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Beat Hazard Ultra Review

This is a discussion on Beat Hazard Ultra Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; Beat Hazard Ultra Review by Gauss Basic Information: Developer: Cold Beam Games Publisher: Cold Beam Games North American Release Date: ...

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    Beat Hazard Ultra Review

    Beat Hazard Ultra Review
    by Gauss


    Basic Information:
    Developer: Cold Beam Games
    Publisher: Cold Beam Games
    North American Release Date: 10/19/2011
    European Release Date: 10/19/2011
    Trophies: Yes, 1 | 2 | 11


    Overview

    Beat Hazard Ultra is a unique twin-stick shooter on Playstation Network whose environment actually changes dynamically with the music you have loaded on your PS3. If you don’t have a lot of music, Beat Hazard Ultra has a built in repertoire of techno tracks to destroy wave upon wave of enemy by.

    Gameplay

    Beat Hazard Ultra is a twin stick shooter. In other words one joystick controls your craft’s movement and the other controls the direction you’re shooting. Beat Hazard Ultra’s unique premise is that the game dynamically changes with the music featured. The primary problem is this feature doesn’t work particularly well. Yes the graphics change with the music and the enemies seem to pulse and move with the beat of the music, but everything else seems to be somewhat random. The results are ultimately all cosmetic changes.

    Once you strip out this completely cosmetic change, Beat Hazard Ultra is a competent twin stick shooters. The dynamics of the gameplay work well, and power-ups and score multipliers come in a logical fashion that rewards skill. Like many twin stick shooters this is the core focus of the game, playing the levels and scoring as many points as you possibly can. Doing this is somewhat enjoyable and everything is fast-paced and easy to pick up.

    Singleplayer



    Many of the game modes are pretty fun even though not unique

    The singleplayer for Beat Hazard Ultra is split into 4 gameplay modes. The first is your standard affair where you play the songs and kills waves as they come. The second is a boss attack mode where songs play and bosses come in waves. These are pretty standard for twin stick shooters and are very well done here. The last two are where the game gets its unique twist and that’s in survival and chill out mode, both of which share a similar premise. Basically your songs are continuously played and enemies are continuously generated.

    The difference is in survival mode you have a fixed number of lives and power-ups, your goal is to survive as long as you possibly can. Chill Out mode is unique in that you have infinite lives and some very over-powered abilities and you pretty much just play for as long as you like killing things to your own soundtrack. These are the two modes where the game really stands out, they are a somewhat unique and enjoyable experience in their own right.

    My real problem with singleplayer is there is absolutely no sense of progression, yes you can set a difficulty, but each song is effectively its own level without any logic or connection between them. Couple that with the somewhat random nature of enemy spawns/waves and the end result is a completely wonky difficulty curve.

    This game has no sense of progression like Super Stardust HD where each level builds on the previous and you get a real sense your skills are developing and being challenged. BHU feels like a game where each level is thrown out there on its own.

    Multiplayer

    The multiplayer for Beat Hazard Ultra is pretty standard affair, there are online leaderboards and your standard multiplayer modes. It is nice to see a twin stick shooter embrace the online nature of current generation gaming and pushed this classic gameplay into the modern arena.

    Problem is nothing is special about the multiplayer, there is nothing that really makes it feel rewarding or pushes it forward. It just highlights the little things other titles in this genre do.

    Technical

    To be frank, this game is ugly. The enemies and ships look completely separate from the environment and unfortunate the choice of having the weapons fire and environment change dynamically with the music occasionally makes for confusion when playing as to what is enemy fire, what is yours, and what is the background.


    There is no unique visual style

    This left me really disappointed in Beat Hazard Ultra because there is a lot of potential here for some really unique visuals. A simple and concise visual style would have completely changed this game, instead this feels like a cookie-cutter title, nothing fits or feels in place. The ships don’t feel apart of the environment. Almost as if quite literally you have a 2D background and a 2D foreground that have no shared connection or interaction, similar to having actors on a blue screen with a nonsensical background pasted up. Whats worse is the addition of the dynamically changing environment actually can get distracting and cause several very frustrating deaths because its occasionally difficult to discern background from foreground.

    Once again this aspect really makes higher quality titles like Super Stardust HD really stand out simply because some of the corners cut make this game feel so bland.

    Trophies

    Beat Hazard Ultra is a painful 100%. They key to getting 100% is to get every in-game challenge completed, and many of them are ridiculously lengthy and quite a few are very difficult. While typically I’d say this adds a lot to the game by adding challenge, the problem is the core game isn’t fun.



