When I think of simultaneous multiplayer on the Kinect, I think of having more than two people playing. Even then with just two players Kinect does have a hard time tracking two bodies at once resulting in players’ avatars getting swapped in the middle of the game. I bring this up because the “sequel to the world’s #1 best-selling dance game brand”, Just Dance 3, has made it all the way over from the Wii to the Xbox 360 and Kinect. So how well does the game make transition to the 360?
Varied Tracks to Boogie on Down - Right off the bat, when you pop in Just Dance 3, 40 songs are already unlocked to dance your little heart out to. The songs are from a variety of music genres ranging from top 40’s, regional and disco. JD3 has a bit of everything which is nice to have. The songs also range from duets to a four person group with each person given their own dance moves depending on the song. Another good point for JD3 is that the songs are the full length versions of the songs.
Bringing the Crew Together - The main draw of JD is that up to four people can dance at the same time. JD3 for the Kinect ups the ante by allowing four people to dance at the same time, a first for any dancing game for the Kinect. As stated before some of the tracks will have up to four avatars to follow and each person can chose to follow one and perform their dance moves.
Extra Spring to That Step - JD3 is full of extra content that can be unlocked with Mojo. This extra content ranges from unlockable songs, new dance routines for some songs, additional avatars, new modes and much more. My favorite of the unlocked content are the dance mix ups. Dance mix ups are different moves from other songs that get interjected into a selected song. These extras give JD3 high replay value.
Show 'Em Your Moves - Think you can dance better than in screen avatars? Well its time to put your skills to the test. JD3 allows for players to create their own routines in the Just Create mode. Here you can craft your best dance and save it so that other can download it and dance to it. This is a pretty unique idea and it will be interesting to see what the community comes up with.
TWO LEFT FEET
Lazy Port - I was really expecting much more from JD3. What I mean by that is for the Kinect version, I was expecting for Ubisoft to use the same motion software that was used in Michael Jackson: The Experience. In that game, it used motion software that was used in “Your Shape Fitness Evolved”, which captured players’ movements very accurately. This software rivaled the accuracy of Dance Central’s software and could have made for some realistic choreography. Instead of using that, JD3 ports the Wii version of the game and adds the Kinect’s motion capture.
Clear the Dance Floor - In my Rise of Nightmares review, I stated that it was a floor hog. Well that’s nothing compared to JD3. One person it can handle. Two people might have a bit of trouble, but after coordinating with each other, its ok. But once you get three to four people dancing at the same time, the Kinect has a bit of a problem tracking everyone, especially if it’s a song that gives each player their own individual moves. One of the more problematic moves that best exemplify this are moves that require the whole group moving in front of each other. There were times when at first I was the blue player and after doing a move with my partner I ended up as the red player. This gets confusing really fast, even more so when the songs get long.
Clunky Menu Interface - To add to being a lazy port, JD3 suffers from a very clunky interface. Just going through the main menu was a bit of a pain and after a while I ended up having to use the 360 controller. Ubisoft does have experience with the Kinect, having published Your Fitness and MJ The Experience. So there is no excuse for JD3 to have such a clunky interface.
Just Dance 3 is a fun dance party game, with the emphasis on the words party game. While is fun to dance to the varied set list with a group of friends at a party, the clunky interface will frustrate players. Also get ready to do heavy lifting cause with the inclusion of four simultaneous players; the play area will need to be much larger to accommodate the extra bodies. The most disappointing aspect of JD3 is that feels like a lazy port of the Wii version. Even with these big points against it, Just Dance 3 is still a fun game to have at parties. Just don’t expect to take the moves from the game and apply them to the club floor.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review copy provided by the publisher.*
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