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Just Dance 3 Review (X360 Kinect)

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Just Dance 3 Review (X360 Kinect)
Ubisoft
Dancing games have come a long way from the seemingly random steps of Dance Dance Revolution. Thanks to Kinect's fully body motion tracking, dance games are much more realistically choreographed and not just insane numbers of steps like DDR tends to be. Even with Kinect and accurate tracking of all your moves, however, there is still some wiggle room for what direction a game wants to go. Some games try to replicate the DDR experience (DanceMasters). Some games try to teach you club-worthy routines (Dance Central). Some games just want you to have fun, which is where Just Dance 3 comes in. Just Dance 3 is sort of laid back and easy, often times hilarious because the dance moves you're doing are anything but "club worthy", but it is also really, really fun because of it. Find out all of the details here in our full review.
Game Details

  • Kinect Sensor Required
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Ubisoft Paris
  • ESRB Rating: “E10" for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Dancing
  • Pros: Nice presentation; good song list; unlockable content; laid back scoring makes it fun
  • Cons: 4-player isn't going to happen for most people

Features

Just Dance has been tearing up Wii sales charts since its debut in 2009. Now the series makes its debut on Kinect with Just Dance 3, with different controls from the Wii-mote waggling of past games, of course. Kinect offers full body controls, and Just Dance 3 takes full advantage of it with accurate motion tracking and fun routines.

The menus are pretty much a direct copy of Dance Central's menu system (hey, Kinect menus are pretty important, so might as well copy the best) and work really great. The whole up or down hand motion to choose menu items, and then a left or right hand swipe to select it is pretty much perfect.

In addition to single and two-player modes, which work great, Just Dance 3 also offers up to 4-player simultaneous gameplay. This is a first for Kinect and exceeds what many folks thought possible, but it also shows why it hasn't happened before. The motion tracking for 4 players is pretty inconsistent and, frankly, good luck finding a big enough space to actually fit four people clearly in front of Kinect where you aren't smacking each other in the face. It is hard enough for a lot of people to play 1-player Kinect games in small rooms. I can't imagine most people actually getting 4-player JD3 to work right.

Just Dance 3 for Kinect (and PS3) also features an exclusive Create Mode where you can record your own dance routines with Kinect. You can then play them later with friends, or even share them online with other players. Unfortunately, you can only share a handful of select songs online and not the whole track list, but it is a nice feature nonetheless.

Gameplay

Ubisoft
As far as the actual dancing gameplay goes, Just Dance 3 hits a sweet spot between making you actually feel like you're dancing, but also never being too serious or judgemental. You play by mirroring the moves an on-screen dancer. There are also little cue cards that pop up in the corner to show you what you're supposed to do next, but they are usually pretty vague so it is best to just follow what the on-screen dancer is doing. This means your first trip through a song might not be very accurate, but you'll learn and be able to do it all better the next time.

The best part about JD3 is that the dance routines are meant to just be goofy and fun and not super serious. Playing air guitar or striking anime superhero poses (among other silly moves), along with lots of hand waving and hip shaking is the name of the game here. And it is really fun. The scoring in the game almost seems like an afterthought. You just dance along as best you can, enjoy the music, and have fun. You won't get scolded of booed off stage if you mess up. You just keep dancing. You do earn XP-style points that let you "level up", which unlocks new playlists and dances based on your performance, but getting decent scores even on your first time through a song isn't all that difficult.

Because of this, Dance Central 3 is the most immediately accessible and arguably the most fun dance game on Kinect. The dance moves are goofy, the scoring is super lenient, and the game is flat out fun.

Graphics & Sound

The presentation is fairly simple, but nice. The on-screen dancers are painted with bright, neon colors that make them easy to see and follow. The UI is clean and easy to read. And the backgrounds usually match up with the specific song you're playing. Everything is sharp and great looking.

The sound is, as expected from a music / dancing game, great. The 40 songs on-disc, plus a number of DLC tracks, cover a wide range of genres and tastes and there is more than likely something that everyone will enjoy.

Bottom Line

Ubisoft
Ultimately, Just Dance 3 is a very good Kinect dancing game. It is accessible, silly, and fun and doesn't ever make you work to hard to have fun. Unlike some dance games that pretty much require you to practice songs first in order to do them halfway correctly, Just Dance 3's easier, more fun steps let you jump in and have a good time the first time, with no pressure. And that is a good thing. We aren't quite willing to call it the best Kinect dance game, but we do like Just Dance 3 a lot and highly recommend it for a purchase. If you find Dance Central too stiff and taxing, or just want to have goofy fun with your friends, Just Dance 3 is the way to go.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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