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Just Dance 4 Review

Ubisoft’s Queen of the dancing genre – Just Dance 4, returns as bright and glitzy as ever in a camp straight up no-messing dancing game. With no real campaign, Just Dance 4 is designed for those who like to just put on the music and dance away; it could be used as part of a keep fit regime if you like bopping to J-Lo, One Direction, Rihanna or Ricky Martin. With more than 40 chart topping songs, you can literally dance your socks off – but this is ideally great for parties…keeping fit on Kinect is best kept to Your Shape Fitness Evolved or others like it.

Just Dance 4 is a Kinect title on  the Xbox 360, so if you’ve been thinking about buying a game full of hit songs – don’t think about it if you don’t own a Kinect Sensor because your controller here is useless. What was once a popular Wii game has now gone multi-platform thanks to the latest motion control devices on the market, and for Kinect you do not need any additional controllers or things to hold in your hand that could be thrown off into the nearby TV set – or a head for that matter! On other platforms health and safety might be an issue, but with the magic of the hands-free Kinect sensor on Xbox 360, it’s just about getting involved with the extra freedom of holding absolutely nothing – your TV set or mate’s forehead need not be worried.

As best described as a straight up dance game virtually pick-up-and-play, you’re greeted with a simple menu choice of Just Sweat, Just Dance TV, Just Dance Mode and lastly an Extras menu. Nothing super flashy, but your first annoyance – and only annoyance is the way in which you select your choices by hand. Using a virtual touch interface rather than a swipe doesn’t prove to be very accurate as you are supposed to raise your arm, move your hand to a selection and push forward as if to touch the option required. Great idea, but bad in practise as the on-screen hand that replicates yours is often snapped to areas of the screen and over fiddly. A simple move-over and swipe system would be better practise – it’s just awful to rely on just your hand only when the on-screen guide you move doesn’t feel fluid enough. It’s awful, painstaking enough to actually quit the game and put on a CD instead.

Just Sweat – this mode is the keeping fit area of the game where you can bust some shapes to a programmes of Elecro Body Combat, Cheerleaders Bootcamp, 80’s Aerobics in Space, and many more with tailored moves to the selection of song choices designed for each session which can last from 10 minutes to 45 minutes. The badly designed Kinect menu system screws up once again in this mode where each selection you make tricks Kinect into thinking you are grabbing an option rather than selecting it – it’s so frustrating to make a choice because it takes a long time to get the damn thing to think you are pushing rather than grabbing! New changes from previous Just Dance games include more personalised workouts and a Calorie Counter…if you care enough!

Just Dance TV – this area is quite a community driven section where you can view and share your content through channels. This includes video recordings where you can check out the most popular clips online, your own clips and be greeted many times over by a message saying “The Ubisoft Server is not available at this time. Please try again later.” When at random times the server is available it’s actually a really entertaining area to watch and view, but are you brave enough to upload your own?

Just Dance – the actual game section opens up a menu of Songs where you can simply (and I say that lightly) use your hand to move through the menu. Upon making your selection of any of the 44 hit tracks you are quite literally just thrown into a scenario that feels like you have to be the greatest dancer on earth as you replicate the on-screen dancing character. Icons for guidance are used in the lower right corner to give warning as to where you are meant to throw your arms and legs together to a sequence – and call it dancing! The fun is in making a fool of yourself and to make the shame even worse, at the end of each song you get to witness your moves in a combined video format that you can share online and with others!

It has to be said that this game really lacks some kind of tutorial or decent help to get you dancing any near as good as the on-screen characters. It’s as if Just Dance 4 has been designed from on-set to take the piss out of you or expecting to you to be some kind hip-hop flexible choreographer – practise does make perfect, but it doesn’t feel much of game when it doesn’t ease you into its overall gameplan to get you fit and/or dancing – it’s overly intimidating and every song choice therefore feels as if it’s accompanied by a poorly designed music video with a watchful eye on you. It doesn’t teach you the rights or wrongs, but just scores you on a Mojo. The more dances you do, the better you rank and your Mojo goes up… On the plus side, when you have had a few too many and in the presence of friends, Just Dance 4 is great for doing what it does best – taking the piss, and you can make a right fool out of yourselves and battle it out in a dance off.

Visually, Just Dance 4 continues the trend with its basic graphics and club scene settings used throughout all of the series, but the game more or less comes across as a hit album of 44 classic and popular songs where you can throw yourself about trying to keep up with the on-screen dancers. It hasn’t really been designed to make you a better dancer, not that it’s meant to – and it couldn’t have been better titled “Just Dance” as it doesn’t really do anything else or want you to do anything else.

Great songs built around a bad game with one of the worst kinect menu selection systems in the world ever…

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Founder of ThisisXbox.com having previously written for other gaming sites since 2007. Ex-Microsoft Xbox MVP, Elite Member of the XCN, dedicated fan of all things Microsoft and Call of Duty! Can't start the day without a nice ice cold Diet Coke, a non-hippy type vegetarian who will do anything to get on a cruise holiday!!
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