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Pump Haven :: PIU Zero PSP - review
3:37PM CST :: 11/04/07


Pump it Up Zero Portable (PSP)

review by Turkeyslam

 

I received Zero PSP in the mail two weeks ago and as we haven't really had an article at PH for a very long time, I decided to write one regarding my opinion of the latest home Pump release. Prepare a drink and get comfortable in your chair because as always, this article will be stupidly long and exaggerated because that's how Turkeyslam does things.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I actually spent a huge chunk of a paycheck on buying a PSP for the sole sake of playing this game. As a huge fan of NX's music and with no other medium to play NX's songs (piss off, custom Pump PCs), I was extremely motivated to buy this game. I justified buying it because I could use the PSP for homebrew and yadda yadda... but that's not what this article is about (at least someone's willing to buy the PSP from me should I not want it anymore, yay).

I'll admit this right from the getgo - the version many of you have found in torrents on the internet is not at all a beta version. Yes, it is unbelievably the final version and because of its shortcomings - mainly lack of effort in porting the damn thing - a great game has been severely flawed in several ways.

This review will start on a positive note. If you are a fan of Pump NX and its soundtrack, this game is a total delight. It has every single NX song except Bust Back, My Brother is Street Singer, Fire, and the full versions. Despite having removed quite a few Exceed 1, Exceed 2, and Zero songs, as well as quite a few old school songs (no doubt due to the space limitations), this is a very complete package. When you're not being bothered by the load times (more on that later), the game is visually beautiful and quite a spectacle/novelty to those who aren't used to seeing this kind of thing. Zero was undoubtedly the flashiest and most vibrant Pump interface of all mixes released thus far and it shines through amazingly on the PSP.

To those who never experienced Exceed PSP (such as myself), the controls obviously take a little getting used to. But honestly... to those who are used to playing Pump on keyboard, these controls will come extremely naturally to you, granted you're playing Normal, Hard, or Crazy. It will be even easier if you're a Pump PC/keyboard player. You have two buttons apiece for each arrow on single player and it comes very naturally. Yes, it's very possible and even easy to get an A on songs such as Wi-Ex-Doc-Va CZ if you're the kind of player who can do so on keyboard. Freestyle and Nightmare, however, are a different story. This is awkward and hard, takes a ridiculous amount of time to get used to, and never ceases to be generally strange to play. With practice, though, the upper-level double mode songs are playable as well. You are able to change the controls to any configuration you wish although I'd recommend sticking to the default controls as I believe they're most natural.

Ad-hoc mode is available for two people to play the game against each other wirelessly, but I haven't been able to test this. Actually, I wonder if there's anyone in America who -has- a friend nearby with this game as well to make the mode worthwhile... probably not.

The song select interface is very simple. You use the thumbstick to choose a song, the shoulder buttons to change the level and channel, and the O button to select a song. There is no need to input codes for mods, as they are all selectable using the directional keys in a convenient setup where you can sort through and choose all the mods on a list in the left corner.

The song list of this game is definitely excellent. It has a slightly abridged version of Zero's list (some songs are excluded, including a couple head-scratchers like Csikos Post and Don't Bother Me - find the complete song list and compare it to other mixes here), with the inclusion of nearly all of NX's arcade station songs and all of its remixes, as well as the complete set of Anothers from Zero. The Another version of Treme-Vook of the War is also included. Other than the relatively useless Easy Station, the game only has the traditional Arcade Station for playing songs, with remixes also included as a separate channel in the Arcade Station.

The simplicity of it all makes the game work well for those who need a quick fix of Pump and don't intend on playing for an extended period of time. You can hit "select" to exit a song immediately, "start" to pause the song, and you can also power off the game and return exactly where you were before when powering it back on.

The NX songs in this game are all unlockables which require gaining "points". You gain these points by playing individual songs. The points received are determined by the score you receive on a song, with the last three digits of that score removed. So, for example - I just played the BanYa-P Classic Remix on Hard and had a score of 2,104,800. I earned 2104 points. To be honest, you get VERY little considering the prices of the items in the store. If you play this game legitimately, expect to have to play this game religiously for -months- to unlock everything in this game. This is not a joke.

