Product Type: Ubisoft Wii games
Newest Review: ... artist. On the most part it's fairly easy to follow the characters movements, especially as there's a pictogram that appears at the b... more
Just Dance and Sweat
Just Dance 2 (Wii)
Member Name: sandemp
Just Dance 2 (Wii)
Advantages: Something for everyone, fun, makes me sweat
Disadvantages: Doesn't always pick up moves, Makes me sweat
Please bare in mind that this review is based on my experience of playing the game and as I'm a forty year old, more than a little overweight Mum, who rarely socialises, let alone holds parties my opinion will vary wildly from a teenager's. As I also own the original Just Dance game along with Just Dance 3 and Just Dance Kids, there may be points in this review where I compare this game to others in the series.
Just in case you've been living on another planet for the last couple of years or the TV adverts have simply passed you by, Just Dance 2 is a game where you "Just Dance". Similar to the dance mat games that were all the rage ten years or so ago, you simply need to follow the on screen character dancing to one of 45 tracks, holding the Wii mote in your right hand. As you dance your movements (well your right hand's movements) are tracked and if they match the on-screen character's you earn points, simples.
While Just Dance only had a couple of different modes and it only took a couple of button clicks to start dancing, in Just Dance 2 things have moved up a notch. There are now a total of three different dance modes, Just Dance, Dance Battle and Just Sweat. Just Dance is pretty self explanatory and allows you to jump straight into a dance routine, either solo or with up to three friends. Dance Battle is the main multi-player mode and is further split into two sections, Free-for-all for one to four players and Team Battle for four to eight players. Just Sweat is a new mode to Just Dance 2 and in this mode as well as normal points for accuracy you earn sweat points depending on how much effort you put in.
==Graphics and Audio==
Being a Wii game I didn't expect much on the graphics front, which is just as well really. Although the dancers are clearly meant to be people they are very cartoon-like with no real definition of features (unlike Just Dance Kids that features real people). What I do like is that the dancers are different on each track and clearly designed to tie in with the song, with their bright neon clothing corresponding to either the era, feel of the track or the original artist. On the most part it's fairly easy to follow the characters movements, especially as there's a pictogram that appears at the bottom of the screen to tell you what's coming next, but there are times when the pictogram and characters movements don't exactly match or the pictogram is really hard to decipher. I especially like that the words to the tracks are also displayed on the screen, meaning that if I ever manage to be able to have enough breathe left while dancing I could sing along.
With this being a dancing game the audio aspect is paramount to it's success. When played through a home cinema system, the audio is clear and easy to follow. But there's so much more than what it just sounds like, there are the variety of tracks to dance along to. Personally I feel there is a good variety of tracks, ranging from old songs to new, covering a variety of genre, with a good range of difficulty. It's probably important to not that not all of the tracks are performed by the original artist, there are several cover versions (and not always the one you would expect). It's easy to flick through the tracks and see how easy (or difficult) they are, with each track having two classifications of difficulty, complexity and effort. Each of these classifications has three levels, with one being the easiest and three the most difficult.
Within the tracks there are several that are designed to be danced by two people, with each having slightly different moves. When I first played I thought that I'd be unable to play these tracks solo, but you can, you just can't pick which set of moves you follow. I would far prefer to be able to pick which part I am going to dance, but it is still fun to perform a duet with my partner. If the available tracks are not enough for you, you can also download extra tracks for a small fee. One track I would definitely recommend downloading is Kung Fu Fighting, it's simply brilliant fun.
==My Playing Experience==
I've owned Just Dance 2 for a couple of weeks now and played it extensively as part of my exercise routine. Although I have played all the different modes, bar Dance Battle, my favourite mode has to be Just Sweat. Within this mode you can create a profile for yourself and then set yourself a daily and weekly challenge. There are three different levels of challenge to choose from, mild, tough and intense and your daily and weekly progress towards each challenge is plotted on a graph after each track.
When I first started on this mode I picked the mild program, which equates to 300 sweat points per day and 2100 per week. Depending on which track you choose, this equates to just one or two dances per day, which is barely enough to bring your heart rate up let alone burn any fat. Sweat points are calculated by how much movement is detected by the control, so it is possible to cheat by simply shaking the control vigorously, but what's the point in that, you're only cheating yourself.
