First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Just Dance 3
Just Dance 3 is a must have for people who enjoy casual or party games
- Great track list
- Entertaining gameplay
- It’s a casual party game, so Call of Duty elitists need not apply
Ubisoft’s third shot at a very good franchise is the best to date. Well worth looking into if you enjoy fun.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
Last year’s Just Dance 2 was the very textbook case of a great party-cum-casual game. It was accessible — anyone that picked up the Nintendo Wiimote would be playing within five minutes, and most importantly, it was fun.
It didn’t matter that Just Dance 2 itself was an inexact science — the approximate attempt to read player’s movements and match them with the on-screen prompts didn’t always work, but then it didn’t matter. It was still possible to get better at the game — with practice you’d be earning higher scores for each dance, and scoring well still required a strong sense of rhythm (the key component of dancing (or so we're told - Ed)) so even if you weren’t matching the on-screen dancers, if you were scoring well you were doing something right.
If you hadn’t played the previous game, a quick summary: you take the Wii’s motion controller in your hand (you don’t need Wii Motion Plus, so the regular controller will do), and mimic what an on-screen, neon-coloured person is doing, in time with one of a wide variety of dance tracks. That basic formula has not changed across the core Just Dance games, nor the variety of spin-off titles (such as Dance on Broadway or The Michael Jackson experience).
Which brings us to Just Dance 3. It’s much the same game as the previous one, but slightly better. Slightly better purely because the track list is more rounded — there are few musical duds in the 50-odd song list, and everyone is going to find something they can jig out to (Jig? Really? - Ed). It’s slightly better because the choreography is more refined: still simple to follow, but the movements the game asks for this time around are a little less silly, and a little closer to something you’d find in a Zumba workout.
Those are intangibles, but they make for an overall package that just feels a bit more refined. It’s good to see Ubisoft has kept working on the core gameplay, rather than rest on its laurels after the success of the previous iteration.
There’s been bigger steps taken when it comes to the more “gamey” elements. Previous Just Dance games have had everything unlocked from the first time you put the disc in the slot. With nothing to unlock, and with scoring being unreliable thanks to the occasionally inaccurate controls, there was little reason to play, other than as a bit of fun in a party scenario.
Now, there’s stuff to unlock, and achievements to gun for. Doing well at the various tracks earns stars. The more stars you earn, the more stuff is unlocked, and while they’re just alternative play modes and different choreographies (there’s no music to unlock, since it’s all there from the outset), they help provide a tangible feeling of progress to the play time.
The achievements are the standard list of medals that are earned for hitting milestones. Getting all of there is going to take work; one requires you don’t make a single mistake for a whole track, for instance. Again, it’s a simple way to reward players for spending time in the game, but it’s something that wasn’t present beforehand.
The game is expandable via DLC tracks. They’re charged at 300 Nintendo Wii Points ($4.50) each, and provide a complete new track with choreography. It’s good enough value, and it’s the exact same system carried over from the previous game. What is really, really disappointing is that the tracks you downloaded for Just Dance 2 don’t carry on. Hopefully for Ubisoft’s sake it’s not planning on re-releasing those same tracks and attempting to make people pay for the content twice.
That small gripe aside, Just Dance 3 is a must have for people who enjoy casual or party games. It’s not perfect in terms of gameplay, but this is one of those rare cases where having precise controls is completely unnecessary. Stick the game in and just get dancing; that’s where the title of the game comes from, and most importantly, that is fun.
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