This next bit is unnecessary, but I thought it would be appreciated. Here are the prices of all NX songs to buy in this game:

Sam-I-Am
25000p
Lovely
25000p
Free!
30000p
One Night
35000p
K-Pop Dance Remix
35000p
Chicago Club Mix
35000p
Hybs
40000p
U Inside My Dim Memory
45000p
Fly
50000p
Hyun Jin Young Go Jin Young Go
50000p
Groove Party Remix
50000p
Snow Dream
55000p
Gun Rock
55000p
Terminal Depository
57000p
Throw 'em Up:
65000p
Chimera
80000p
Final Audition Episode 2-1
80000p
2006 Love Song
90000p
Hold The Line
95000p
We Goin' Fly Remix
95000p
Pop House Remix
95000p
Witch Doctor #1
100000p
Bemera
100000p
BanYa-P Classic Mix
105000p
Do You Know That -Old School-
120000p
Final Audition Episode 2-2
120000p
Wi-Ex-Doc-Va
120000p
Bullfighter's Song
135000p
Arch of Darkness
150000p


You can also buy two other things: music videos and arrow skins. The music video for every song in the game is also in the store. These are nothing more than the video section you may remember from Exceed SE, but it of course includes all the videos for new songs that weren't found in that game. The videos all cost between 10000p and 20000p. There are several arrow skins ranging from the traditional Extra skin to arrows themed to characters from songs. You can find skins here with characters from songs such as Phantom, What's Going On, Wuthering Heights, and Dignity. Arrow skins are stupidly priced, varying from 30000p to 100000p. No, I'm not kidding with these numbers.

Earlier in the review I gave an example about how I "just played" a song and earned points. Well, I'm not kidding. I'm playing the game as I type this and I seriously have enough time to write decent amounts of text in this review while waiting for it to load. This brings us to the next point - the ungodly load times.

Listen. You will never, NEVER find a game with more ridiculously insane load times than Pump Zero Portable, end of story. This game has annoying load times for everything. Obviously the most noticeable load times are those when a song is loading. If you're enough of an old-schooler, think back in the days about how long it took for a song to load on an old SD or DX machine in mixes before Exceed. Multiply that by five. That's how long it takes for a song to load. It's mind-numbingly awful and seriously detracts from the gameplay experience. This, of course, is if you're playing the game legally on a UMD. Ironically, you get a better gameplay experience with less lag if you pirate the thing outright and play it on a memory stick. However, as the review is about the experience of playing the legal version of the game, these load times cannot be ignored. The game takes forever to load not only the song itself but the intros of songs in the menu, the final grade screen, and occasionally even the freaking graphic in the top corner for when you change modes! It sucks, it really does. The load times could have been avoided if it weren't for one thing. This game was clearly rushed and lazily designed. It's full of inaccuracies, glitches, and general weirdness. Zero PSP was outsourced to a developer who takes completed games and puts them on the PSP and they really did not do a good job in the port at all. The glitches, errors, and general stupidity is endless:

1) Firstly, this game's NX elements feel like they came from an early developer beta version of NX and it's a very high possibility that they indeed -were-! Tons of the title screens for songs look strangely unpolished, incomplete, and ugly. Many are in Korean rather than English. FAE2-2's title is nothing more than a blue version of an old 2-1 title, even down to it still saying "170bpm" and listing the artist as BanYa. Arch of Darkness's title has been butchered to where the song is called "Arch Shade", is credited to "Yaphh", and uses the ugliest generic font ever. Many of the song's intros are so lazily cut that they are actually just 0:00 to 0:07 of the original song, making the intros sound completely pathetic. Same goes for the preview videos in the song-select interface - they come from the beginning of the video. The font used in the song information under the preview BGA doesn't match that of the original game, making it look even more tacked on. In addition to all of that, there are songs which have been stupidly placed in the wrong channel:

-U Inside My Dim Memory - BanYa channel
-Hybs - K-Pop channel
-Throw 'em Up - K-Pop channel

2) There are some complications with the additional stepcharts. There aren't many, but they're certainly noticeable. Chimera CZ/NM, Final Audition Episode 2-2 NM, Witch Doctor #1 CZ/NM, Arch of Darkness CZ/NM, BanYa-P Classic Remix CZ/FS/NM, and Bemera NM are not in the game at all. Don't ask why, because I don't know. Perhaps those charts have step elements that would glitch under the PSP's engine. Perhaps it's the more likely scenario that the developers are mentally retarded. Two specific charts are pretty broken. 2-1 on Hard is a half beat off the entire song and Chimera on Hard loses its synchronization to the steps completely for a good 15 seconds, until it inexplicably resyncs itself during a hold. Hell, is there really anything redeeming left about playing Chimera in this game? Not really!

3) The grading screen is hilarious. The audio is off by a good two seconds on this screen, regardless of the song played. It looks really embarrassing. Each grade (perfect, great, good, bad, miss) has four digits instead of three to accommodate for the fact that many songs have max combos that exceed 999. That's great and all, except the game can't utilize this very simple system correctly. If the song has, for example, 1024 perfects, it will show as "01024" perfects. What? Oh, and if you have over 1000 perfects, the score you received on the song will have a random 0 preceding it as well. This is just lazy and inexcusable.

