Amp Blasts: Pentavision and PM Studios

Ok, today I have a hell of an axe to grind. It's no secret that I am a fan of rhythm gaming. Most recently, the DJMAX series of games was one of the reasons I chose to buy a PSP and not a Nintendo DS. However, the games themselves are having some major issues lately.

There have been continued issues with DJMAX Trilogy despite recent patches that have removed the awful autocorrect system, which was the PC release made by Pentavision. Now, the idea for this was to be a new rendition of DJMAX Online which was rather admirable. However, making online rounds consist only two players in a eight player room, and never going through with the original plans to do the tournament expansion pack that would have brought back the capability to have eight players in a round was the first issue. (One reason for this possibly never happening is that Forte Escape, the producer of this project, left Pentavision due in part to continued issues with the company.) Another issue was their decision to change the established fever system so that playing songs that are faster very difficult to score well on without justification. The biggest issue though is the immense amount of songs that have appeared in DJMAX Online and the Portable releases that are not in this release. Overall, unless they are planning another patch to add more songs this game was at best, a failed experiment to me.

Then, there was the fiasco with DJMAX Fever, the first US release in the series. At the last minute, PM Studios decided to change this to use the notoriously buggy Black Square Engine. As a result, the game had several bugs such as a song that would crash, one mission that was not playable, and various other errors in the game. Originally, a patch was supposed to happen to correct these issues. However, PM Studios opted to release a PSN version of the game which had these problems corrected and never fixed the UMD version. To say the least, that alienated plenty of fans.

Most recently however, there have been major issues with DJMAX Portable 3. When this game was announced, it was announced as a worldwide release which made quite a few people happy. Also, it was believed that since Ponglow and his team, who worked on the afforementioned mess that is DJMAX Portable: Black Square, would not be working on this release that it wouldn't be buggy and would be a good release. What we got instead was a giant mess of a release.

The level system for this release was nothing short of abysmal as it required a unjustifiable amount of grinding when compared to prior releases. Also, there were issues with the timing and inputs on the new Remix modes. The biggest issue though is that pattern unlocks that were in missions would not unlock correctly if unlocked by playcount, and would cause it to never be unlocked. It was cause of these issues that I stopped playing the game after the first two weeks of having it.

What makes this worse is the solution they have implemented. In Korea, the patch that corrects these issues was released this week and is only available through Playstation Network, which screws people over who cannot connect to the network. In addition, there is currently no news on what is going on with the US version of Portable 3 from PM Studios and if it will receive a patch. What makes this even more annoying is that last week's Japanese release of Portable 3 does not have these bugs. With this in mind, I have just about lost all confidence in PM Studios and Pentavision.

The one thing that I want to state to Pentavision is this. I know that Korea is the land of MMOs that get pushed out with bugs on a regular basis. As MMOs are online though, patches to correct bugs are pushed out quickly and painlessly. This shit does not work on consoles and is completely unacceptable. What you have effectively pushed out in the US can be considered a defective product. There's a little process called quality assurance that is supposed to take place and it is painfully obvious that you either are not doing this, or the quality assurance team at Pentavision have no fucking clue how to do their job correctly. If they can't do their job, hire some people who can!

In addition to this, Pentavision needs to stop whoring out DJMAX Technika 2 so much. Most people in the US will never get a chance to play Technika cause the American arcade scene is pretty much dead at this point. Seeing an official Pentavision account going up on twitter that only pushes this game is a slap in the face to people who have been playing since DJMAX Online such as myself. I know many people like Technika, but to me it is not true DJMAX so at least give some press to your other releases and what is going on with updates on other games.

As for PM Studios, they may want to take heed on this one. The issues with DJMAX Fever have me legitimately unhappy and made me very hesitant to even buy Portable 3. The lack of online score rankings (something regularly mentioned in the game itself BTW) at launch and almost three months later is unacceptable. Furthermore, I'm sick of the excuses given about Sony of America being on holiday or having a different process. This was supposed to be a WORLDWIDE release. If no patch is released then I will consider this a defective product and fully plan on asking for a refund on the Limited Edition Bundle of Portable 3 I purchased. I have been VERY forgiving about this, but my patience has just about ran out.