Beaterator PSP Review
A word of warning: if you approach Rockstar's Beaterator for the PSP expecting something along the lines of Guitar Hero or Rock Band Unplugged, you'll be sorely disappointed. This game isn't a game at all. It's a simulator closely supervised and supported by music producer Timbaland. It has the tools you need to create some sick techno songs, provided you have the patience and understanding to get through it.
Various options are available to you in Beaterator. You'll have access to a number of instruments and drum loops. Eight selectable loops can be used per song, ranging in tempo and pitch. Such instruments as a piano/organ, electronic bass, strings and multiple lead tones are available, complete with synthesized vocals. Part of the fun is discovering all that's offered in the Live Play mode, then slowly but surely picking what you'll use for each song. Then it comes down to meshing them together in Studio Mode, and here is where you'll be put to the test.
Studio Mode is the most difficult portion of Beaterator, as you'll need to lay down tracks, loops and other song elements very closely. There's no way to go over mistakes you've made and erase them. You'll need to start over completely from scratch. Furthermore, the interface isn't entirely user-friendly (the PSP doesn't even come close to replacing the simplicity of a mouse and keyboard), and the long load times will test even the most patient of would-be DJs. However, if you can deal with the frustrating parts and get the hang of everything (which takes about an hour or two), then you'll put your music know-how to good use.
If you go through Beaterator and still can't quite figure it out, there is an in-game tutorial. However, it's a trying process. There's no interactivity with this mode. It just tells you what to do, without giving you a chance to try it out. You'll then need to keep it in mind and apply what you know going back into the main modes. A mini-game system probably would've been ideal. Sure, Beaterator is a simulation tool and not a game, but adding this could've provided some comfort for newbies.
Past that, everything about Beaterator clicks. While the interface is confusing at first, the tools are well represented on the PSP screen, with easy-to-read knobs and layouts that will suit music fans. The sound is lively and crisp, with lots of samples and music beats to choose from. Best of all, once you're done creating your pieces of musical wonder, you can save them as .wav files to your memory card and upload them through your PC.
Beaterator could've been a little more consumer-friendly, with a better hands-on tutorial and some minor sequences. Not everyone will get it, but would-be music maestros and DJs should definitely give it a look.
What's Hot: Several instruments and samples to play around with, interface is easy to view on-screen, you can export your songs to .wav format.
What's Not: The interface takes a lot of time to get used to, Studio Mode forces you to start working from scratch since you can't erase mistakes, doesn't have any sort of game elements, tutorial doesn't let you practice along with it.