Just Dance 3 Review - IGN (2024)

Dance games, at their best, can be perfect examples of videogames at their purest and most universal. Like Pac-Man, like Space Invaders, like Guitar Hero, you don't need to know anything at all about games to enjoy Just Dance. All you really need to understand is the title. You don't even need to be a good dancer – what matters isn't whether you've got killer moves, but whether you actually like to dance. If you don't (what is wrong with you?), then Just Dance 3 can do very little to change your mind. But if you do, this is fantastically entertaining.
Just Dance is Dance Central's friendlier sibling: less self-consciously cool, less judgemental, more willing to dress up in silly wigs. The scoring isn't anything like as harsh – or as accurate – as Dance Central's, but it doesn't really matter. The vast majority of people don't play these games for high scores and Gamerpoints. They're there to provide good music and good, acceptably silly choreography, and on those fronts Just Dance 3 excels.

Playing Just Dance with Kinect doesn't feel much different to playing with a Wii remote in your hand. Nominally, the game is judging how you move your whole body, but it really only seems to care about your arms. This is good news for people whose living rooms are a touch too small to give Kinect a good view of your flailing legs, but it does mean that Just Dance 3 isn't as good a dance tutor as Dance Central. In other respects, though, it's got the advantage: the soundtrack is broader, leaning much less heavily on modern R&B, and the stylised video-captured on-screen dancers have more personality and fluidity than any motion-capped 3D model ever could.

Just Dance's clean and colourful neon presentation translates very well indeed to HD. Menus are slick and well-presented, and though they suffer from the usual Kinect-menu fussiness, you can always use a controller if the camera gets confused by multiple waving arms. The best thing, though, is the choreography. As ever, the stylised on-screen dancers are infectiously enthusiastic, intimidatingly talented and dressed up in outfits and make-up that befits each song, from bizarre tribal body paint to bowler hats and ties to raver legwarmers. Afros bounce, scarves flutter and hips gyrate with motion that's not just realistic, but real. It doesn't feel like there's a disconnect between you and some perfect automaton on-screen. It feels more human.

New to Just Dance 3 is four-person choreographed dancing, with dance routines designed around four people at once. It's a mystery to me how Kinect manages to track four wildly flailing bodies at once – I'm not sure it's actually capable – but as you get better with practice, your score definitely improves. The two-player routines make a return as well, though it's a shame that only around a quarter of the 40 tunes on the disc have specific multiplayer routines. Doing a proper four-person routine (like the one below) is so much more fun than just doing the same moves side by side.

Just Dance 3 scores you on your performance, and also gives you a style rating like Energetic, In Rhythm or Creative (which I suspect is code for "at least you're trying"). But you never feel self-conscious, largely because you never appear on-screen. Mercifully, it doesn't ever capture photos of your performances, and doesn't force you to watch yourself gyrate in freestyle sections. You probably don't look cool playing Just Dance, but you FEEL like you look cool, which is much more important.

The Just Create modes are exclusive to the PS3 and 360 versions, and let you create your own dance routines with the camera, if you've ever wanted to know what you might look like as an iPod person. You can upload them to the network or save them on the system for friends to try and copy, but without the prompts that come with the developer-made dance routines, it's an inexact science. It's a cool feature, though, and an innovative one – "proper" dancers will have a good time with it whilst the rest of us down another glass of wine and fire up Baby One More Time.

I said this about Just Dance 2, and I'll say it again: the measure of any party game is in the memories that it creates. Memories of my time with Just Dance 3 include making exaggerated cauldron-stirring motions whilst two friends did Thriller motions behind me to This Is Halloween, laughing with utter delight at the four-player Dynamite routine, falling over in the middle of Hey Boy Hey Girl as I became accidentally entangled with my dance partner, and being told by my downstairs neighbour that I was jumping up and down too vigorously. It's definitely a success.


Whether you prefer Just Dance or Dance Central comes down to your taste in music and presentation in the end, but in many respects, this is the best dance game on Kinect. It's got four-player dancing, choreographed routines for multiple players, an approachable and fun-loving art style and cool (if periphery) creative features. Most importantly, though, it's good a broad, excellent soundtrack and a selection of dance routines that range from spectacularly silly to intimidatingly cool. The scoring system might be puzzling at times, but you'll have enormous fun playing Just Dance 3, and that is what matters in the end.

Just Dance 3 Review - IGN (2024)
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