Review: Just Dance 2015

Just Dance 2015 logo

It’s time for the annual “grown man looks mental as he badly dances all by himself to ’80s pop hits” time as I tackle the latest in Ubisoft’s dancing series,  Just Dance 2015.

Gameplay
Like pretty much every title of a similar ilk, in the grand scheme of things very little has changed from the previous year. Just Dance 2014 did however build up the social side of things by introducing World Dance Floor and Autodance. The former mode allows you to compete against other dancers from around the world and allows you to battle it out in themes such as Boys vs Girls. It’s not multiplayer as such as you dance solo and your score is submitted against the other players and ranks you accordingly but it does add more depth than mining the main mode for the five gold star rankings.

Autodance is the video recording function that records key elements of your routine, edits them together and replays them for LOLs. The clips are shareable on Just Dance’s community and Facebook too which is good for sharing the best/worst clips. Within minutes of uploading clips to my Facebook people were amused/horrified by my gyrating.

New modes include Challenger Mode and Community Remix. The former is essentially a online leaderboard against friends and some people who can actually dance which does improve the competitiveness of this game quite substantially and the latter is more unique. If you grant permission and upload videos to the Just Dance community, they then vote on the best videos at which point the highest voted will be developed into into a playable remix by Ubisoft featuring 15-30 players per song. It is rather amusing watching people tackle the routines however dancing along is nigh-on impossible as the (still!) unclear icons signifying the next move is the only indication of what to do. Like myself the people dancing on screen have no idea and just going with the flow with the result being a bigger mess than normal. But the nature and charm of this game played in the right settings none of these criticisms really matter as it’s pretty much the perfect party game.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with the game, however. Last year the main issue (for me at least) was that the camera only seemed to work well on PS3, not PS4 for some reason. I had to give the PS4 version 5/10 compared to the Ps3’s 8/10 as it is a fun game but my enjoyment was severely dampened by my inability to play a game without the Move controller. The other complain the game kept telling me about was that there wasn’t enough light for the camera. Again it was fine for the PS3 but not the PS4. Well I faced the same problems again. I was bugged the camera wasn’t happy but I could at least dance without using the Move controllers this time. However the accuracy was still improved when I introduced the Move controller so things still aren’t perfect in my books but I can at least play the game as intended now.

Presentation
A very healthy mixtures of songs (41 in fact) covering all the bases can be found within Just Dance 2015. You have Miley Cyrus to Ellie Goulding, One Direction to Avicii and one of the biggest hits of the last year or so, Pharrell Williams’s Happy. Ubisoft also roll the years back with Dead or Alive, Marvin Gaye and Run-DMC & Aerosmith all getting a look in. Sadly not every song is the original recording which is still a bit of a crime in this genre this day and age in my opinion. We’ve come further than the Dance Dance Revolution days and Ubisoft are have deep pockets which would easily enable a dance game 100% full of licensed tracks. The covers are better than average though, so it’s not the end of the world.

The unique art style of this series continues and improves too with the designers obviously consuming a vast amount of mind-bending drugs when coding the game as it’s even crazier than before. Watch the background when dancing to Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

To sum up
Another great selection of songs and some good new features improves upon the Just Dance foundations although it’s getting to the time now when a greater refresh of the series is needed to keep the series at the top of it’s game and ahead of the competition.

PopBucket Review Score 7

Version reviewed: PS4

Just Dance 2015 is out now on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and Wii

Author: Martyn Newton

Overlord of PopBucket and a gamer from a very young age with earliest memories including Theme Park, Detroit (look it up), Sim City, Championship Manager 2, The Lion King and Command & Conquer.

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