Just Dance 3 Review
A fun party title that brings one of the better dance franchises to Kinect
So far, Kinect for Xbox 360 has often failed to make a significant impact amongst hardcore gaming enthusiasts. Just Dance 3 isn’t going to change that - however, it fits perfectly with the target casual audience of the device. This latest title from Ubisoft is a fine example of how jumping around in front of your TV can not only be fun but also organized and in style.
The earlier versions of Just Dance (1 and 2 were only released on the Wii) relied heavily on simple dance choreography to qualify as a dance game, due to the Wii’s control limitations. So you could literally strap the Wii Remote to your hand and move one hand only - all the while squatting on the floor, and still earn points. With Just Dance 3 and Kinect, the game now tracks your entire body movements thanks to the technology, thus keeping the general principle same but also making you actually dance.
The Gameplay is pretty straightforward. The player performs a dance routine, while human shaped icons at the bottom of the screen prompt you what the next step is going to be. A score tracker on the left side of the screen keeps a track of the score. A score ball displays accuracy and rhythm while stars are given to indicate how well you are dancing. While the icons at the bottom of the screen are helpful, the dancer on-screen provides more clues on the next dance move. All dances follow the 8 step routine - a sequence is repeated after a chorus or a verse and it becomes important to recognise the patterns for success.
Everything works well as expected, and most of the problems, which aren’t frequent, arise from the inaccuracy of captured moves by Kinect. The game’s difficulty curve is relatively low, so playing with little effort can still earn you big scores. Kinect’s tracking accuracy makes the game easy most of the time and impossible at others. Missing moves may sometimes still register in the game, but on many occasions doing something perfectly simply won’t get tracked by the game.
Players can increase their score by collecting bonus points, which are awarded for performing golden moves. These are special moves that you are asked to perform during your dance routine at various intervals, which grand bonus points and are extra difficult. After each song, based on your performance, your Mojo (the experience point system) is calculated. The more Mojo you accumulate over the course of the game, the more options of choreography and modes become available to you.
A song’s individual difficulty level can also be changed simply by holding up one arm after selecting the track. Easy level tracks only use upper body movements, whereas difficult level tracks require the player to really dance, using full body motions. The score ball is the sole performance indicator, thus it is difficult to gauge how to enhance your performance if you have missed a part of the choreographed sequence. It is difficult to know what went wrong - whether it was your hands, legs, or timing. The visuals, which are a cross between bright neon colours and old-school music videos, do add a certain fun factor to the atmosphere. Everything is very casual, but looks good at the same time.
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