If you've followed my import reviews for a while you already know what Taiko no Tatsujin is and why it's one of the most awesome rhythm games you'll ever play (steep challenge, cute graphics, not overmilked every 3 months like Guitar Hero), so I'll skip the usual introduction and go straight to talking about the game itself. And like both Wii Taiko games before it, this third installment is a doozy.
Unlike the ones before it, there's no Story mode in Taiko Wii 3, which makes it a bit lacking in the side content department. In its place is a pack of seven minigames playable with up to four people, which embodies the spirit of the Wii and its love of minigame collections and bringing people in the same living room and playing together. They're fine, but get repetitive after a while if you're playing solo as the games rarely randomize, if at all. Definitely much better with friends, and after you're done with the minigames, head over to the main game to play. Yes, for the first time, a Taiko no Tatsujin game on a big screen supports up to four players at the same time, and it is good.
Thankfully the song list more than makes up for it. For the first time in years, a home console version of Taiko no Tatsujin introduces new challenging songs to the ever-expanding list of Taiko torture chambers, and not simply dumping all the latest arcade songs into its list. This makes for a very tantalizing and desirable secret song list to unlock and discover. Although the unlockable songs are lackluster at first, featuring old Taiko classics revived again for one more go, the good stuff is unlocked for those with a little more patience.
The J-Pop genre, although not including any worthy challenge, is filled with great-sounding tracks, a much better effort than the tepid offering from Taiko DS 3. One song from AKB48, VICTORY from Exile, Ring a Ding Dong by Kaela Kimura, and a few others. Not a single dud in J-Pop this time. Kudos! The Anime genre goes on as normal, with two Ghibli songs being the highlight- Sanpo from My Neighbor Totoro and, once again, the Ponyo theme song. Too many ports from the latest DS game in Anime.
The Variety genre is as small as always, but features a megaton hit in the latest arcade- Black Rock Shooter, by Hatsune Miku. Being a Japanese game, anything with Hatsune Miku on it is instantly best song ever, which I don't agree with, but BRS is actually pretty fun to play. As for the Classic genre, it's basically dead, with all but one song recycled from previous games. Still good fun once you've exhausted everything else, especially because it has two of the hardest songs you'll ever face in this genre (Phantasie Impromptu and Flight of the Bumblebee).
The Game Music genre introduces many new stars. Monster Hunter Medley was long overdue especially because it has Monster Hunter Tri music in it (exclusive to Wii, it would be folly not to include this song in a Wii Taiko game), New Super Mario Bros Wii has its own composition made specially for this game, the songs from God Eater and Ace Combat X2 are here, and newcomer Doom Noiz (from Galaga Legions) will give you tons of trouble.
But it's the Namco Original genre that saves the day as always. With many fresh new challenges not seen on any previous versions of Taiko, unlocking these actually gives a genuine sense of surprise. Old classics are revived and given new life with new notes. New songs raise the high water mark of difficulty to even greater heights. Playing the game for hours in a row just to unlock Black Rose Apostle and Joubutsu 2000 is something that should be common among the most loyal Taiko fans, as these two are difficult beyond imagination. There's a lot to bite into if you're a fan, with over 30 songs in this genre to keep everyone happy. The theme song was a bit rushed though. Popcorn Parade doesn't improve over the better theme songs of the Wii/DS generation.
In the end though, it's up to whether you're a Taiko fan. If you are, you'll find more things to nitpick, especially the repetitive minigames, but you'll be very, very pleased with the song selection this time. If you're not, you'll find a very fun rhythm game, perfect for parties with friends and loaded to the brim with tons of songs.