RockStar games teamed up with Timbaland on a very special project for prospective DJs and musicians called Beaterator. While it’s for the PSP and comes with a UMD, Beaterator is not a game. Many may recall that RockStar had initially hosted a Music Mixing application on their website a while back. They were developing it into a potential PSP application when Timbaland jumped aboard and gave them a slew of beats and loops to work with. The celebrity endorsement gives the mixer serious backing, but my real question starting the game was whether or not it is any good.
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Leeds
Sep. 29, 2009
Right off the bat you’re treated to a tutorial of how to use Beaterator properly. An animated Timbaland gives you a play by play on how to make music and the options available: Live Play or Studio. Live Play is an animated mixing session where you use 8 different looping tools to play during your songs. The loops and beats initially available are the preprogrammed settings on the game, but when you get better you can make your own loops and beats to replace them. You can record the songs you’re making and gradually make changes so that the song transitions itself naturally to the next one. Once you finish your song you can edit it bit by bit to tweek any problems you encounter. Live play is for easy on the freestyle song making.
The in depth song making comes with the Studio option. In the Studio option, you are presented with hundreds of loops and beats to choose from and must sample them one by one to see if it’s a loop you want to use. The loops themselves range from “inspired” to “half-assed” and can annoy someone who is casually exploring the game. You can create songs from these beats or upload your own sounds and music from your computer in order to expand the type of songs you can create. The Studio is definitely for a musician with a basic knowledge of Synthesizers and willing to put a lot of time into carefully molding songs.
The app itself is a very good tool which musicians will love. But there are numerous problems which will keep it from being embraced by the general public. While Live Play is easy and quick to use, Studio is complex, and not as well explained in the tutorial. Using the Song Crafter part of the application is difficult, since you need to change numerous things in order to get a song just right, and the PSP’s controls can be a very big hindrance. The beats and loops are for the most part great, but you can tell that too much was put into the application. Sampling beats can take a while to load, even for clips which are a few seconds long. This can be problematic to say the least, and the lag indicates just how much data is on the UMD.
Blast Factor: This is a music mixer which will take a lot of people time to fully access. The studio mode is very comprehensive but can be a little bit of a turn off because of how complex it seems. The beats and loops available are very impressive for the most part, and can be expanded upon with sounds from your computer. The tutorial doesn’t go in depth, so the mixer is not as simple to use as the casual user would like. The undertaking was ambition, and the end result is effective but not terribly efficient. It feels as if a touch screen based media player/system would be better suited for the creation of music, so I’ll probably end up checking out Beaterator on the iTouch. For the price it’s being sold at though, it’s a very affordable solution for artists who can’t afford to buy the PC software.
Beaterator is available for $39.99 on the Playstation Store and all major retailers. A copy of this game was given to us by the publisher for review purposes.