In the Groove / PS2 : 4 of 5
All of you know that I'm a DDR junky, since I play nearly everyday. There's nothing better than playing a fresh mix of tunes, since it's so much fun learning new steps and unlocking new songs, so I was really excited when I heard about In the Groove, a DDR "clone" financed by RedOctane (who makes the Afterburner platform that I love so much). On the surface, In the Groove is just like DDR, but essentially is designed by experts with experts in mind. So, there are lots of high-difficulty songs, and new inventions such as mines (steps you have to not make!) and hands (three steps at once, meaning you have to bend down and hit the arrow with your hand!). There are also tons and tons of arrow modifiers, which are all sorts of ways to make the arrows do tricks to confuse the player (such as spinning, accelerating, or waving and drifting around). I've never been a fan of modifiers in DDR, but they actually are pretty fun on In the Groove! The bad news is that this game has some of the slowest load times I've ever seen, and that can be a real pain. The solution is to play Marathon Mode, which includes a large selection of 4-6 song courses with smooth transitions (and also include random arrow modifiers). There are definitely some great songs in the mix, but overall, I think DDR is just more "fun", since it has a sense of humor - In the Groove seems to be a little too stoic, which sounds funny, but it's true. However, that's not going to keep me from playing it, and I hope they come out with more mixes in the future!