If not, it will be a major shame.
With this remake and the Western release of Ossu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (as Elite Beat Agents), it will hopefully see developers Inis getting the love that they deserve, and encourage them to bring us both proper sequels to Gitaroo Man and Ossu!, and original music-based gaming delights we've not even considered. We also very much hope that, due to the immense popularity of the game's soundtrack, that Koei/Inis will take our suggestion to heart to have COIL's music be playable via an in-game jukebox, for those times when you're not playing the game. Now that would be legendary.
Staff Writer, Kikizo.com