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
Good or bad, it doesn't matter - just dance!
Just Dance 3 - Special Edition (Wii)
Member Name: Mildew82
Just Dance 3 - Special Edition (Wii)
Advantages: Extremely fun, good exercise, no accessories required, easy to play
Disadvantages: Not the best music in the world, need a lot of space to avoid calamity
==How does it work==
You know all those games that need complex sequences of button pushing after an intense absorbance of the instruction manual in order to learn how to play the game? Well here...you pretty much just have to hold the remote (tightly mind you, as flying Wii remotes can be a dangerous thing). It doesn't get much more complicated than waving the pointer around the screen to land on your chosen option, pressing the A button to select, the B button to leave the current menu you're on and the + button to pause mid dance so this is frankly a game anyone should be able to master...well control wise that is. The idea is also very simple - on the screen a choreographed dance to a "popular" song will appear and you have to copy the dancer(s) on the screen to the best of your ability as if they are your mirror image, so their left hand is your right. Apparently, the movements of professional dancers have been recorded for each dance, and your own moves, tracked via the movement of your Wii remote, are compared and you are given points accordingly.
The more energetic your movements, the more sweat points you get which will contribute to your overall rating at the end. Each dance has up to 5 stars up for grabs, and your rating falls into one of 7 categories: Lazy; Wild; Creative; In Rhythm; Smooth; Energetic and Twins so there is room for growth as you progress. You can play by yourself and simply try to improve on high scores / gain valuable exercise or to ramp up the fun factor you can play with up to 3 other players (should I say 3 other remotes as you can actually play with up to 8 players - find out how in a few sentences time...) and compete against one another where only one person can be crowned the winner at the end. You also accumulate Mojo as your points grow and as the Mojo levels are completed you gain gifts in the form of unlocked songs/playlists/mash-ups etc and if you manage to hit certain criteria, such as completing all songs with 5 stars (yeah right) you win medals.
Gameplay options include firstly just selecting songs at random either by scrolling through a vertical conveyor belt of them where you get to 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 which displays them in rows across the screen to make it easier to select a specific song. Certain songs are designed for duets or crews and even hand holding, whereby two people can dance with 1 remote by remaining in physical contact so liking your partner is essential and if you are opting for a multi-player game you get the option to select which dancer you will be following and if at any time during the dance you forget who you are with all the shuffling, simply pressing the A button will light yours up. Secondly, the system has a load of pre-built playlists, such as a collection of pop songs, rock songs, just the 80s, around the world to name a few (so making a real attempt to offer something for all tastes) which allow you to play a series of uninterrupted dances and if you don't like a song you can easily skip with a press of the + button and you can also choose which song you start with.
Thirdly, via the Specials Menu you can opt to run through the songs using the Non-Stop shuffle where all songs are played uninterrupted or the Speed Shuffle where shortened versions of all the songs are played also uninterrupted. In here you can also play with some jiggled versions such as some weird Dance Mash-Ups where a song of your choice is played, but dance moves from other songs are snuck in so no matter how well you know the dance you will be surprised, plus Medleys which bring in a selection of the best bits from a collection of songs which are thrown together and also my personal favourite Simon Says, which is where you follow a song through as usual but Simon will unexpectedly tell you to stop (lest ye lose points), clap in time to the song, stick your arms out and swivel round or shake your remote until a gauge gets filled up to earn (or lose) points.
Fourthly, to add a level of credibility to the game is the Just Sweat section, which is designed purely to give you as much (or little) exercise as you could possibly want. You can play this without a profile, and just work through as many songs / playlists as you want, with friends if you prefer, and have a summary at the end of your workout e.g. "You've just walked across Central Park" as a comparative tool. If you go with a profile (which is literally just typing your name in) you can do a 7 day challenge, starting with "The Fresh Start" which aims for 500 sweat points a day or 3,500 in a week which should be the equivalent to 30 days walking a day, then "The Healthy Choice" which is 1000 sweat points a day or 7,000 in the week, equivalent to 30 minutes of running in a day, or "The Sweat Explosion" which requires 3,000 sweat points a day or 21,000 in the week which is supposedly the equivalent to swimming for 30 minutes a day. This is all monitored by a sweat graph which you can check back up on to find out if you've met your targets, and if you use your profile throughout normal play, your sweat points will still get accumulated so you are not limited to just this section.
Sometimes simple is best, and in the case of this game that adage couldn't be truer. Without having to worry about complicated controls you can focus all your energy on getting the dance moves right...which sometimes is easier said then done. The only assistance you get is some pictograms at the bottom with a rough diagram of how the moves are likely to change i.e. you may have been busting some moves at hip height, when suddenly you will be swinging your arms over your head. Apart from that vague guide, you're on your own and just have to imitate the on-screen dancers as best you can, something which I am terrible at (rather irritatingly, my best dances are Katy Perry's - not something I want put on my epitaph) and yet is still a source of enormous fun despite my lack of skills. For a lot of the dances it doesn't matter how many times I see it and practice, I cannot seem to learn the moves, even when I'm convinced I'm doing it totally right all I get is a X or an OK at best whereas other times when I know full well I've got a move totally wrong it'll suddenly come up as saying it was Perfect so the moral of the story is the tracking clearly isn't 100% accurate. But whilst this may cause frustration in those perfection seekers, it really doesn't detract from the fun if you're playing in a group as everyone is in the same boat.
