Review: Just Dance 3 (Kinect)

Review: Just Dance 3 (Kinect)

I am quite the dancing machine. One might even go so far as to say that I am a master…nay, LORD…of dance (just ask my wife, I’m sure she would TOTALLY confirm my claims). I like the nightlife…I like to boogie…in my living room. I have employed my vast dancing skills on various dancing games, and was very excited to hear about Just Dance 3 and the track list. Since watching the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (new, not re-runs; yeah, I liked it BEFORE syndication) back in the day, I’ve always wanted a chance to perform Sugarhill Gang’s Apache for a reason other than spontaneity. Now, with Just Dance 3, I can.

Just Dance 3 looks like the previous entries in the Just Dance series. The stylistic colors of the vibrantly silhouetted on-screen dancers and neon backgrounds are vivid and bright. The animations for the aforementioned silhouetted on-screen dancers and the context appropriate backgrounds are incredibly smooth and fluid. The unique visual style of the Just Dance series is retained successfully.

With the addition of the Kinect as a motion platform for Just Dance 3, the game is no longer easily cheated by the lazy and the opportunistic. In previous iterations, simply moving the Wiimote in the general direction indicated on-screen was enough to earn a perfect performance. Easy mode on Just Dance 3 tracks only your upper body, which is reminiscent of the Wii play mode, while normal mode tracks the full body. Just Dance 3, on Kinect at least, will punish you for laziness. The tracklist is fantastic, with songs for all audiences, and the motion tracking is more than sufficient.

There is no sense of progression or achievement in unlocking songs like you find in certain other dancing games. All of the licensed songs are available to you the first time you load up the disc. It is also not tiered by difficulty like the way other dancing games organize the tracklist, which can make it a bit difficult to hit up just the easy or just the insanely hard songs. The only sense of progression that Just Dance 3 gives you is in the bonus generic mix tracks that can be unlocked by earning Mojo after each dance. As you earn Mojo, you continue to unlock generic dance mixes.

This is a more difficult game than other dancing games, as well. There is no training mode associated with each song to give you a preview of each dance move contained in the track you’re about to groove to. You pretty much have to start the song and figure it out as you go. Not a natural dancer? You may have a hard time remembering the moves, or figuring them out from the move indicator at the bottom of the screen.

Just Dance 3 has two features that set it apart from the rest of the Kinect dance offerings: Just Create, and four player dancing. Just Create is a fantastic mode that allows you to choreograph your own dances to the licensed songs, then upload your dances to the Just Dance 3 server for others to see and play. This is great for either professional level dancers who want to apply their own real choreography to the songs they love, or dancing fools to just flail around on screen for three minutes then force it down the throats of everyone else with the game. Four player dancing is also very cool, especially in party situations. In four player songs, which unfortunately only account for less than a quarter of the game’s total tracklist, there are synchronized sections, and there are sections where certain dancers will have different moves than other dancers. The implementation is great, I just wish you could do it to more than ten songs.

Now available for the first time on all three major platforms (Wii, Kinect for Xbox 360, and Move for Playstation 3), Just Dance 3 translates well from its Wii origins onto the other motion platforms. Is it perfect? No. You don’t have an option for walking you through the required moves for a dance, so you’re left to kind of figure it out as you go and keep retrying to improve your score. The simultaneous four player capability is good, but limited to less than a quarter of the game’s songs. There’s no progression on the tracklist, as far as unlocking licensed tracks is concerned; everything is available straightaway. Is it fun? Yes. Aside from the complaints, Just Dance 3 provides a great party experience. While other dancing games may offer a more engrossing and long-term single player experience, Just Dance 3 is a wonderful translation of a heavy-hitting dance game, with a fantastic tracklist to shake it to. On top of that, the Just Create mode will keep you dancing ridiculously for a long while.

Review

ProsCons
Great tracklist
Good full-body motion tracking
Four player capability
Create mode
No training on dance moves beforehand
Four player capability limited to a quarter of the tracklist
No progression on unlocking licensed tracks; all available from start
Rating
80 out of 100

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