November 02, 2015

Just Dance 2016 - Review

Coming out of the Wii era, Just Dance was without a doubt the biggest hit, the game was super easy to understand and who does not love to dance. Over the years though, the series has struggled to keep things fresh, but this year things are changing.

Right off the bat, you will notice that things are different the game now allows you to use a compatible smart phone to use as a controller, which also allows for more players, so even more people can get in on the fun. Once you are into the main menu, you can select the type of game you want to play, of which there are a few options, returning is the standard dance mode, the puppet master mode also make a return and karaoke is also returning. What are new are Showtime dances, where select songs have custom themes around them, so if you dance along to You’re The One That I Want from Grease, a lot of the stuff on screen is themed like it was from the movie.

What is different is the way the songs are presented, first up is the songs from this year’s game in alphabetical order, but as you scroll down the list, you will see different categories, there are ones for single players, those who like to dance a duet and so on, Katy Perry gets a section to herself as there have been quite a number of songs from her over the years, but below all that is where the newest and best addition to the game comes from, Just Dance Unlimited. Just Dance has always been known for selecting some of the hottest songs to include in their game, but some years they add some really bad ones, of course there are also fan favorites, which upset people when they can’t play them again in the latest version, with Just Dance Unlimited, you now can.

Just Dance Unlimited is a subscription service, that once you opt in, you will have access to all of the songs previously released for Just Dance, from the very first game up to last year’s release. Playing the songs is as simple as scrolling through and finding the one you want, then the game will stream the song for you and you play as normal. While a wonderful idea, in my time using I did experience some quality drops in the video and even the odd disconnect with the servers, now while the quality of the video was annoying, the song still kept playing, which I was thankful for, the disconnect was another problem as the game dropped me all the way out to the start screen and I had to navigate back to where I was. But for how many songs I did play using JDU, the number of issues were minor, so its not something that impacted too much.

Of course, as that is a premium service, most players will just stick with the songs located on the disc and this year, they are as varied as ever, with some really impressive choices and others again asking who chooses this music. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, One Direction and Ellie Goulding all make appearances alongside long stays Britney Spears, Black Eyed Peas and more, depending on your choice of music the songs will either make you happy or make you cringe, but no matter your style, there are some really, really bad songs on the disc. I am talking about the Angry Birds theme, Chiwawa and Ievan Polkka, the series has used older songs before and even instrumental songs, but never has it placed three songs on the one disc that are ripe for causing you to turn the game off.

The Angry Birds theme is just boring to listen to at the best of times, let alone to dance to, Ievan Polkka comes from the digital Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku and while, in her own games the songs make sense, here it is just out of place, but the award for the worst song ever included in a Just Dance game, including the Disney and Kids spin offs has to go to Chiwawa, the song is just irritating to no end, it has no lyrical sense, the melody is all over the place and even if you try to get past all that the video that plays is so random that it is hard to track anything.  The song was created for Just Dance exclusively and while it was a collaborative event the song is created to the name of the artist Wanko Ni Mero Mero which roughly translated to English means Drunk dog has fallen down, which explains a lot.

Looking past those poor additions, the rest of the song list is really balanced and players will find quite a lot to enough to enjoy, the new showtime modes are a lot of fun and along with. The game is still sporting that stylized look it has, with costumed dancers showing you the moves, with their costumes being somewhat related to the theme of the song. The songs that contain multiple dancers can be very nice to watch, with some of the choreography being really nice, though if you have a camera connected to your console just watch out as the game will record you dancing and sometimes, your moves are not as great as those of the people on screen. In fact you can even share your own dancing moves online for all to see, if you so desire and even the showtime modes allow for that option.

Just Dance Unlimited really opens up the series and with the promise of new songs to come, it offers up so much more than just what the disc contains. Fans of the series will appreciate all the changes the game offers and newcomers will like just how straight up simple it is.

Thanks to Ubisoft Australia for supplying the game for review

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