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Just Dance 2 is a worthy successor to the original
on October 12, 2010
The original Just Dance was the first dance video game to feature "real moves" to popular music. Before it, dance games were basically exercises in timing--stomping your feet on a mat or moving your hands to match an on-screen pattern. But with Just Dance, you weren't just playing a video game: you were learning real dance moves that you could take anywhere. And as you played the game over and over, you got a great workout without even knowing it. The game was a smash success, selling over 4 million copies worldwide. The game wasn't without its faults though, the biggest of which was the accuracy of the motion control. Even if you did the moves perfectly, sometimes the system wouldn't register them.
When you start out the game, the starting menu is refreshingly simple. There are three options: Dance!, Store, Extras. When you click "Dance!", you see three options: Just Dance, Dance Battle, and Just Sweat.
The "Just Dance" option gets you right to dancing to individual songs, just like in the original. Up to four players can play, each holding their own Wii remote. As in the original, you try to follow a mirror image of a silhouetted figure on the screen. Stick figures scrolling along the bottom of the screen will help you prepare for the next move, an indicator on the screen will tell you how well you hit your moves, and a "score gauge" will fill up with each correct move you make.
There's a great selection of 44 new songs, with something for everyone. Whether you want to dance to Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" or Outkast's "Hey Ya". I like Ubisoft's approach; while other music games tend to focus on just one genre, Ubisoft included something for all ages and tastes.
Some of the songs feature "Duet Mode". These songs are identified by circle icon with two figures standing with their back to each other. This is a neat new feature that allows two players to dance alongside each other with each doing different choreographed moves, so you end up dancing a neat little routine together. For example, in Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend", the dancers start by pointing to each other. Then, one makes air guitar-like moves for a while while the other swings her arms. Then, the two go back to synchronized motions. It makes for a cute dance routine.
The "Dance Battle" option takes players through five rounds of competition. Up to four players can compete against each other, and the winner of each round gets a point. The player with the most points at the end of rounds is the winner. You can mix and match from these modes to create different competitions:
- Classic: In this mode, players "just dance". The player with the highest overall score gets a point.
- Duet: This mode consists of all the "Duet Mode" songs. The player in the pair who scores the highest gets a point.
- Simon Says: In this game, while dancing an icon will appear randomly for each play while dancing (Stop, spin around, clap). The player must perform the action accurately to score points.
- Medley: In this mode, each player has to dance to five song samples.
- Race: This is a frenetic mode where each player has to fill their score gauge to win the round.
"Team Battle" is the same as "Dance Battle", except that it allows up to 8 players to play in two teams (they don't all play at the same time, the system will separate the players in the teams and display the players' names when it's their turn). This is great to have at parties where you have can get lots of people playing together and rooting their own team on.
My favorite new feature, of course, is "Just Sweat" mode. In it, you set an objective of calories you want to burn, and then you just dance away until they're burned off. 30 minutes dancing sure beats 30 minutes on a boring treadmill or exercise bike, as you not only burn calories away, you get practice learning the choreographed dance moves. And after dancing to the fast part of "Proud Mary", let's say I have newfound admiration for Tina Turner!
The new "Store" option allows you to buy downloadable content, which will even further expand the playability of this title.
And now the answer to the burning question you've been waiting for: did they really fix the poor motion tracking?
The answer is, happily, yes! Even though the game still uses only one Wii remote, and still doesn't even need MotionPlus, I'm happy to say that the motion tracking picked up my motions almost perfectly. It was even accurate not just to my timing, but also my arm movements and angles. The game developers made a vast improvement over the original in this department.
Overall, Just Dance 2 is a worthy successor to the original. The improved motion tracking is just what the doctor ordered, and they made the game even more fun for people playing together. Highly recommended.