Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Rockstar has been notoriously known for their work on the GTA franchise and other popular but highly-controversial titles (Bully, Manhunt). After taking a look at sports with Table Tennis, the company takes another detour, this time in the music genre with Beaterator, a powerful and easy to learn music creation tool game. First released as Flash application, it’s now available for the PSP with the promise to turn you into a music producer mogul in a matter of minutes. Let’s take a look at what certainly is the most surprising music “game” to be released this year.
Actually, it’s more an application rather than a game since there is no career progress, no leaderboards, no medals or scores. However, since “games” have the purpose to entertain, let’s say Beaterator does what some “real games” don’t.
Personally, I had my share of experiences with game-based music creation tools in the past. Back in the day of the PS2, the MTV Music Generator was something that I would spend a great number of hours but quickly got bored for many reasons, mostly related to the limitations of the console. Being a hip hop fan for ages, creating amateurish mixtapes was a recurrent activity at home. However, my knowledge was quickly tapped because obviously I’m no Timbaland or Dr. Dre. After logging several hours, I must say that Beaterator is fun and got me completely hooked.
Unlike Guitar Hero or Rock Band, there’s no « pretending » in here, you are creating music. There are two modes in Beaterator: Live Play and Studio. In Live Play, you can create a song on the fly by loading pre-recorded loops on each track (up to four different loops by track). A list of song templates is also available so you can remix them to your own taste. While playing, you can record your session and listen to it afterwards. Live Play is a great introduction to the game but its also a teaser of what Beaterator really is and can do.
Studio is comprised of two modes: Session and Crafter. Session gives you the possibility to take that same track template from Live Play and re-arrange it the way you like it. You will see that each song is comprised of eight tracks which can contain up to four loops. Each loop can be assigned to one of the four face buttons of the PSP. By pressing the appropriate face button, you can cue to start or stop playing the loop. The second part of the Studio Session, Studio Crafter, lets you customize the template track even further or create your very own masterpiece from scratch. Timbaland’s name isn’t in the game for nothing. He has offered enough samples to create not only a variety of hip-hop songs but also techno, electronica, house and even much slower and softer music. Studio Crafter also lets you record your own voice if you have a microphone plugged in (or if you have the latest PSP models with the mic built-in). Not only you can do your own beatboxing sounds and add them to your fantastic creation but you can also add lyrics in case your inner freestyling talent comes out. If you have a very special taste for music creation, you will be surprised to see how deep Beaterator is. That doesn’t mean that you will trash GarageBand and strictly produce your music with your PSP. However, if you want to have fun while riding the bus or flying, it does the job perfectly.
Did I mention that you import beats from other users and export your own creations as well? When it comes to import, you will need a Rockstar Social Club account to access what other Beaterator users have created. If you want to export, you have two ways: either you send it through the web via your Rockstar Social Club account or you can save your song as a MIDI and/or MP3 file. For that, you don’t need a Rockstar Social Club account as you can move the created files to your PC manually and share it with the world.
Is Beaterator easy? I must say that theres a learning curve and its far from being intuitive. While those who have spent time with music editing softwares on the PC will feel like home, surfing through the menus and getting accustomed to the interface will demand patience and attention from others. Beaterator does come with a few video tutorials and a reference guide to help you understand more what you are dealing with but truth is, if you take the time to explore, you will be fine. I did the test on a plane. I asked the gentleman beside me if he was willing to help me. Once he agreed, I gave him the PSP and explained him that I was giving him a music creator tool. I said that from here, that all he needed to know and that I would give him 30 minutes to play with it and then I would get his feedback. 30 minutes passed and while he seemed puzzled at the beginning, he was able to create a very simple song. He agreed on the fact that there was a learning curve but he enjoyed so much that he was willing to put a few extra time to learn the ropes. He was intrigued by it. He asked me if he could play with it for the whole flight. He assured me that he loved music but never played with music creator tools before and on top of that, he never spent more than a few hours with his sons PSP.
Graphics & Sounds
The visual presentation is neat but since the game is a music creation tool, you’ll be treated with lots of tracks, buttons and lists. Same goes for sounds, nothing huge to point out except the fact that the final mixes will sound great. Almost studio-like quality, it’s very impressive. The only little thing about your creation is that when you export it to the web, there is some quality loss. Not much though, but folks who have a very developed hearing will see a difference. Just say to yourself that you did the whole thing with a $40 PSP game or application, depends of how you want to see it.
You can create amazing songs but the high quality creation value does come with a price: patience and the willingness to learn. I won’t lie, Beaterator is targeted towards a special demographic however anyone can jump in and have fun if they put their mind to it. The $40 price tag is totally worth it if you are into music creation.
This is what I like about the gaming industry: there’s always a surprise waiting for you around the corner. Although the offering has obvious technical limitations and does come with a solid learning curve, Beaterator is very interesting and packs enough punch to please and intrigue any kind of gamer. Beaterator is worth checking out!
+ Extensive list of beats and loops
+ Option to record your voice and live sessions
+ Ability to export songs as MIDI or MP3 files
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Release Date : 2009/09/29
System : PSP
Publisher : Rockstar Games
Developer : Rockstar Leeds
Category : Music,Tempo, Dance
ESRB : E
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