Price: $49,99 USD (Early Access)(Currently #39,99 USD at -20% sale)
Release Date: December 18th, 2019. (Early Access)
The Korean rhythm game series DJMax is landing on Steam. Titled Respect V, this is an enhanced port of the PS4 version of the game.
The gameplay is exactly the same as the PS4 version, with the same song list plus a handful of new tracks. Although the DLC packs are still missing, those will certainly come with time. This article will be dedicated to reviewing the differences between the two versions. I have previously written about DJMax Respect on our review, which you can read here. If you’ve come into this article with no knowledge of the game/series, or if you’re deciding which version of the game to buy, read that review first and then come back to this one.
First and foremost, Arcade Mode was replaced with the all-new Air Mode. Arcade Mode had the player play 3 consecutive tracks, which could be chosen from a reduced list of randomly selected songs, and your final score would be the sum of the scores of each of them. Air Mode will, instead, continuously play songs, back-to-back, with the option to either play or simply listen. It is also possible to leave comments on songs, for other players to read.
To accommodate this change, unlock progression is now tied to your level. Playing songs will unlock more songs, as well as every other unlockable in the game. Those are skins for notes, art, the videos for each song, cosmetics for your player profile, etc.
Furthermore, some songs received a new difficulty mode. This mode uses 8~10 keys, which can only be played on Keyboard. This should be a treat for the most hardcore players.
Because it is still an early access game, there are many features missing. There have been many complaints from players since release. Here are some of them.
While Air Mode is an interesting addition to the game, the removal of Arcade Mode was a step back for the series. Less features is never better. Arcade was interesting because it would give players a motive to play a wider variety of songs, rather than just their favorites all the time.
Next up is the lack of options in the game. There still isn’t an option to adjust latency and delay, which is absolutely necessary for any rhythm game. This alone is holding back quite a few players from trying out the new entry.
The game is secured by XIGNCODE3. This name should be familiar to those who have played Online Korean Games before. It’s a cheat-preventing software, but also acts as DRM. This means that the game cannot be played offline.
I’ve read up about a series of other minor issues on the game, ranging from wrong aspect ratios on videos to slowdowns when the the fever bar fills up, but have not experienced any game-breaking problems while playing myself. I can only assume that those issues are caused by specific graphic cards. Speaking of that, I was a bit disappointed to find out that my i7 Laptop with Onboard graphics(no GPU) cannot run the game at 60 FPS. There is hardly anything to process graphically on this game, it’s just video and a track with descending notes, yet my computer only gets 30~40 FPS at 1280×720 (minimal resolution) and only about 20 FPS at 1920×1080. No doubt that XIGNCODE3 is partly responsible for this, but I expected a little better.
Finally, the regional pricing for the game seems off in certain regions. My biggest complaint about the PS4 version was how the DLC was quite expensive and it never ever goes on sale. Respect V has regional pricing on Steam that makes it unaffordable for users in certain countries, more expensive than the PSN price for the console version in many cases. For example, in Brazil the game costs R$200 Reals(which is exactly $50 USD), but the PS4 version is R$153,50 on BR PSN.
Releasing the game as Early Access seems like a very obtuse idea but it doesn’t seem to be detrimental to its release. Respect V is still severely under cooked but it’s playable. It has a ton of content, the music variety is huge, and there is enough content both for casual players and hardcore players to enjoy.
There are some problems I take issue with, specially the use of external, always-online DRM, but it does seems that Respect V is going to become the definitive version of the game. As someone that really likes the PS4 version this has me upset a bit but I’ll get over it.