    Closing Thoughts

    Beat Hazard Ultra represents the phrase: A good idea executed poorly. By no stretch of the imagination is BHU a bad game, it’s a very competent twin-stick shooter with a nice premise. The problem is the graphics aren’t anything interesting and can actually be distracting, and the gameplay isn’t nearly as deep or well done as a game like Super Stardust HD. Ultimately Beat Hazard Ultra left me wanting to go play that game.


    Gameplay: 6/10
    - It’s a well done twin stick shooter, although nothing is really special.

    Singleplayer: 5/10
    - The difficulty curve makes this game little more than a collection of random levels assigned by your music.

    Multiplayer: 5/10
    - Standard multiplayer for a standard game.

    Technical: 6/10
    - A mixed bag, its very nice that the game actually changes dynamically to your music, but its still pretty ugly.

    Overall: 6/10 Tolerable
    Last edited by Gauss; 11-15-2011 at 06:30 AM.
    Gauss's Piracy Uncertainty Principle: When you pirate a game, that act inherently changes the results of what is to come after your pirating. You can't make any statement with any certainty regarding what would have happened had you not pirated the game.


    Gauss's Rating Rationale:
    0-1: A game whose very existence is abhorrent to all things creative and intelligent.
    2-4: A just plain bad game.
    5-6: A game that has alot of mistakes, but is atleast playable and has some enjoyable sections. Good for a rent.
    7: An average game, should be played at some point
    8: A good game, should buy at some point
    9: A great game, day-one purchase
    10: A game that goes above and beyond the generation, its transcendent.

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    Thanks for the review Gauss, i've been looking into this myself as someone got me intersted.


    It's a shame it has nothing much to offer, I mean the graphics and art would be one of the key features of this kind of game, but damn straight, it is really unpleasant to stare at.

    "sigh", gunna have to leave off another PSN title, haven't had a decent one in ages


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    Quote Originally Posted by HYSTΣR!A⋆➒➑ View Post
    "sigh", gunna have to leave off another PSN title, haven't had a decent one in ages
    Have you played Limbo or Stacking? Those two are high up on my list for PSN titles this year.
    Gauss's Piracy Uncertainty Principle: When you pirate a game, that act inherently changes the results of what is to come after your pirating. You can't make any statement with any certainty regarding what would have happened had you not pirated the game.


    Gauss's Rating Rationale:
    0-1: A game whose very existence is abhorrent to all things creative and intelligent.
    2-4: A just plain bad game.
    5-6: A game that has alot of mistakes, but is atleast playable and has some enjoyable sections. Good for a rent.
    7: An average game, should be played at some point
    8: A good game, should buy at some point
    9: A great game, day-one purchase
    10: A game that goes above and beyond the generation, its transcendent.

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    I agree the gameplay is pretty basic, but with it flowing to the music. It's very enjoyable. I personally love this game and suggest it to anyone that is into the Super Stardust/Asteroid style gameplay. But the trophies are definitely brutal.

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    do you guys have a bad monitor/tv or what? i have a full HD led monitor really good depth and the game looks amazing. but maybe thats just my opinion.

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    I'm with bobo, I thought this game looked gorgeous. Yes, there were a few times where I'd get the gunfire on screen confused, but that was my own fault. Once I learned how to differentiate enemy fire from my own fire and the background noise of the environment, I was playing almost every song on Insane just to challenge myself.
    And there was an official blog by one of the game devs on the UK PS.Blog, where they actually stated that because the game creates the enemy waves and attack patterns from your music, that each song will be completely random the first time you play it. But by that logic, a song is the same every time you play that song, so you can learn where the enemies are coming from, in what numbers and what types, just like any other kind of game with enemy spawn points.
    I think this review was overly harsh on the game. As anyone can download and play three pre-selected songs (in my case, one built-in track and two from my HDD) as many times as they want without needing to buy the game, I'd highly recommend anyone who is interested in this in the slightest, download the demo and try it for yourself. I got 100% on this title, and I'll still boot it up once a week or so just to chill with the music and the vibrant visuals. And it doubles as a handy visualizer as well, which the PS3 is sorely lacking.

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    Yeah, whilst I can understand how this title wouldn't appeal to many, I fell in love with this game. It could be something to do with my intense love of music and illicit substances, but playing this game was an absolute blast and one of the few games I play without any regards for trophies. As mentioned, music-lovers, especially of the electronic kind should pick this up. Otherwise, take note of Gauss' review.
    Also, it should be noted that Beat Hazard Ultra was created by one guy, Steve Hunt, the CEO of Cold Beam Games, over one summer in his bedroom. All music, visuals, programming etc was undertaken by him. Therefore I can understand why it might not have the polished sheen of your Super-Stardusts and the like. I think the effort this guy made to create the game and get it released on multiple platforms is commendable.
    And I fucking love it.

