All Star Cheerleader
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All Star Cheerleader 2 continues the exuberant fitness friendly game play. Although I missed some of the, now dialled down, saccharine cheerleading culture there is still plenty to challenge even the most proficient of exercisers.
I'm always keen to try computer game sequels. Unlike movies - where the sequel is rarely better than the original - games generally improve, with slicker graphics, nicer controls, and fixes for all those things that annoyed you about the first version. So I was looking forward to trying out the next All Star Cheerleader, a game which showed a lot of promise but was beset by a number of irritations.
In All Star Cheerleader 2 my major gripes with the original have been fixed, and a few minor features have been added, but at the same time some of the charm of the original has been lost.
All Star Cheerleader 2 follows the same formula as the original - you perform a sequence of cheerleading moves in time to music and get scored on your accuracy and timing. As before, the moves you have to do are indicated by icons scrolling along the Cheer Bar at the bottom of the screen, each showing you where your arms and legs should be, the aim is to pull off the move as each icon enters the target circle. To score well in All Star Cheerleader 2 you have to both get the move right, and time it correctly, which is easier said than done.
You use the Wii-mote and Nun-chuck for your arms, and if you have a Wii Fit Balance Board you can also use your feet. There have been two important improvements. Firstly, you no longer have to recalibrate the Wii Fit Balance board before each routine, which saves a lot of time and removes a major irritation of the original. Secondly, you can now use another Wii-mote instead of a Nun-chuck, a god-send for anyone over the age of about 12 who will have found the Nun-chuck's short cable incredibly annoying and restrictive when playing the previous version. Liberated from the Nun-chuck I found it much easier to throw myself into the game, so make sure you have plenty of space.
All Star Cheerleader 2 is still a good game for getting kids a bit more active while enjoying themselves.
Beyond this there isn't a lot of change. There are the same basic modes: career, multiplayer, and quick-play. The story in the career mode follows on from the original: you are now the new captain of a team and must prove yourself. There are the usual cut scenes featuring bitchy comments and back-stabbing high-school style soap-opera however the graphics and production values of the cut sequences are actually lower than the original. Out go 3D animated sequences and in come static talking heads. There has definitely been less effort put into these than in the previous version.
I found the career mode less slick that the original because the training and competition sections are separate and you have to hop backwards and forwards between them - which confused a little. The training sessions are also less well constructed, being more workman-like and with none of the background and terminology of the original - not even music. This is a shame as the old training system really helped to create the ambience of the game, with a slower and shallower learning curve, and more atmosphere for the workout.
The routines can still be as energetic as ever if you are prepared to throw yourself into them.
This doesn't feel like much of a step up from the original. There are some new and more complex moves, a new story line, and the adjustments to the controls are welcome, but it has actually lost of some of the charm of the original through some lower production values. This is a shame as the original game had a somewhat saccharine appeal, some of which has been lost in this sequel.
Despite this, All Star Cheerleader 2 is still a good game for getting kids a bit more active while enjoying themselves. The routines can still be as energetic as ever if you are prepared to throw yourself into them, and the multiplayer mode will be great for families and groups of friends.
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