4) This game suffers from a very infuriating and dangerous glitch. If you exit the game to the PSP's menu and come back to it, the game will ask if you'd like to load the existing saved game. If you choose not to do so, it will completely overwrite your entire saved game, making it unsalvageable. With how long it takes to unlock things, having your game overwritten will ruin the whole experience of unlocking songs. What makes it worse is that the entire game normally uses the O button as an "ok" button, while the PSP itself uses the X button as an "ok" button and the O button as "cancel". If you get so used to using the O button to ok it, you'll likely accidentally do the same when loading the game and lose your saved game. Because of this, I heavily recommend to save a backup of your saved game outside of the PSP. If you don't, you're playing Russian roulette every time you load the game.

5) The game has an interesting feature in that you can have it record replays of your gameplay. It's limited to only 6 replays, however this isn't what's wrong with it. The problem with the replay system is that it's completely broken. Your video almost instantly loses synchronization with the audio and steps, making it look like a badly recorded Youtube video. Even worse, if your song has over 1000 steps, every step over 1000 will count as a miss and your beautiful "A"-grade replay will probably turn out to be an "F" instead. And to add insult to injury, you receive points for your replayed videos the same way you get them if you play the song normally. This means that you can record a good run of something such as LIADZ2 Another Hard and replay it over and over and over again to cheat in the accumulation of points for the store. With crap like that, you might as well use an unlocked gamesave.

6) This game gives you PIU ranking codes. The only problem is that the Zero section of piupsp.com does not exist. Thus, the feature is 110% useless. Nice work, guys.

7) Wallpapers are collectible for all songs in the game, including remixes and Anothers, by receiving an S grade in the song on any mode. Collecting all of these will definitely be something that nobody will be able to accomplish, as many Nightmares are Another-only and simply can't be S'ed by anyone. It just doesn't and won't happen.

8) Several minor things stand out to prove that this game was lazily rushed.

-The timer on the song select screen is perpetually stuck at 60 seconds.
-The title screens for the remixes are extremely ugly and have incorrect information.
-The digits in the level numbers aren't aligned properly at times, making it look slanted and weird.
-Stage break is completely off, yes, but it doesn't exist at all in this game. You can miss every arrow in a song and you'll make it to the end.
-The life bar: when it depletes, you can't refill it again. However, this has zero effect on your final grade. Your bar can be dead the entire song yet you can still receive an A.

These things don't make the game any less fun to play, but it's just not right that they'd release a game without fixing it all. At the very least, when the load times are all said and done, the game plays quite smoothly and only infrequently has slow framerates (usually when there are a lot of arrows on the screen). It doesn't affect the gameplay too much and isn't something to really complain about. The game is still very playable.

It may look like I've ripped this game to shreds. The truth is that despite its shortcomings, nothing changes the fact of what it is. This is a complete portable experience of a recent Pump arcade mix and includes a very large amount of recent songs from Exceed 2, Zero, and NX that have never been in a home version before. At over 100 songs, this game is hardly an abridged game (hell, it almost fills the UMD disc it's held on to full capacity). If you're a diehard Pump fan, the novelty of all of this will excite you as much as a kid set free in a candy store. The game is an incredible time waster and is still very fun to play at the end of the day. If you're a serious Pump fan, you WILL appreciate this game and it IS worth the buy, without a doubt, however this is a game for serious Pump fans and certainly not for casual people who are just discovering the series. Did you want to play this game even before reading this review? If so, then buy it. If not, then pass on this one and consider buying DJMax or another portable rhythm game that's more designed to be played in this kind of setting. Or perhaps you could buy a console version of Pump or play the game at your local arcade instead... it's a dance game after all!

Below is the complete game song list, with levels. Enjoy!

 

EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
2006 Love Song
2
7
10
4
13
Another Truth
3
5
16
6
16
Arch of Darkness
3
7
4
Beat of the War
4
9
13
9
19
Beat of the War 2
3
8
17
9
20
Bee
3
6
13
9
20
Beethoven Virus
3
6
13
8
20
Blazing
3
6
15
6
19
Bullfighter's Song
4
8
16
6
20
Canon-D
2
5
20
8
21
Chimera
8
16
20
Chung Hwa Ban Jeom
2
5
13
2
16
Circus Magic
4
7
9
8
Com'back
6
14
16
Come Back to Me
2
5
11
6
13
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
Come to Me
3
5
10
6
12
Dignity
5
9
20
12
22
Do it Yourself
6
13
7
14
Do You Know That -Old School-
3
4
15
7
18
Drunken in Melody
3
6
5
Emergency
3
4
12
6
15
Essa Maneira
2
6
12
7
13
Extravaganza
8
11
9
17
Final Audition
2
7
15
3
17
Final Audition 2
7
9
7
16
Final Audition 3 U.F
3
5
13
4
16
Final Audition Episode 1
7
15
8
21
Final Audition Episode 2-1
3
7
20
9
22
Final Audition Episode 2-2
7
16
21
18
Fly
3
5
14
4
16
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
For You
1
5
14
5
20
Forever Love
1
11
Free Style
1
3
Free!
4
7
15
8
18
Funky Tonight
4
11
4
Go Back
1
4
8
4
10
Gun Rock
2
8
18
6
22
Hate
1
4
3
Hi-Bi
3
8
14
8
18
Hold the Line
2
4
12
4
14
Hot
2
5
10
4
12
Hybs
2
4
11
4
13
Hyun Jin Young Go Jin Young Go
3
6
19
6
19
I'll Give You All My Love
3
7
15
8
17
J Bong
5
7
13
5
17
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
Jump
3
7
9
La Cubanita
2
6
12
7
13
Le Code de Bonne Conduite
4
7
10
8
15
Love is a Danger Zone
2
6
19
6
20
Love is a Danger Zone 2
7
15
21
18
23
Love Song
1
4
9
4
11
Lovely
4
5
12
4
13
Monkey Fingers
4
7
15
6
18
Moonlight
7
18
8
21
Mr. Fire Fighter
2
6
13
8
15
Mr. Larpus
4
9
13
10
18
My Friend
3
4
13
5
16
My Way
2
5
12
6
15
N
2
4
14
4
Naissance
7
9
7
14
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
Naissance 2
2
6
13
5
14
One Night
2
5
13
4
14
Papa Gonzales
6
14
7
18
Phantom
10
18
6
19
Point Break
1
4
8
5
Power of Dream
1
6
14
5
15
Pump Me Amadeus
4
8
16
8
19
Pumping Up
4
Rolling Christmas
2
4
7
4
12
Sajahu
2
5
13
5
14
Sam-I-Am
2
4
9
4
11
Shake it Up
2
7
14
7
19
She Likes Pizza
7
9
8
16
Slam
3
5
15
6
19
Snow Dream
3
5
13
7
13
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
So
1
6
12
2
12
Soca Make Yuh Ram Ram
2
5
9
6
10
Solitary
3
5
8
6
15
Solitary 2
3
6
16
6
18
Terminal Depository
3
6
13
5
16
Throw 'em Up
2
5
14
5
15
Turkey March
7
12
8
19
Typhoon
2
6
11
6
14
U Inside My Dim Memory
3
6
14
4
18
Ugly Dee
1
4
13
5
14
Vook
4
7
14
15
18
Watch Out
2
5
11
7
12
We Are
5
9
5
12
We Goin' Fly Remix
4
5
14
6
19
What Do You Really Want?
2
7
18
7
14
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
What's Going On?
3
2
7
5
9
Will o' the Wisp
4
8
13
10
19
Winter
3
8
14
9
19
Witch Doctor #1
3
7
5
With My Lover
3
10
11
Wuthering Heights
2
4
3
X-Treme
5
7
14
8
19
REMIX: BanYa Classic Remix
9
19
11
??
REMIX: BanYa Hip-Hop Mix
6
7
6
REMIX: BanYa-P Classic Mix
11
REMIX: Bemera
14
22
18
REMIX: Canon-D Full Mix
??
REMIX: Chicago Club Mix
10
15
11
17
REMIX: Deux Remix
6
15
7
REMIX: Dignity Full Mix
??
??
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
REMIX: Groove Party
5
12
6
14
REMIX: K-Pop Dance
8
15
9
16
REMIX: Lexy & TYM
7
11
8
REMIX: Pop House Mix
8
14
16
REMIX: Treme-Vook of the War
11
19
13
22
REMIX: Treme-Vook of the War [Another]
??
??
REMIX: Wi-Ex-Doc-Va
15
21
17
23
ANOTHER: Another Truth
??
ANOTHER: Circus Magic
??
ANOTHER: Do it Yourself
??
ANOTHER: Extravanza
??
??
ANOTHER: Final Audition
??
??
ANOTHER: Final Audition 2
??
??
ANOTHER: Final Audition 3
??
ANOTHER: I'll Give You All My Love
??
EZ
HD
CZ
FS
NM
ANOTHER: Love is a Danger Zone
??
??
ANOTHER: Love is a Danger Zone 2
??
??
??
ANOTHER: Mr. Larpus
??
ANOTHER: My Friend
??
ANOTHER: Naissance 2
??
ANOTHER: Solitary 2
??
??
ANOTHER: Vook
??
??