    Quote Originally Posted by HYSTΣR!A⋆➒➑ View Post
    Thanks for the review Gauss, i've been looking into this myself as someone got me intersted.


    It's a shame it has nothing much to offer, I mean the graphics and art would be one of the key features of this kind of game, but damn straight, it is really unpleasant to stare at.

    "sigh", gunna have to leave off another PSN title, haven't had a decent one in ages
    The visuals are excellent, if somewhat simple. Cranking your favourite tunes and playing this game with visual intensity at 200% is an experience that I will never tire of. Like the other dude said, try out the demo before you write the game off. I know you're a music lover, Hysteria

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    This game was made by one person. Pretty impressive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breakpoint View Post
    This game was made by one person. Pretty impressive.
    Impressive, but doesn't excuse some of the miscues, and I can't give it any points for this simply because its still a released game.

    This guy clearly has alot of talent, and this is a good demonstration of it considering he did it himself, but as a game this isn't a great example of the genre.
    Gauss's Piracy Uncertainty Principle: When you pirate a game, that act inherently changes the results of what is to come after your pirating. You can't make any statement with any certainty regarding what would have happened had you not pirated the game.


    Gauss's Rating Rationale:
    0-1: A game whose very existence is abhorrent to all things creative and intelligent.
    2-4: A just plain bad game.
    5-6: A game that has alot of mistakes, but is atleast playable and has some enjoyable sections. Good for a rent.
    7: An average game, should be played at some point
    8: A good game, should buy at some point
    9: A great game, day-one purchase
    10: A game that goes above and beyond the generation, its transcendent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AizawaYuuichi View Post
    I'm with bobo, I thought this game looked gorgeous. Yes, there were a few times where I'd get the gunfire on screen confused, but that was my own fault. Once I learned how to differentiate enemy fire from my own fire and the background noise of the environment, I was playing almost every song on Insane just to challenge myself.
    And there was an official blog by one of the game devs on the UK PS.Blog, where they actually stated that because the game creates the enemy waves and attack patterns from your music, that each song will be completely random the first time you play it. But by that logic, a song is the same every time you play that song, so you can learn where the enemies are coming from, in what numbers and what types, just like any other kind of game with enemy spawn points.
    I think this review was overly harsh on the game. As anyone can download and play three pre-selected songs (in my case, one built-in track and two from my HDD) as many times as they want without needing to buy the game, I'd highly recommend anyone who is interested in this in the slightest, download the demo and try it for yourself. I got 100% on this title, and I'll still boot it up once a week or so just to chill with the music and the vibrant visuals. And it doubles as a handy visualizer as well, which the PS3 is sorely lacking.
    I suppose so, but EU hasn't got the damn game at all yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ_Keyser View Post
    Yeah, whilst I can understand how this title wouldn't appeal to many, I fell in love with this game. It could be something to do with my intense love of music and illicit substances, but playing this game was an absolute blast and one of the few games I play without any regards for trophies. As mentioned, music-lovers, especially of the electronic kind should pick this up. Otherwise, take note of Gauss' review.
    Also, it should be noted that Beat Hazard Ultra was created by one guy, Steve Hunt, the CEO of Cold Beam Games, over one summer in his bedroom. All music, visuals, programming etc was undertaken by him. Therefore I can understand why it might not have the polished sheen of your Super-Stardusts and the like. I think the effort this guy made to create the game and get it released on multiple platforms is commendable.
    And I fucking love it.



    The visuals are excellent, if somewhat simple. Cranking your favourite tunes and playing this game with visual intensity at 200% is an experience that I will never tire of. Like the other dude said, try out the demo before you write the game off. I know you're a music lover, Hysteria
    Aaaaaah, who isn't?

    Thanks for your insight guys, I never realised one guy made this though, that has changed my perspective on it by a far sight.

    Soon as we get a fuggin' demo, I will have to try. I honestly can't resist playing a rhythm-based game anyway.

    Hopefully will be somewhat better than Child Of Eden.


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    But this game is awesome.

    i owned it since before it was The Ultra version (it was a 3$ addon to a game i paid 9$ for, worth it) and i loved it ever since.

    The Ultra Version changes alot about the game in terms of unlocking stuff though. It's awesome to put on a 11 minute hardcore techno beat while on insane mode.


    maybe the PC version is that much better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ps360 View Post
    maybe the PC version is that much better.
    I honestly doubt that would be the case. A twin stick shooter that plays better on PC? About as much chance as an FPS that plays better on consoles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ps360 View Post
    maybe the PC version is that much better.
    Maybe, but I'm not reviewing the PC version.

    I'm also not sure what your qualifiers are either... This game has no difficulty curve, no sense of progression in terms of challenging your skill (the game is just a random assortment of levels), and the presentation is completely disjointed. It feels like its paper cutouts of ships laid overtop a light show.

    These things are fundamental to the game, I'm not sure if that changes from version to version. If it does this guy should stop making games because he is incompetent in some manner.

    This game does one thing really well: Its shooting and ship operation mechanics. The core of the gameplay so to speak. I find it difficult to really reward this because I can name 3 dozen twin stick shooters that are just as competent, and this game has nothing on something like Super Stardust HD or Geometry Wars.

    Nothing personal, but why would I want to groove to an 11 minute techno beat on Insane mode in this game when I can boot up Super Stardust and play on a more challenging difficulty level grooving to the exact same tune?

    Overall a game like SSHD is just more enjoyable. More modes, more unique gameplay ideas, more weapon types that actually behave differently and bring a strategy angle to the game. Its better from every angle, and still lets me play to my own soundtrack.
    Gauss's Piracy Uncertainty Principle: When you pirate a game, that act inherently changes the results of what is to come after your pirating. You can't make any statement with any certainty regarding what would have happened had you not pirated the game.


    Gauss's Rating Rationale:
    0-1: A game whose very existence is abhorrent to all things creative and intelligent.
    2-4: A just plain bad game.
    5-6: A game that has alot of mistakes, but is atleast playable and has some enjoyable sections. Good for a rent.
    7: An average game, should be played at some point
    8: A good game, should buy at some point
    9: A great game, day-one purchase
    10: A game that goes above and beyond the generation, its transcendent.

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    he is on 1.59 pounds now,anyone that is thinking about buying this game buy it now it'S also awesome.i bought it on 5.49 pounds and i am not dispointed that i didn't wait.

    this is the hardest song for the game LOL
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f-91...eature=related

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    Would anyone have some great song suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss View Post
    Impressive, but doesn't excuse some of the miscues, and I can't give it any points for this simply because its still a released game.

    This guy clearly has alot of talent, and this is a good demonstration of it considering he did it himself, but as a game this isn't a great example of the genre.
    Didn't mean for you to judge it differently based on those facts. I just thought it was an interesting.

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    I thoroughly enjoy this title its defo a well paced game from my experience and ive been using mainly rock/metal tracks with a couple of old skool dance songs like freestyler thrown in there so far i boot it up a couple times a week just to mellow out and have a blast with a nice simple game that I can pick up and play to what ever music is on my system and havent tried it on insane with 200% visuals but have slight colour difficiency so think it might actually b more of a hinderence then a positive. But like others have said even at 100% visuals on full HD with me good stereo system its defo alot better then some of the full disc based games ive played

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breakpoint View Post
    Would anyone have some great song suggestions?



    Didn't mean for you to judge it differently based on those facts. I just thought it was an interesting.
    Anything trance or dance related I'm sure. Mixes by Above and Beyond, Daft Punk's music, Music and mixes by Armin Van Buuren, ATB, Dash Berlin, etc. The basic tracks are fine, but with your own music, this is definitely one of the best dual stick games out imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breakpoint View Post
    Would anyone have some great song suggestions?



    Didn't mean for you to judge it differently based on those facts. I just thought it was an interesting.
    Dubstep works pretty epicly with this game. I also like to listen to DnB as well, makes it more challenging too at 170-180 bpm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ_Keyser View Post
    I honestly doubt that would be the case. A twin stick shooter that plays better on PC? About as much chance as an FPS that plays better on consoles.
    Dude, Beat Hazard was on PC WAY before it ever thought of coming to consoles. I tried the PSN demo and yes it is better on PC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATHF89 View Post
    Dude, Beat Hazard was on PC WAY before it ever thought of coming to consoles. I tried the PSN demo and yes it is better on PC.
    I knew that it was on PC first. My first post mentioned my familiarity with the development. I've never bought it on PC, because you can't replicate the same type of control with a keyboard mouse combo as you can with two analogue sticks. Same way you can't replicate FPS accuracy in the same way with a normal gaming controller. And you can't have tight platforming controls with an iOS device. When you say it's better on PC, are you talking content wise or gameplay wise?

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