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Just Dance

Review: Just Dance 2016

Nov 09 // Caitlin Cooke
Just Dance 2016 (Xbox One [reviewed], Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Wii)Developer: UbisoftPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $49.99 (Just Dance Unlimited streaming service is an additional $6.99/month, 39.99/year)Release Date: October 20, 2015  In addition to the usual modes in the Just Dance series there are a few new ones present to provide different offerings to newcomers and spice things up a bit for seasoned players. Along with the normal competitive Dance Party mode, you can now play cooperatively with other players and work together to reach a high score. Dance Quest is also new, showcasing an interesting concept where you compete against a robot leaderboard and move through the ranks in a set playlist. World Video Challenge allows players to compete with people from around the world in a pre-recorded environment, and Showtime is the most different of the bunch, essentially allowing players to participate in glorified karaoke. Perhaps one of the most useful features to be carried over from Just Dance 2015 is the ability to play the game without a Kinect by holding your smartphone, and allowing up to six players to join in. The Kinect seems to be a forgotten accessory these days as the game no longer supports menu navigation through Kinect, rather players need to use the controller to scroll through. I find this to be a win in my book as I never felt as if it did a good enough job of tracking navigation anyway. The phone navigation is fairly smooth overall but with a limited interface compared to using the controller. I also found the phone tracking buggy at times and even less reliable than using the Kinect to play. For example, if my phone had some kind of notification (like a low battery indicator) go off, it paused the game mid-dance. This caused a lot of frustration since I didn’t really feel like disabling notifications every time I turned the game on. However, I do feel the added flexibility of allowing smartphone play is worth it overall and I’m glad they included it again. Unfortunately the meat of the game, the song list, is lackluster. Recent hits seem sparse, and the variety of genres and time periods also seem to be missing. A majority of the music combs sub-par top hits from the past five years, with only a few one-off gems out of the bunch. I would have liked to see more hits from the '80s and '90s, or at the least better songs from recent years. The choreography for the most part seems lacking across the board with a few exceptions. Perhaps it’s impossible to raise the bar here with six other versions behind its back, or maybe it's betting on the unlimited streaming service to fill the gaps. Some of the dances stand out -- for example, in “Under the Sea” you mimic Ariel and have to sit down, using arm movements and moving your “fins” to the beat. There are also a few interesting choices that mix the game up including a kung-fu style choreographed segment, an Irish dance, and a song featuring Hatsune Miku. These are the high points of the game, especially if you love making your friends dance to silly songs. Outside of this, it’s standard pop fare. The new Showtime mode isn’t much to talk about unless you enjoy humiliating your friends, in which case it’s a complete masterpiece. There is no set choreography, just pure singing and forming your own dance moves to an effects-driven video filled with overlays. It’s not something I enjoyed doing on my own, but watching friends go through it was delightful. I do however wish it offered more songs as you can only pick from a handful -- I suppose designing those overlays and graphics takes a lot of time. The game overall feels a bit limited -- despite all of the new modes, it doesn’t seem very open in terms of what you can do. For example, the Showtime and other video uploads only show a few brief clips from other players around the world, and there isn’t really any way to sort or find new videos -- it only shows you what’s popular and what’s most recent. I was also disappointed that Dance Quest mode, although a bright concept, was extremely limited in that you’re dancing against robot scores (not real people) and you’re not able to create playlists or jump around to different quests. Despite my qualms, I had fun playing Just Dance 2016 -- but then again, it’s hard not to. It’s still a favored party game and one that has almost perfected the fun-for-all game model. Heck, it’s reached a point where it’s thrown in some mediocre new modes and a subscription model just to keep itself fresh, so in some cases you can call this a success. However you can also say that Just Dance is a dying breed, one that is taking its last breath to capitalize on the streaming craze that’s enveloped our little gaming world. I say we don’t think about it too deeply, and just dance. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Just Dance 2016 photo
I've had a little bit too much (much)
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$40, 10 songs

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Ubisoft has earned Electronic Arts level hate as a publisher, but I am curious who bears responsibility in this meager Yo-Kai Watch offering. Level-5 has been going fucking ham on the seemingly Pokemon-popular Yo-Kai Watch. E...
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Yokai Watch x Just Dance

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Just Dance

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Unless you're rocking a 2004 Razr
Jun 15
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EA Xbox One sale

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I'm tempted
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More Just Dance stuff

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And I'm really starting to get sick of this Pharrell song
Jun 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Just Dance 2015 and Just Dance Now are things that are happening, Ubisoft announced today. The former looks to be the next iteration of the series you've become accustomed to seeing on consoles over the past few years. Just Dance Now, however, will make use of your phone. Now you can bump and grind on the go. You can dance everywhere, guys. Because you totally couldn't do that before.

Ubisoft shares the top 20 game franchises of the last 9 years

Also Assassin's Creed IV moved 11 million units
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Now you can dance to PSY's other song that sounds like the first one...hopefully
Jun 10
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'Gangnam Style' now available in Just Dance 4

Watch gameplay here
Nov 20
// Dale North
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Heeey, sexy lady: 'Gangnam Style' comes to Just Dance 4

*does horse dance move*
Oct 19
// Dale North
Op! Op, op, op! Hey, sexy ladies: The ridiculously popular dance song by Korean artist Psy, "Gangnam Style," is coming to dance game Just Dance 4 as DLC. That's...fantastic! “Gangnam Style and Just Dance 4, I can&r...

You should Just Dance (4) for Justin Bieber's 2012 tour

Sep 17
// Dale North
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Assassin's Creed III playable at San Diego Comic-Con

Jul 09
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E3: Rapper Flo Rida introduces us to Just Dance 4

Jun 04
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All Mega64 wants for Christmas is Just Dance 3

Dec 21
// Tony Ponce
When game publishers ask Mega64 to make a commercial for one of their upcoming titles, do they go in with any knowledge of Mega64's body of work? Do they just think, "Oh! Funny Internet people! Here's some money. Send us the video by Wednesday"? Anyway, here's the Mega64 Just Dance 3 commercial. I said, "What the fudge?" at the 1:38 mark. Mega64: "DANCEMAS" Just Dance 3 Commercial [YouTube]

Just Dance 3 boasts some impressive stats

Dec 19
// Brett Zeidler
There's no getting around it; the Just Dance series is huge. Like, really huge. Here's some stats to put it into perspective. Since launching back in October, Just Dance 3 has a total of 8.4 million players. According to Ubis...

Just Dance Kids 2 hits North America this October

Aug 22
// Jordan Devore
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Just Dance 2 breaks 5 million in US sales

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Just Dance 3 video wants you to Just Create

Aug 01
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Recently, Ubisoft announced Just Create mode for Just Dance 3. And I know how much y'all love the series. This latest video features young, attractive people being silly in front of their televisions. Joking aside, these gam...

Two adorable twins rock Just Dance 2

Jul 24
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Two little kids rock the hell out of Just Dance 2. You'd think that's all it would take to make this the most adorable video ever but then one of them starts to sing along to Outkasts's "Hey Ya." Too cute. If you haven't died yet from the cuteness, then check out their YouTube channel for a couple of more videos.

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