I would definitely recommend playing this game with a group of people as it is infinitely more fun that way. Not only do you have the prospect of vicious competitiveness (which can include some sabotage), but you have the extra hilarity of people getting in each other's ways, clashing body parts, hit lampshades, and a general failure to synchronise in anyway. Sitting from the sidelines watching a group of people flailing about also has some comedy merit. The more people there are, the harder it gets though, and you will need a lot of space otherwise you may cause mass destruction in your living room, and there was one incident of two Wii remotes colliding in midair and the batteries flying out of one, severely disrupting the dance, so do take the hazard warnings seriously with this game. But what you do get is the chance to blame people in blocking your remote, or being pushed outside the range of the sensor for any abject failure which I use to full capacity when I inevitably come last. If you are going solo, then there is the nice element of seeing yourself improving by breaking previous Hi-Scores and collecting medals, or doing the 7-day challenge in the Just Sweat section to give you a sense of achievement, but I don't really pay too much attention to these areas as just picking a song and dancing to it is all the excitement I need.
If you do the dances properly, and not sitting in a chair like some people I know (and actually outscoring me?) you will definitely break out into a sweat and be out of breath fairly quickly with some of the more intense dances - so of course do take the necessary breaks for rehydration to avoid mishaps and emergency room trips. The intensity of each song varies, which you can see by the rating on each song before you select it so you can judge which ones you'd prefer to do in relation to your own level of fitness and obviously work your way up to the more insane ones, but there's no doubt you are being properly exercised by this game. I'm not entirely convinced by the "Just Sweat" section as being a valid exercise plan as it is just an all round aerobic workout not targeting any specific areas as you're mostly just moving your arms and legs about so in my opinion by no means could be considered a full workout, but if the claims are true, then you will be doing a reasonable amount of exercise in a fun way which can never be a bad thing.
As I mentioned before, I wasn't too keen on the majority of the song list, as there was a lot of pop like Katy Perry, Girls Aloud, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Black Eyed Peas, Robbie Williams and Jessie J and some terrible tracks like Duck Sauce's "Barbra Streisand" but to be fair I was a bit hasty and there is quite a good mix on there to cater for different tastes with some rock songs with Queen, Kiss, Lenny Kravitz as well as a lot of nostalgic songs like 2 Unlimited's "No Limit", The Chemical Brother's "Hey Boy Hey Girl", Bananarama's "Venus", A-Ha's "Take On Me" as well as some alternative ones like Danny Elfman's "This is Halloween" from the Nightmare Before Christmas, a few world tracks from Bollywood, the Latin world and Jamaica so with a large song choice you can easily avoid the ones you really cannot stomach. But to be honest, it doesn't matter how bad the song is, it's the dance you are concentrating on and I didn't really notice any of the awful music too much - I even got my dad dancing to Britney Spears and loving every second of it so what a result.
There is also the option to purchase new songs from the game's Shop. In order to do this you will need to have previously purchased sufficient Wii points (each new dance is 250 points) which I found a bit of a kafuffle by having to set up the Wi-Fi connection, entering the Wii shop and entering my credit card details using the Wii remote and finally getting the option to purchase 1000 points for £7, 3000 points for £21 or 5000 points for £35 (so no discounts for bulk buying), so effectively one new dance is worth £1.75 which isn't too expensive really. The available songs for downloading aren't great to be honest (but are subject to change so some decent songs may pop up later) with a lot of them not being the originals of a song so a bit of a cheat, but there were a few good ones such as Supergrass' "Alright" and The Gorillaz' "Dare" which bizarrely took 20 minutes and 1 minute to download respectively, so the download rate may be inconsistent. The songs both worked fine without any integration issues and certainly improved the track listing for me.
So, for the sheer entertainment value and longevity this game offers it is incredibly cheap even at £22.99, especially since you do not need to buy any accessories to play (apart from maybe the need for more remotes or songs) and I've been playing for many months now without losing too much interest (though I don't play it as frequently as I did) and my Wii remote's batteries are still going strong so it doesn't seem to drain the batteries too much either. It's great to whip out at social gatherings (space dependent) for some competitive hilarity to ensue or if the weather is bad or you just feel like you've eaten too much chocolate you can do some real exercise and get your heart rate up whilst having fun, so I would recommend this game to anyone that enjoys dancing (even if you can't), but bear in mind it is energetic so will only appeal to those that don't mind breaking out into a sweat. Even if you don't like the music, there should be something for everyone, and you can improve on the track listing with some new downloads.
Summary: A fun way to get some good exercise, ideal for social gatherings