Important Importables: How to get and play the Idolmaster 2 PS3 demo

December 24, 2011 - 3:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: How to get and play the Idolmaster 2 PS3 demo

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The Idolmaster 2 is now available on the PS3 in Japan! Yay for them. Not so good for us though, as Namco Bandai’s idol raising Xbox 360 and PS3 game is a Japan exclusive. There is a bright side though. The Japanese PlayStation Store has a free trial version of Idolmaster 2 on it. So if you have a Japanese PSN account, you can actually log in and give the game a try.

Of course, if you don’t speak Japanese it’ll be a bit of a trial to actually reach the demo. After all, the Japanese PlayStation Store isn’t organized exactly the same way as the North American one. Besides, once you get the demo, you might not know what you’re doing. Well, I’m here to help. I’ll get you through the demo downloading process and offer some tips for actually playing through the Idolmaster 2 demo.

Idolmaster 2

Let’s go to the PlayStation Store!

Before you get started downloading, you need two things. One is a Japanese PlayStation Store account. You’ll have to create a new general account on your PS3 to tie it to, since your main account is likely tied to the ID from your country of origin. Don’t worry about the demo being restricted to just that user – you’ll be able to play the demo on your main account as long as its downloaded to your system. You’ll also need 2gb of space free on your hard drive. The Idolmaster 2 demo is only just over a 1gb download, but the systems setting section doesn’t go into specifics about exactly how much space is left, so make sure you’ve got two free for it. (You can always erase it to free up room later.)

The easiest way to find it once you’re at the Japanese PlayStation Store is to use the Search function at the top of the screen, indicated by the magnifying glass. Once the keyboard comes up, you’ll need to enter Idolmaster 2 in katakana. (You’ll have to click the select button once to get the katakana keyboard to come up.) Enter this word: アイドルマスター. One of the first 10 results should be the demo. It’ll say PS3, Idolmaster 2 and Trial Version. Click through, make sure it’s the free option and download it. Since it’s over 1gb, it will probably take around an hour to download. Once it’s finished, just click it’s icon under the game header of the XMB to install it.

Idolmaster 2

Prepare your Idolmaster 2 trio!

You should now have the Idolmaster 2 demo on your PS3. Now, as long as that took, the demo itself is pretty short. Just brace yourself for that. You basically get to put together a singing group with three idols and go through one or two activities as the 765 Producer. Now, all the girls aren’t available for the demo. You can only choose from (from left to right, back row first than front row) Madoka, Miki, Takane, Yayoi, Hibiki, Yukino, Haruka, Chihaya and Mami. Ami, Ritsuko, Azusa and Iori are all absent. First, you need to pick your group. You start with a lead singer. Then, you choose two more girls to act as backup and supporting members. I seemed to have really good luck when I chose Haruka or Miki as the lead.

From there, Idolmaster 2 demo jumps right into action. The producer will meet the girls in the morning. You’ll say hello and get the opportunity to choose one to talk to briefly about her concerns or desires (show-biz wise, of course). After that, it’s time to set the schedule.

The schedule is three blocks, and there are six activities to choose from. There are two promotion/publicity events that each take up two blocks, one lesson that takes up a single block and three performance events that each take up three blocks. If you don’t speak Japanese, then you’ll want to skip the promotion and publicity events, which are the first and third options in the menu. Both of those are visual novel style segments where you choose one girl and an area of Japan, and then head out with her to make memories and earn more fans and publicity for the group. Since this is only a demo, the relationships don’t really matter so it’s in there just to give an idea of what those segments are like in the full game.

While the full Idolmaster 2 game has many different kinds of lessons to help boost the singers’ visual appeal, dance abilities and vocal range, the demo only has a one block voice lesson. It’s similar to the Parappa the Rappa and Guitar Hero games. There’s a bar along the bottom with an indicator. When the X, O, square or triangle symbol reaches the indicator, you push the appropriate button. The goal is to fill the gauge at the top of the screen all the way to “Perfect” so the girls’ become better singers. It’s fun and fairly simple, though the path gets twisted and the speed increases the longer the lesson runs.

Finally, there are three different performances to participate in, where players get to actually see their trio sing the song, “Ready.” Well, part of the song “Ready.” And you only get to see that if you win. There are two music festival battles (Odyssey and Fujisan Rock) and one audience performance with guests called T-Bonus. All three play in a similar way. The first two are battles against another three member idol group, with Odyssey being against the boy group Jupiter and Fujisan Rock being against Ryuuguu Komachi, the other 765 group managed by former idol Ritsuko and contains Iori, Ami and Azusa.

In each performance, there will be three circles at the bottom of the screen corresponding to the square, triangle and circle button. They will allow you to make visual, dance and vocal appeals to the audience. Also, the L1 button can be tapped to select a certain idol and the X button pressed up to three times to have that idol launch a personal appeal. The circles will fill in time with the beat, and you must press them in time with the song to successfully appeal, which adds to the score (in the Odyssey and Fujisan Rock battles) or audience approval (T-Bonus). The goal is to get a high score and fill the voltage gauge. Once the voltage gauge fills, the currently selected idol will have a burst and will be able to go through a brief square, triangle and O pressing period for a huge boost to the score and ratings. The goal in the battles is to beat the score of the opposing team while the goal in the T-Bonus is to get the audience behind you and see a crown appear in the upper left corner.

If you win or lose, you then get to see a short performance. Winners get to see the rivals perform for about a minute. Winners get to see their group perform for a little over a minute. Here’s where the T-Bonus option is kind of cool. When the T-Bonus event begins, players can add two more idols to the group as guests, with Iori, Ami, Ritsuko and Azusa selectable. If you win the T-Bonus performance, then those two join your trio to perform the song.

There’s one more element to the demo that I passed over when I got caught up talking about what activities were available. Once the schedule has been set, players can customize their idols’ outfits. Just press the square button when the prompt comes up. You can decide on an outfit combo, using floral, luxury, starry, or one of the three extend costume options, and have them put on accessories. If you like your choices, you can then press O to proceed.

Once the schedule is finished, the Producer returns to the 765 offices. The Idolmaster 2 demo thanks you for playing, reminds you of all the Idolmaster 2 stuff coming out that you can buy and ends. Idolmaster 2 came out October 27, 2011 in Japan and, if you decide to import a region-free PS3 copy of the game you’ll probably have to pay between $85-$95. (Ouch!)

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports has a 2011 handheld game gift guide.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports suggested some Japanese candy to give away at Halloween.

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