With the release of Ubisoft’s dance title for the Nintendo Wii we GamesMediaPro gives their opinion of the popular moving and grooving title.
Never having really been the most talented of hipshakers, I kind of leave the Travolts-esque finger pointings to the next man as opposed to strutting my stuff on the dance floor of my local nightclub. No matter that the admiring girls would be able to tell that I was, indeed, a ‘woman’s man’ by the way I ‘used my walk,’ it just never has been my strongest point. The saying ‘two left feet’ is so apt in my particular case, that it may well be daubed on my headstone when I shuffle of to that great videogame Heaven in the sky.
So it was with great surprise to me then that when I loaded up the new Just Dance 2 title from Ubisoft that I found myself fully taking advantage of the party game atmosphere that my wife and I had set up to review the game, by inviting round a few select friends who always turn up with a couple of bottles of a particularly nice claret. The stage set and the vocal chords well and truly, ahem, ‘lubricated‘ shall we say, we began. Here was happened:
To get the best out of Ubisoft’s title we fully recommend that you play the game as the developers intended it to be enjoyed, ad that is with a group of friends at an event of family gathering and just get on the dance floor, forget your inhibitions and just have plain old fun with the title. The gameplay is as easy to understand as, well…1,2,3. You just load up the game and follow the onscreen prompts to ‘mimic’ the moves that your cyber partner demonstrates and Robert’s your Mother’s brother. It’s just that simple. The premise of the game from start to finish is to have fun and that is exactly what you will be having with a game that is almost like the karaoke version of Strictly Come Dancing.
The modes are available in a variety of guises to have you puffing and panting your way towards dance hall supremacy, with the most memorable being the aptly titled Just Sweat mode. There are also the stand out sections of the Dance Battle and the rather excellent Just Dance mode from which the game takes its name.
In Just Dance the gameplay focuses on a Free Play form of delivery with the option of taking on up to four players in a competitive, albeit friendly, style of dance off match. Contained within the mode are the three options of Solo, Duet and Medley. Whereas the Solo and Duet follow the set format of a normal music composition, Medley is far more challenging in that it does not adhere to a strict regimen of set rhythm. The pitches and movements can vary considerably and as such are the ones that will offer up the most comedic of moments for those members of your party that are ‘ dance challenged.’
Getting underway, as we have already stated is so easy in Just Dance 2. Once you get the game in your console and you hand a Wii Mote to each player its off to the disco with you all. Each persons character is easily recognisable by the different coloured glove that each avatar carries as indication of your dancer. The scoring system is not too complicated either, however just waving your arms around like a drunken madman does not achieve a high score as some would like you to believe. Though the game is designed for fun there is still the obvious need for players to put in some kind of effort, and if gamers are thinking that there is a lack of true skill or talent involved then they will need to rethink their strategy.
The Dance Battle mode is a perfect example of this. In the Free For All of Dance Battle players compete against in each other on a four-wat dance off as they strive to show their friends all of the moves that the have picked up whilst ‘swinging their pants’ at the local hop. In Team Battle, however, two teams of four will take on the best of what each side has to offer as the competitive side of the game comes out in the points scoring system. In Team Battle players will have to take it in turns to compete in five separate events that consist of showdowns such as Race where you must be the first to reach a specific score. In another cracking little mode called Simon Says players are asked, or told not to, perform specific actions as they shake their thing along to the music. To be honest with you all Simon Says is where we had some of our best fun. The music is cracking and the mix up of the set play with the unpredictability of the random nature of the Simon Says round makes for some golden moments of mirth as players attempt to ape their avatars and copy their every moves.
Last, but by no means least comes the Just Sweat mode. As hunted at earlier this is a mode which lives up to its name as it will see you all getting put through your paces in a kind of ‘Aerob-icise’ format. The format is similar to going to a Dance Yourself Fit lesson as you decide which setting best suits your physical prowess and from there on in you will dance those unwanted pounds away as you develop those lovely curves that have been missing for so long. With the option to set the mode to Mild, Tough or the strenuous Intense setting this is one of the games area’s that we can say best works as a solo player and is where, we feel, will add to the gamer getting added longevity from Ubisoft’s party favourite.
Although none of the games modes are available for online play this is not necessarily a bad thing, as really the game is best enjoyed in a party atmosphere amongst friends and loved ones, or as a single play fitness regime utilizing the Just Sweat mode to its full capabilities.
With the promise of affordable additional content being promised and confirmed by Ubisoft, there is always going to be another reason to fish out your copy during get-together’s and take advantage of the excellent soundtrack that comes along with the game. Everyone from The Jackson’s to the posturing’s of the rubber-lipped one himself is in included in the games musical line up as you bounce around your living room doing your very best to pout along to Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones. All in all there are well in excess of forty quality tracks for you to strut your stuff too.
So will there be Dancing in the Streets after you purchase your copy of Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2? Or will you be left feeling hard done by? The answer is a that the title is a resounding success. The graphics are very pleasing to the eye, and suit the gameplay extremely well. The sound quality of the first class playlist shines through in every track as you happily bounce along to timeless classics and rousing anthemic tunes. A really enjoyable title from Ubisoft that will have gamers of all ages putting on ‘ their Red Shoes and dancing the Blues’, as a certain Thin White Duke once sang. Top marks for a top game.
Graphics: Whilst not being over complicated to bemuse and confuse the players, Ubisoft have, it seems, found the perfect blend of simplicity and genius to marry genuinely enjoyable music and gameplay to produce a great looking game that will have you shaking your ‘thang‘ for a long time yet. 7
Gameplay: Again Ubisoft have managed to take what could have been an awkward translation and managed to turn a frog into a beautiful Dancing Queen. The ease at which gamers young and old are able to pick up their Wiimote’s and just jump right in and have a whale of a time is a true testament to the genius behind the game’s development. 8
RePlay Value: One of those games that you just know is going to be brought out time and again at family functions, get together’s and parties. The modes are a joy to play, and the music is top-notch. Top this off with the fact that the already cracking 40-odd track’s will be added to with a veritable plethora of downloadable content, and you just know that come the festive seasons, of next year or even the year after that, parties won’t be the same without a spot of Just Dance 2 to get the party going. 8
Presentation: Simplicity and satisfaction all rolled into one thoroughly enjoyable package as Ubisoft top the dance charts once again. Just Dance 2 has class and quality oozing out of every track in its forty-something playlist, and in every line of its coding too. The ease of the gameplay makes for a truly enjoyable experience that all the family can take part in. Great graphic’s that soothe the eye, as opposed to leaving you requiring to lie in a darkened room for twenty minutes after playing it, marry the supreme gameplay and sound quality perfectly. A really fun game that will have even the most reserved of gamer dancing the night away. Great stuff again from the award-winning developers. 8