Review

Just Dance 3 Review (Xbox360)

A lot of throwaway pop songs have got stuck in my head this year. Every genre seems to have converged into one mainstream juggernaut that continues to roll towards the hills of unoriginality. The oddest thing? Many of these songs have been terrible, and yet, I've secretly liked them. Nicole Scherzinger put it best when she thoughtfully quipped, “Me like the way that you kiss my yeah yeah yeah yeah me like it.” You know what? Me like it. This is something Ubisoft aim to capitalise on with Just Dance 3, as they sacrifice the intelligence of Kinect's full capabilities for a mindless jig about the living room.

That's not to say mindless isn't fun. If this series wants to achieve anything, it's to get you out of your seat with a bunch of friends. It wants to provide a laugh. There's no Dance Central 2 brutality, so don't expect to be shown where you're going wrong. Most of the time, you'll wonder how intricately this title is picking up your movements. With little direction and little feedback on screen, your best bet is to watch the virtual dancers and try to copy their moves. It's silly, and those who want to improve their dance skills will be disappointed, but that's not really what the game is about.

It's time to get funky

Instead, the emphasis here is put on cheesy fun. This notion runs throughout the entire game, most obviously with the vibrant graphical style. The screen is full of colour, as dancers strut their stuff in flamboyant style. While the choreography is impressively executed, it's the mirror image of you and your friends struggling to keep up that provides the greatest source of entertainment. With songs from artists such as Black Eyed Peas, Daft Punk, Katy Perry and Aretha Franklin, there's a great spread of dance classics from the last few decades. Sure, California Gurls might not be everyone's thing, but there's bound to be a number of tracks that creates a natural head bop that only means one thing; it's time to dance.

One of this game's best new additions is the ability to have four players on screen at once. It's clear that choreography has been fine-tuned to ensure each player will leave their dignity at the door, and that's definitely no bad thing. There's plenty of hilarious moves to pull off, including The Running Man, and a number of other classic skits that have graced the clubs across the last few decades. Dancing with three friends needs a fair bit of space, but once sorted, highlights one of the series' best improvements. Sure, the tracking of Kinect isn't well implemented here, but having a quarter perform without a Wii controller in their hand shows that Ubisoft are looking towards progression rather than simply repackaging the old formula.

It must be said, away from the multiplayer, this title does feel surprisingly redundant. Perhaps it's the lack of feedback or challenge, but there's a significant reduction in fun when taking to the floor as a lone dancer. This is one area where Dance Central 2 shows itself as a more substantial and all-round game, as it holds value outside of the party realm. With that said, if you've got younger members of the family who constantly need to be occupied, letting them play through a few tracks is a decent way to sap their energy.

Dancing with four-players is consistently frantic fun

As an added bonus for 360 players, you can create and share your routines online via Just Create. This is remarkably simple, as you pick a section from a song or full track, and show the world what you can do. Think you're the best dancer? Now's the time to prove it. Tokens are used to share your videos, but fear not, these are topped up on a weekly basis.

Although it doesn't push any boundaries, Just Dance 3 is a decent addition to the much-loved series. The track listing and sheer sense of fun makes up for poor usage of Kinect, but there's plenty of room for improvement in the next iteration. More style than substance, if you're looking for a tough, constantly challenging stint in front of the bright lights, Dance Central 2 remains the best choice. If, however, you fancy some instant fun, Just Dance 3 might do the trick. Just don't head into this one like you've got a one-on-one date with Michael Flatley, as it's more a trip to the local rainbow with Jedward.

Top Gaming Moment: It doesn't get better than playing with a few friends.

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