TOPIC: New platform, same formula with Just Dance 4

New platform, same formula with Just Dance 4 1 month 1 week ago #267

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Looks like it's been about a year and a half since I've blogged about a Just Dance game, but I realized that I'd forgotten to blog about playing through the spin-off games Dance on Broadway and Just Dance Kids. There isn't actually a lot to say about either of those two games other than Dance on Broadway ups the cheesiness quotient and Just Dance Kids, while not dumbing down the gameplay too much, is definitely geared towards a younger audience and does away with recording high scores altogether.

Anyway, that brings us to the next mainline entry, Just Dance 4. At this point I was faced with a bit of a conundrum about which system to play the game on since it was released for both of Wii and Wii U (among other systems), but I went with the Wii U version since it added a couple of new features. First, though, in general the game is the same old Just Dance gameplay that we know and love, and by now the aesthetics and inherent cheesiness have become nostalgic to me and I've pretty much completely embraced them. The tracklist of this particular title has a good amount of variety, and vets will have an easier time picking up the choreography since the choregoraphy tends to fall in somewhat predictable patterns. Along with the core game mode featuring songs with stars you can earn based on your score and a basic achievements system (five possible for each song), Just Dance 4 includes many songs with unlockable alternate choreographies, some of which are fun mashups of previous choreographies as in the previous game, and some with completely different, much more difficult choreographies. Duet and four-person choreographies also make a return and seem to make up a bigger part of the song list than before, and new songs and choreographies are unlocked at a pretty regular clip.

In terms of Wii U specific features, the game does make use of the GamePad in a special "Puppet Master" mode where an observer can pick particular moves to drop in and also select which dancer executed a move the best. I can imagine in certain setting this could be a fun little extra, but otherwise outside of improved visuals it seems like the Wii U and the Wii versions are pretty much the same.

As with many long-running series, Ubisoft doesn't try to reinvent the wheel with Just Dance 4, but the new slate of song and choreographies are worthwhile. Apparently this was the entry where they changed the scoring so that you don't have to worry about maintaining a continuous streak of perfect movements to maximize your score, which I definitely approve of. I'd probably rank Just Dance 3 a little higher than this entry since that game added more new tweaks to the core gameplay, but this is another solid entry in the ongoing series. It looks like the next entry, Just Dance 2014, is where the series switches over to titling the games after the year, which makes sense since the releases are getting churned out annually. There are three of those on Wii U, so it looks like I'll still have a good reason to keep that system hooked up for a good long while.

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