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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)
Yes, another Just Dance -- the seventh in the series -- has arrived. This latest edition is no exception to the usual hallmarks that defines the series with its ease of accessibility and colorful party atmosphere. It hol...

Dancing ALL Night photo
Dancing ALL Night

Persona 4: Dancing All Night trailer rocks faces with Kung-Fu dance

Chie busts out her steak powers
Jul 30
// Brett Makedonski
Chie insists that saving people in danger is her thing. I'd contend that dancing is her thing. She sure does a lot of dancing and not a lot of saving people in this trailer. Well, unless handing out unsolicited motivational ...
Seaweed Kanji photo
Seaweed Kanji

Persona 4: Dancing All Night cross-dressing DLC trailer

Seaweed Kanji
May 22
// Steven Hansen
Sad that this has to be DLC -- Marilyn Monroe Kanji for all -- but better than nothing. Maybe for us it will be all packed in. Also, Seaweed Kanji tease at the end.
Dancing All Night photo
Dancing All Night

Margaret, Human Teddie playable in Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Don't wanna dance on Maggie's farm
May 20
// Steven Hansen
One more blonde mess of Persona 4: Dancing All Night news. The Velvet Room's Margaret will cut a velvet rug in Dancing All Night according to a recent Famitsu preview. Margaret can be unlocked for use in the game's Free Dance...

Lewd Kanji  photo
Lewd Kanji

Atlus listened! Persona 4: Dancing All Night gets sexy Kanji DLC

Atlus doesn't shrug
May 20
// Steven Hansen
I've heard Atlus shrugs, but not this time. I was pretty vocal in my disappointment with Atlus' choice to have a ladies pack of swimsuit DLC free with pre-order of Persona 4: Dancing All Night (and purchasable down the line)....
Dancing photo

Atlus shows off Persona 4: Dancing All Night swimsuit gameplay

Still disappointed, Atlus
May 15
// Steven Hansen
I already wrote about why I was disappointed in Atlus over this swimsuit DLC for Persona 4: Dancing All Night, but I know not everyone shares my overbearing principles* and would like to see the swimsuit trailer, so I will do my civic duty and post it here, on-line. *my overbearing principles involve seeing Kanji in a speedo. How the hell does he not get a swimsuit costume?
Man meat photo
Man meat

I'm not happy with the Persona 4: Dancing All Night swimsuit DLC

You know better than this, Atlus
Apr 28
// Steven Hansen
The first run of Persona 4: Dancing All Night in Japan will come with the "Woman’s Swimsuit Set." Not surprisingly, it is comprised of costumes for four of the rhythm game's characters; Chie, Yukiko, Rise, and Naoto. Th...

Review: Dance Central Spotlight

Oct 09 // Chris Carter
Dance Central Spotlight (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: HarmonixPublisher: HarmonixReleased: September 2, 2014MSRP: $9.99 (with 10 songs) First things first -- what is Spotlight? It's basically a delivery system for all the game's DLC, and a bite-sized offering of the original games. It is $9.99 at its base price, which nets you 10 songs. Every other song can be purchased for roughly $2 as DLC, and all of your past DLC will import into Spotlight (but you can't import the games proper). Here are the 10 tunes you get with the core game: "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic, "Diamonds" by Rihanna, "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, "I Wish" by Cher Lloyd, "Royals" by Lorde, "Show Me" by Kid Ink, "Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo, "#thatpower" by, "Titanium" by David Guetta, and "Wake Me Up" by Avicii. The problem right off the bat for me is that a number of these tracks aren't particularly exciting, with the exception of "Happy" -- provided that you haven't gotten sick of it yet -- and "Titanium." With a very strong core pack of songs, including a mixture of both new and old tunes, Spotlight could have been a must-buy for fans. Instead, you'll have to dig into the DLC library to get some variety, such as A-Ha's "Take on Me" and The B-52's "Love Shack." My favorite thing about Dance Central 3 was that it constantly switched between classic and modern tracks without players needing to fumble around with DLC, which isn't really represented here. [embed]282072:55913:0[/embed] Having said that, $10 isn't a bad price for a starter pack, and considering the price of past games, you can build your own library as more songs are released. Each track also sports eight routines (Beginner, Standard, Deluxe, Pro, Alternate, Cardio, Strength, Alternate Pro) in Spotlight. If you look at the core game though, Spotlight looks, feels, and controls like a full release. The Kinect movements are still accurate, you can still dance with a friend, and the routines have enough variety in them to keep you interested for at least a few sessions each. In fact, the Kinect 2.0 hardware feels even more accurate than its predecessor, which goes a long way if you're a perfectionist. I definitely can't state that strongly enough -- fans who have played past games in the series will pick up on the enhanced accuracy. One of the best parts of Spotlight is the instant practice mode concept. All you have to do is basically ask Kinect to practice in the middle of a song, and it will take you to another screen that lets you learn a part you're having trouble with. In the past you either had to practice the entire tune or skip to a certain part with multiple clicks, so having this instant mechanic is great for mastering that one part you always screw up. Gone is a lot of the charm that came with Dance Central 3's campy "crews" -- instead, you're going to see a lot less flair and just straight gameplay. That may be a good thing for a lot of people who disliked the goofiness of the series, but for me it's all part of what makes Dance Central unique. As a side note, a few features have also been cut, like H-O-R-S-E, eight-person multiplayer (it only supports two now), and Kinect photo sessions, though fitness mode is still in, with some improvements like more workout tweaks. Although most people won't really notice the enhancements, if you still play fitness mode to this day Spotlight is probably worth the upgrade. If you have an Xbox 360 and a Kinect handy, you'd be better off just picking up prior Dance Central games on the cheap and reaping the benefits of an extended library, better multiplayer, and more game modes. But for everyone else who bought an Xbox One and has a Kinect collecting dust, it's a great way to bring some life to your next party.
Dance Central review photo
A bite-sized performance
[Disclosure: Nick Chester, who is currently employed at Harmonix, previously worked at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.] Although it's been a lot tougher to ge...

Persona 4 Dancing photo
Persona 4 Dancing

Persona 4: Dancing All Night delayed in Japan

Atlus pushes rhythm game back to 2015
Sep 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Persona 4: Dancing All Night has been delayed in Japan, Atlus has announced. The rhythm game was scheduled to debut this autumn, but is now postponed until next year. No word on how this impacts the western release of the Pl...
Seriously, take five minutes of your day to learn about this wonderful title
Bounden is launching next week on May 21 for iOS. The game is launching for Android as well, but they've had to push back the release as developing on Android is quite the challenge. There's a Vine that quickly shows how all...

Bounden photo
All of Dtoid's PAX East 2014 videos right here!
PAX East was completely bonkers this year. There was a marked decrease in big publisher representation, with Microsoft showing strictly old stuff and Nintendo and Sony bowing out completely. The indies more than made up for ...

Crypt of the Necrodancer  photo
Crypt of the Necrodancer

You can play Crypt of the Necrodancer with a DDR mat

Looking at doing a Kickstarter to get people brand new dance pads
Apr 15
// Steven Hansen
The infectiously rhythmic Crypt of the Necrodancer (I hardly even know her!) was one of our games of the show last year at PAX Prime. It's back at PAX East, so Holmes tried to do an interview while playing. On a DDR mat. Whi...
Hyperdimension Neptunia photo
Hyperdimension Neptunia

Hyperdimension Neptunia PP dances west this June

Gamindustri's CPUs take the take this summer on PS Vita
Apr 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Hypderdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is shimmying over to North America on June 3 and then Europe just three days later, NIS America has announced. The PlayStation Vita idol game stars the heroines of Compile Heart's RPG series, and asks players to manage the ladies' dancing and singing careers. Are you up to the challenge?

I danced at GDC today in front of God and country playing Bounden

Dancing in the streets
Mar 18
// Dale North
I danced in the park today. While everyone else was in meeting rooms, I did turns and pirouettes in Yerba Buena Gardens as the sun beamed down and cherry blossoms fluttered by in the soft spring breeze. This all may sound lovely, but I looked like a dork out there in front of everyone. But I'm not ashamed because it was a lot of fun.
ATLUS photo

Persona 4: Dancing All Night waltzes to PS Vita next fall

This is a thing that's happening!
Nov 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Put this atop the list of things you never knew you always wanted. Persona 4: Dancing All Night is bumping and grinding its way to PlayStation Vita, Atlus announced tonight via its revelatory NicoNico broadcast. Th...
Final Fantasy dance photo
Final Fantasy dance

Final Fantasy dance choreography is the best thing

Bustin' a move to Final Fantasy VII and Lightning Returns
Jun 29
// Tony Ponce
No weak Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo jokes here. This is seriously cool. Dance choreographers Mike Song and Tony Tran whipped up a video in honor of Final Fantasy, dancing to tunes from FFVII and the upcoming Lightning Retu...
New Wii games! photo
New Wii games!

Namco Bandai reveals first footage of latest Wii project

Pretty Cure All-Stars: All Together Let's Dance video get!
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Every Viking burial needs some sacrificial offerings to help fuel the funeral pyre. As luck would have it, Namco Bandai has at least one more parting gift to present before the Wii begins its journey into the afterlife. ...

The Nintendo Wii lives on thanks to Namco Bandai

Hope you like importing anime dancing games...
Dec 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Things have been pretty dire for Wii owners for a good long while now. And now that Nintendo has the Wii U to worry about, things aren't likely to ever improve on that front. In fact, the platform holder doesn't currently hav...
Trashcan dance is real!
[Update: Contest closed! Winner announced here.] Today is the last day to shake your ass in front of a webcam to win a copy of the Persona 4 Golden Premium Edition for PS Vita. Inspired by the fantastic opening intro song for...

Shake your booty for a Persona 4 Golden Premium Edition

Nov 13 // Dale North
Do the trashcan dance!
[Update: Contest closed! Winner announced here.] I have here one brand new, sealed copy of Persona 4 Golden Premium Edition. For you. These are super hard to come by (only 10,000 made) and are worth their weight in gold (see ...

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