Product Type: Ubisoft Wii games
Newest Review: ... hear a preview, find out the difficulty and sweat values and see the current Hi-Score or you can select the Song Selection menu option whi... more
Great fun, great workout
Just Dance 3 - Special Edition (Wii)
Member Name: Holland1
Just Dance 3 - Special Edition (Wii)
Advantages: Great fun, sociable or single player, lots of songs, unlock more songs as you play, great workout
Disadvantages: Motion sensor could be better at picking up movement
We bought this game just after Christmas, after a family member brought it round on Christmas Day and it caused much hilarity after a few drinks in the evening. You can picture the scene, my dad and father-in-law-to-be both dancing to the Scissor Sisters "I don't feel like dancing", both mums shouting out things like "Watch the light shade" and so on. Apart from being good fun, it looked like a good workout, and with us not being able to afford gym memberships (that's our excuse anyway!), it seemed like a good way of getting back into shape and losing that post-Christmas excess weight.
The game is very straightforward to follow, on one occasion over Christmas our two year old niece was dancing away, although she didn't earn points as the remote was pointing the wrong way, and she kept turning the console off accidentally. But anyway, that didn't matter because she was enjoying herself, as was everyone else, and it's a great sociable game for family get-togethers.
The principle of the game is simple, you earn points by following the moves of the on-screen character to the best of your ability. This is done by holding the Wii controller as you are dancing, and the motion sensor picks up your moves. The main area of interest in terms of earning points is the hands. The on-screen character has one hand which is brightly coloured, and it's by following this that you earn points.
There are two ways of using this game really. One is for things like family get-togethers where everyone gets competitive and tries to improve on the best score. This involves following the arm movements to increase your points. The only problem I find with this is that you're focussing so much on the arm movements, you forget to move your feet and legs, and in terms of exercise you're not getting as much out of the game.
The second way of playing the game, which is how I like to do it, is by ignoring the points system, and literally putting everything you've got into following the dance, feet and all. This may well mean you'll score a bit lower, but I think if you're looking for a workout, this is the best way to use the game to its full potential.
The advantage to maximising your points is that you can unlock further songs the more points you earn. The game begins with a good selection of modern and some older songs, which have good rhythm and are great for dancing to. There are 49 songs to begin with, and as you use the game more and increase your points, you can unlock new songs, or new dance routines to existing songs. I don't intend to list them all here, but it features modern songs such as Girls Aloud "Jump", Jessie J "Price Tag", and Cee Lo Green "Forget You". There are also older songs such as Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (this is one of my favourites to dance to), and A-Ha's "Take on Me".
You can have either single player, or up to four players if you have enough controllers (our families just pool them together at Christmas and other gatherings). Sometimes there will be one character dancing on the screen, but there can be up to four characters and everyone can choose which one they want to follow.
The dance moves themselves are generally fairly easy to follow, although it can get tricky if you don't know the song very well, or sometimes the moves get faster. Sometimes, there will be a move you just don't "get" until right towards the end of the song, but it still gets you up and out of breath trying to follow the characters. There is a little icon at the bottom of the screen telling you what moves are coming next, but I find this a little distracting and find it easier to just follow the on-screen silhouette.
We've been using this game since Christmas, and I'm not bored of it yet. You can either choose your favourite songs to dance to, or if you prefer a bit of variety you can just work through the list and the Wii will pick the next song for you. I find this keeps it interesting because you end up dancing to songs you wouldn't normally have chosen. The graphics are ok for following the dance routines, although the people are usually silhouettes which are designed for you to follow so they can change throughout the routine. The background and "set" of each song is different too, which keeps things interesting.
My favourite feature of this game is the Sweat Mode, which is basically a pumped up version of the songs. As you play the main game you unlock songs in sweat mode, and this is where you can get a really good workout. I thought at best this game would get me a little out of breath, but the sweat mode has you doing squats and lunges in the middle of a dance routine, without really noticing you're doing it. I've been known to be dripping with sweat after playing this version (the clue is in the name!), and have been aching the morning after as a result of the squats and other sneaky moves they put in there.
There has been some criticism of the game not picking up on movement very well, and when I played this with family over Christmas, it seemed that nobody could beat me even though I'm not a very good dancer in real life. We wondered if it was something to do with my height being right for the motion sensor to pick up my moves, because in all honesty I wasn't doing anything different to anyone else. I'd be interested to see this game on the X-Box Kinect console, where you are the controller rather than having to hold the controller, because the scoring might be a bit more effective. Having said that, I don't think the scoring is the be all and end all of this game, it's more about having fun, laughing at people's dance moves, and getting a good workout without noticing you're doing it.
One word of caution with this game is that you can get so carried away it can cause minor injury if you're not careful. I hit myself on the head once with the controller, which sounds like a dumb thing to do but is easily done when you're getting into a routine. When we first played this I had my slippers on, but now I wear proper trainers because in the more energetic dance routines you'll be jumping and spinning round which can cause stress to the knees if you haven't got appropriate footwear on. We've also had casualties with our living room chandelier being hit and rocking from side to side....nothing's been broken yet but it's a matter of time!
This game is a brilliant way of getting into shape by doing something enjoyable rather than slogging it out at the gym. I weighed myself at the beginning of the year, and as at last weekend I'd lost 3lb, this is without changing my eating habits dramatically. I honestly believe using this game a few times a week is helping me to get back into shape, because I enjoy it so much I don't notice I've been on it for an hour and a half, and when you see you're close to unlocking a new song or dance routine, you want to keep going to see what it is.
We bought this game for £18 in Morrisons, and that was the cheapest I saw it at the time. Looking online, it still seems to be the best deal around, unless you can get it pre-owned although you'd be lucky as it'll probably be a while before people who own it get bored of it. I'd say it's £18 well spent, as it'll provide hours of fun and exercise which has got to be better than sitting in front of the TV. Despite the issues with the scoring system, I still give this game five stars for the enjoyment and exercise it brings.
Summary: Fantastic workout but fun at the same time
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