What I really like about the sweat points is that it doesn't matter that I'm really uncoordinated and can't keep up, it's the effort I put in that counts. After completely the weekly target for mild in just one day, I upped the stakes to the tough challenge, which gives a target of 1000 sweat points a day (7000 a week). This is a much better level to give a good cardio workout, generally taking four to five dance routines to complete the daily target. Rather than playing this everyday, I play every other day, aiming to complete two days worth of targets which gives me a good half hour cardio workout and leaving me literally dripping in sweat. What is really good about this aspect of the game is that if I need to take a break, my progress is saved and I can come back to it later. What I don't like is that sweat points cannot be earned in other game modes, meaning that the half hour I've spent playing in other modes doesn't count towards my running total.
Being overweight and uncoordinated there are some tracks I find easier than others, with some I find almost impossible. There are also some tracks where I simply do not like the song, but there are plenty for me to enjoy and boogie along to. My favourite tracks among the original content include "When I Grow Up" by the Pussycat Dolls, which is fairly easy to follow, not that energetic, but so funny and "Cosmic Girl", which is more energetic and involves punching asteroids. But my absolute favourite track is one that I downloaded, "Kung Fu Fighting", I'll play this one at least once a session and if I say so myself, I'm getting pretty good at it. What I love about using this Sweat mode is that I'm having so much fun and concentrating so hard on keeping up that I reach my target before I know it. Although there's nothing in the instruction manual to state how Sweat point correlate to calories, I did a bit of research and the general consensus is that 5 sweat point equals one calorie. This means that a 1000 point session is burning off 200 calories.
After my Sweat session, I often feel I'm still in the mood for dancing, or my partner wants to join in, so we go onto the Just Dance mode. One thing I will say you need plenty of room if two or more people are joining in as many of the dances involve lots of arm waving. We have great fun dancing together or watching each other dance and we seem to have totally different techniques. I try to follow the moves exactly and I find that on the whole my moves are accurately picked up by the control but there are times when I do the same moves in exactly the same way and one will be scored as perfect while the next is only OK. My partner's technique is more the throw yourself around the room variety, I think I burn almost as many calories laughing as I do dancing. What really gets me is that he still manages to pick up points, though that's more through luck than skill and this proves that it is possible to cheat. I have to point out here that my 22 month old son also loves this mode, he loves to dance next to us holding a toy as his remote.
As I've got better at performing some of the dances, I've become a little more competitive, trying to beat my previous scores. When dancing certain moves gain points depending on how closely you follow the on-screen dancer. There are three different levels of points, OK (nearly there), Great (Oh so close) and Perfect and there are also special gold moves that give extra points. As I said there are times when I've done the same move in what I think is exactly the same way and got different scores, but on the whole I think it's accurate and obviously the better I know the steps the more I'm able to concentrate on higher scores. The fact that there is nothing to unlock, probably limit's the life-span of the game to a degree, but this really isn't a game you complete so much as compete.
The Dance Battle mode is not one that we've really done more than have a look at. This mode is designed for larger groups of players and we don't have the space for more than two people to dance at a time. So I'm afraid I really can't comment on this mode.
Just Dance 2 has an age rating of 3+ and there is nothing in it that would cause offence. There are no swear words and none of the routines are overtly sexual. Younger children may have difficulty keeping up, but will certainly enjoy joining in, 22 month old Freddy loves to join in and will hold a toy pretending it's his control as he dances. As to an upper age limit, well I'll be 40 tomorrow and I play regularly, as does my partner and even his 92 Grandmother has had a go. This really is a game for the whole family to join in, even those with limited mobility can try copying the arm movements.
I love this game, it does exactly what I bought it for, and that is gives me a fun way to burn off calories and hopefully lose weight. Although I struggled to get through a single track when I started, I can now play four, five or even more tracks before collapsing exhausted. I certainly know that I've had a workout when I've played this as I'll generally be sweating profusely and shattered. If I were forced to choose between the different Just Dance games, I would say this is probably the one that I would recommend. The added duets and Sweat mode, makes it better value than the original game and it can be found for a far lower price than Just Dance 3 (£14.99 as opposed to £22.99). Although I'm sure that this game is also fun to share at parties, as far I'm concerned it's simply a fun way of exercising and great for those who, like me, quiver with fear at the idea of an organised exercise class.
So I'm giving Just Dance 2 four stars out of five, as it's a game that gets me up and moving and is one I can share with my partner and son.
Summary: A brilliant game for someone looking to lose some weight and exercise in the comfort of their own ho