Oct 222012

Picture it: your living room, Halloween night. You and three of your closest friends have gathered with the intent of having a fun Halloween party, but something just isn’t quite right. Although you have scooted your furniture against wall, stretched fake neon spider webbing everywhere, and your Killer Halloween Jams playlist is getting ready to start over again, yet still no one has started to dance. The Chex Mix is stale, the soda is flat, and everyone just dressed up as their Dungeons and Dragons characters for the fourth year in a row. ”What can I do to perk this shindig up?” you ask yourself desperately. It is then that you remember you have just the thing: Ubisoft’s newest release in the Just Dance series, Just Dance 4. Within minutes, the XBox 360 is fired up and so are your friends, because like the preceding games, this one is a load of fun.

It’s true that not much changes from game to game with the Just Dance franchise. Bright colored, bordering on retina-searing, cartoon visuals make a return as do the wacky dance routines. Both of these elements really help set the tone for a laid back game for people just looking to cut a rug by themselves or with some friends. The game is incredibly accessible and easy to learn, but difficult to master which makes it appeal to casual and seasoned gamers alike.

Unfortunately the game does not come with huge fake lobster claws.

What’s New
The core gameplay still revolves around players matching their sweet moves to the character on their screen, but there are some noteworthy improvements. First of all is the addition of the Dancer Card, which is a profile anyone playing the game can make. This will keep track of all kinds of statistics, from your average score to your favorite song. Also, the user interface has been overhauled quite a bit. In Just Dance 3, each song in it’s basic form was in one area, mashups were in another, and so on. In Just Dance 4, you simply select a song from the main screen and all routines you’ve unlocked associated with that song will be grouped together. This even includes the new alternate routines you can unlock as you play the game. Be careful how many “extreme” versions of songs you try out though; your surly friend in the dwarf costume could have a heat stroke due to all that prosthetic hair on her face.

The game’s fitness mode, “Just Sweat”, has been included before, but now it has a calorie counter and an intensity tracker to make it even easier for you to actually include in a fitness routine. What’s really interesting about “Just Sweat” this time around is that how well you do in one round affects how difficult the next round of aerobic dancing is. You can select songs a la carte from the main song listing, or you can choose one of the prefabricated routines that are centered around a theme like “Electro Body Combat” which offers a fighting style workout, or “Swinging 60’s Workout” which is kind of goofy, but in a fun way. This will be especially helpful if you, like me, gorged yourself into a diabetic coma on Reece’s Pumpkins and need to work off a few extra calories this fall!

Rick Astley is MY hero.

If deliberately exercising isn’t your thing, you have the new Battle Mode to look forward to, in which two players dance off over five rounds and is structured much like a fighting game. The moves are some of the most elaborate in the game, but if you go head-to-head with a friend you’re sure to have some good laughs. Your twin friends the elf warrior and the elf rogue can duel each other and leave their 20-sided dice at home! As if all that newness wasn’t enough, there is the Autodance with Kinect feature (exclusive to the XBox 360 version) which will capture all of your most awkward and embarrassing moments on video and automatically sync them with the music to create a video in which you look like a true dancing superstar. You can then easily share these videos with your friends via Just Dance TV.

The soundtrack for Just Dance 4 is one of the most robust to-date, featuring a wide range of songs with assorted styles like Motown, Pop, and Electronic.. There’s a little bit of everything; like corny mega hits like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, 80s jams like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, and the PERFECT track to perk up your Halloween party – “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show. The game came out of the gate with DLC via a promotion with Cheetos, and its first full-fledged DLC is planned for November – “Gangnam Style” by Psy. The full track listing can be viewed here.

While it’s clear that Just Dance has become one of Ubisoft’s annualized titles, it’s nice to see they’re taking time to add new and interesting features as well as tweak the user interface for the player’s benefit. With the WiiU launch on the horizon, that version of Just Dance 4 promises even more new tricks and treats to set that version apart from the others. Whether you’re a beginning ghoul getting your groove on for the first time, or a veteran vampire who has expertly cut every rug in town, you will definitely find something to like with this game and maybe even work off some of the entire bag of Fun Sized Snickers you ate while waiting for your party guests to arrive. Once they’ve left, you are finally free to take off your wizard’s hat and beard, tighten the laces on your sneakers, roll up the sleeves of your robe, and practice One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” until you finally get the five-star rating you’ve been hoping for.

Just Dance 4

Updated user interface, great track list, and a handful of new features make this the best Just Dance game so far.It may be hard for some people to get into this game without thinking it's just more of the same.
VerdictIf you have any interest in a game that asks you to shake your groove thang, then this is the one to get.

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