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PlayStation Portable
Genre: Rhythm
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Rockstar Games Classification: G
Beaterator Review
Review By @ 06:08pm 12/10/09
*Please note, as Beaterator isn't a game as such, we've foregone any scoring system. Just use this 'review' as a simple guide to know what the title will offer you as there really isn't anything like this available in the videogame space.

In this day and age there's a very blurred line between accessibility and professionalism, between advanced technology and the user-friendly; to a point where once only an industry professional (in his or her field) would likely be the only one crafting their skill product for the rest of us mere mortals to swoon over. Now, however, anyone can pretty much do - and achieve - success in anything they're passionate about. technology and software have stepped off their high perch and stripped back all the nerdy elements in favour approach, and feats that once may have seemed impossible only take a few hours of learning and a bit of gusto.

Music is one such field, and probably the best example, with programs like Pro Tools (while still obviously very important), no longer only for the hardcore but easily available (in various forms, not specifically Apple) and even easier to use. Beaterator, a simple music programming tool Rockstar embedded into a web browser some time ago as a daily sandbox for sneaky workers not concentrating on finishing their reports, grew beyond expectations and even managed to draw in the attention of Timbaland, prompting the development of a dedicated toolset to use on the PSP.

It's incredibly daunting when watching someone demo the toolset to you - there are just so many options on offer. But, like most daunting things being watched from afar, throwing yourself in the 'deep-end' reveals it's actually not so scary, and with Beaterator you'll very quickly realise you're a more than competent swimmer. So quickly in fact, you probably won't realise just how easy it is, but as soon as the program's intro is finished, you can literally jump right in and start messing around. There are eight initial samples you can mix from, and it's as easy as using the PSP's D-Pad to move between them. When selected, the four face buttons become your selectors, and depending on which pre-load you go with (of which there are countless), you'll get a host of different sounds and styles. You can choose break-beat, hip hop, trance, electro, garage rock, rock and heaps more - and once you get into the game's Studio mode, you're not going to know what to do with yourself. But the absolute beauty of this title is that it's so easy to use. Yes there are a multitude of programming and mixing options, but actually using them is as easy as anything; all it takes is a bit of experimentation and you're on your way.

There are other cool features that come packaged as well, such as the ability to record your own voice or drop in your own music samples. Beat-boxers can literally lay down their own backing samples, throw them in here, overlay them and voila, Rahzel, eat your heart out. It really is that easy. What's more, as with any good user-generated content manager, Beaterator allows you to upload your own tracks (stay tuned for an AusGamers one as soon as I'm happy with it) and share them online. You can check out what other people are doing, rate them and try to beat them. You can even grab their content and add your own flair to it.

From a baseline perspective, while there's a plethora of stuff sampled here, I wasn't 100% happy with the hip-hop stuff on offer (which is why it's awesome you can add your own samples). In fact, as a whole, it all comes across a bit more synth than I'm too happy with, but I can't really complain too much. As mentioned you can manage your own sounds, and really, this is an on-the-go accessible music creation program pretty much anyone can use (I just wanted more 80s/90s beats and samples templated to play with). But that's also an alluring challenge - the toolset here allows you to ultimately generate almost anything you think is missing, which illustrates the overall pint of the program.

So if you're a music lover, or someone who's keen to dabble in the field but are too afraid of the apparent depth of everything else available, Rockstar and Timbaland truly do have what ails you, and I can't stress enough how satisfying it is to seriously just jump into this and try it yourself; all the writing above and hands-off demos in the world won't give you as clear a picture of this programs accessibility as picking it up for yourself, which we wholeheartedly recommend you do.
What we liked
  • Insanely easy to use
  • Great selection of templates will get anyone creating immediately
  • Equally insanely deep depending how far you want to dig
  • Add your own sounds and voice
  • Upload your music to the community
What we didn't like
  • Not enough old-school hip-hop out of the box!
  • Needs DS love as well
We gave it: