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Review: Just Dance 2017

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Are we still doing Gaga song jokes in 2017

Time and time again we've seen third-party publishers pledge their loyalty to a new system, only to pull out at the first sign of danger. Perhaps the most egregious case in recent memory deals with EA and the Wii U. It vowed to support the system with heavy-hitters, put Mass Effect 3 on it, then called it a day.

Some stuck around longer, like Ubisoft, but eventually gave up on the system. I hope they end up putting out more than Just Dance 2017 (a game with "2017" in the title that was released in 2016, and is now being re-released in 2017) and a few other ports this time around on the Switch.

Just Dance 2017 (PC, Nintendo Switch [reviewed], PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, Xbox One)
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: October 25, 2016 / March 3, 2017 (Switch)
MSRP: $49.99

For those who are wondering, the Switch version uses the same controller option as the other versions. Both the Joy-Con and mobile devices are supported, and the latter was incredibly easy to set up. I basically just downloaded the app, and it synced with my console within seconds (it even found a PS4 randomly) without an annoying Uplay sign-in requirement. The only hang-up is that if you leave the app you'll need to reconnect, but I found it to be very accurate, and swapped between it and the Joy-Con for the purposes of this review with ease.

So with the same control method, the gist is equally samey. You're moving with the on-screen prompts, dancing about with an accurate enough reading based on where you groove. Depending on the difficulty it could involve striking a pose every so often or constantly shifting around, but the actual dance moves are well choreographed, complete with an on-screen mocap avatar (kinda, as they're real with filters). Don't think this is going to actually teach you anything though, because while I didn't have an issue getting the Joy-Con or my phone to follow along, the actual movements are pretty loose. Think of it as an arcadey experience.

The tracklist is also pretty all-encompassing when it comes to dance music, with plenty of new hits, with some Queen and Miku thrown in for good measure. Is 40 tracks enough though? I'm teetering on the edge of "no," even if its biggest competitor, Dance Central 3, debuted with roughly the same amount -- 47. The biggest holdup is that Just Dance, in the past several years, has become a delivery system for Just Dance Unlimited, a subscription service that's priced at $4.99 a month (with discounts for multi-month subs).

It sports exclusive songs and a 200 strong setlist to stream, and the Switch version comes with three months by default -- which brings it in line with the "Gold" edition on other platforms, price-wise (in other words, this isn't as much of a crash-grab as it could have been on the Switch). I would have preferred an a la carte system as an option, or even a Guitar Hero Live (RIP) "earn free plays" mechanic, but the wax-on-wax-off subscription model, where you can fork over $5 and play a ton before canceling, is fair enough.

While there's only so much you can do with a dancing game concept, after playing so much Dance Central over the years, the ancillary modes all seem pretty rote. There's a loose campaign (that's not really engaging enough to follow through with), free play, and a bare-bones weight loss mode. "Dance Machine" attempts to try something new, randomizing routines under the guise of helping aliens refuel their ship, but I found myself just gravitating back toward freeplay after a few rounds.

Just Dance 2017 isn't a bad port on the Switch by any means. If you have a family that doesn't mind looking stupid in front of the TV together, it's easy enough to scrape together a collective of Joy-Con and mobile controllers to have a party (easier than it is for say, Bomberman R or Fast RMX, for instance). Plus, the three months of Unlimited will last you long enough to likely get your money's worth.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Just Dance 2017 reviewed by Chris Carter

6.5

ALL RIGHT

Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy it a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures


 


 


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