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The Idolmaster Live For You!

The Idolmaster Live For You!

The Idolmaster Live For You!

The Idolmaster Live For You! is a Japanese live simulation video game in The Idolmaster series developed and published by Namco Bandai Games. It was released on February 28, 2008 for the Xbox 360 as a sequel to The Idolmaster. The gameplay in Live For You! focuses on coordinating the concert event from The Idolmaster with higher customization of the songs, stage and costumes. The game features a rhythm minigame during performances, which was developed to add a sense of unity with the audience and add excitement. The player is also able to freely manipulate how the performance looks by adjusting the position of the camera towards the idols. The story is told from the perspective of a special producer in charge of coordinating the live performances of 11 pop idols from The Idolmaster series.

Development for the game began in 2007 in response to player tendencies for the original The Idolmaster arcade game and its Xbox 360 port. The development team wanted to create a game that would allow players to easily view the live performances. The protagonist in the game was developed to be a "fan representative" who would coordinate the idols' performances, so any complex scenarios were left out, resulting in a simple story. Including downloadable content, the game features 74 songs the idols perform: 32 songs in original versions and 42 remixes of those songs, which have been released on several music albums. An original video animation episode produced by Actas was bundled with the limited edition release of the game. Live For You! sold 44,000 copies in its first week of release in Japan, and ranked as the fifth best-selling video game in Japan that week.

The Idolmaster Live For You! Gameplay

Live For You! is a live simulation game that revolves around characters related to the talent agency 765 Production (765 Pro), a rising studio located in a small office. On the day of a fan appreciation concert, 765 Pro's company president and main producer suddenly go missing. The player assumes the role of their substitute, an unnamed "special producer" who is put in charge of coordinating the live performances of 765 Pro's 11 idols: Haruka Amami, Chihaya Kisaragi, Yukiho Hagiwara, Yayoi Takatsuki, Ritsuko Akizuki, Azusa Miura, Iori Minase, Makoto Kikuchi, Ami and Mami Futami, and Miki Hoshii. Aiding the special producer is Kotori Otonashi, an office clerk working for 765 Pro.

The player starts by selecting which of the idols will do a performance, and can choose groups of either one, two or three idols at a time. After having a conversation with Kotori and the chosen idol or idols in the green room, the player chooses one of two modes the performance is divided into: a support mode and a photography mode. At this point, the player is allowed to change the player name and the name of the idol unit. Following this, the player chooses which song to perform, what stage to perform on, and which costumes and accessories a given idol will wear. Further customization allows the player to choose who sings which lyrics, and the function of the video cameras including the camera's range (close-up, mid or long) and how it dissolves into the next frame.

In the support mode, the idols begin their on stage performance and the player interacts by playing a rhythm minigame in either easy, medium or hard modes. As the song plays, a predetermined sequence of controller button icons scroll from right to left towards a target icon and the player must press the correct button as the button icons pass over the target icon. The player is scored by the timing accuracy of these presses and is given one of four ratings: Perfect, Good, Normal and OK. The player's performance is also represented by the voltage meter, which increases or decreases depending on if the player successfully hits a note or not. At intervals of 50 successful hits, the idol or idols will perform a special appeal to the audience which suddenly increases the voltage meter and the overall numerical score. In the hard mode, if the voltage meter goes down to zero, the performance will end prematurely; this does not occur in the easy and medium modes. The actions of the buttons as they relate to the performance change depending on the song and degree of difficulty. For example, a button may indicate anything from a cheer, handclap, whistle, musical instrument sound, or other various supportive sounds.

After the performance, Kotori shows the player a result screen, which includes the score, the number of successful Perfect, Good, Normal and OK hits, the maximum number of combo hits, and the final percentage of the voltage meter. The screen will also indicate if the overall score is a high score. Depending on the results, the player may be given additional costumes, accessories, or remixes of songs. Also, the player may be given special messages if the resulting score and voltage meter percentage is over a certain value. The player can view an online ranking of other players' results for either a single song or from all songs put together. The ranking is ranked by the player with the highest score, though a player's voltage meter is also displayed. If the player chooses to save the video for a performance, their score will automatically be uploaded onto the online ranking. The game also includes 48 achievements totaling 1,000G.

In the photography mode, the player freely manipulates how the performance looks by adjusting the position of the camera towards the idols. The player can change the camera angle and zoom in and out in real-time and take photos during the performance. It is optional whether one or more idols will perform a special appeal to the audience. In-game items cannot be obtained by playing in the photography mode. The player is able to save up to five photos and one video of a performance; the video can be saved from both the support and photography modes.

Reception
Live For You! sold 44,000 copies in its first week of release in Japan, and ranked as the fifth best-selling video game in Japan that week. The game received a score of 28 out of 40 from the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu. The game has been described as akin to a fan disc that would be hard to play if the player did not already have an emotional attachment to the idols. For this reason, Takeshi Iizuka writing for ASCII Media Works strongly recommends playing the Xbox 360 port of The Idolmaster and producing two or three idols before playing Live For You!. Iizuka notes the large differences between the easy, medium and hard modes when playing the support mode, in addition to the varied difficulty between songs. "Go My Way!!" and "Agent Yoru o Yuku" (エージェント夜を往く) in particular are called the most difficult songs to play on hard. During the support mode, the rhythm minigame is described as difficult to focus on if the player also wants to focus on aspects of the idols' performance. The rotating screen during the special appeals to the audience is also called distracting. The game's photography mode was criticized for only allowing the last five photos to be viewable at the end of the performance and for only one video being allowed to be saved at a time. The communication portion of the game is also criticized as being somewhat insufficient.


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