We've reached the 4th iteration of the Just Dance series; a feat that not even the Rock Band main series could manage. With Just Dance 4, Ubisoft has offered up some new songs and dance moves, but that's about it - the Wii version has been given the cold shoulder. This is sure to be something that dedicated fans will feel very sour about.
In Just Dance 4, there are just under 50 tracks that you can choose from. It's a good selection, but while some of the songs on the list really work well, some of the songs just don't seem to have the "dance" feel to them. Songs like "Hit 'Em Up Style" just seem out of place amongst the much more upbeat songs. With that being said though, songs like "You're the First, The Last, My Everything" act as nice mellow songs to cool down to. It just seems like compared to its predecessors, Just Dance 4 is where the developers have begun running out of great dance songs and are relying on songs like "Love You Like a Love Song" to make it seem more fleshed out. Sure, the game has to try and be culturally relevant to the different demographics that might play the game, but there has to be a balance.
The actual routines themselves are still as fun as ever, but because of the Wii's limitations, the scores seem a bit unfair at times. On other platforms, the motion controls are much more accurate when picking up body motions, so it's much easier to commit to the movements that are being displayed. With the Wii version, the game will only register what you do with your right hand and even then you have to compromise some of the more intricate moves just so that the Wii's sensor knows you're still following along. If you really try to follow the dance moves, it can get a bit annoying. You have to literally dumb down your movements just to get a higher score, when in reality the game should measure your dancing ability in full. Having said that, for those who want to put the time in, it's good enough.
This time around, Ubisoft has added Battle mode which basically acts as a "Fighting Style" dance game. Players must perform each dance move successfully and if the moves they perform are better than their opponent's, they will act as attacks and will inflict damage. Each player has a health bar and whoever is able to lower their opponent's health bar the fastest, wins the round. This mode can be very frustrating if you do not have enough room for both opponents and it can be quite unfair. There is always a merging of styles and sometimes round length is unevenly balanced making it arguably easier for one person than the other.
In terms of the menu system screen, it seems like a bit of a downgrade compared to the previous version of Just Dance 3. One of the main reasons, is that it feels like there's just less on offer. It's good that Just Sweat mode was retained, as it's still a very nice addition to encourage you to stay in shape. New personalized workout sessions have been added and you can track your calories just like in the other titles which is always a plus.
As far as unlockable content goes, it's a bit disappointing as it's not necessarily new songs, it's alternate routines. Also, how you get the unlockable content has changed. Each time you level up, you will have to randomly select what content you would like to unlock. So it might be an extended version of the song you were just dancing to, or it could be a mash-up of two different songs.
Although Just Dance 4 isn't really a bad game, it isn't a great improvement over the previous iteration. The songs are decent, but quite a of them seem a bit out of place and definitely don't feel like "dance" songs. Battle mode is a nice addition, however, players will need more than enough room in order for it to be accurate. Is Just Dance 4 worth purchasing? Perhaps if you want to collect all of the games, but otherwise, Just Dance 1 through 3 are more than enough.
This game was reviewed on the Nintendo Wii.
|» Just Sweat mode continues to shine with personalized workout sessions.|
|» Dance routines are fun and upbeat just like its predecessors.|
|» Battle Mode offers a lot more replay ability.|
|» Lacking in innovation.|
|» Some of the song selections don't really fit the game.|
|» Other platforms have moved on, while the Wii version has stayed much the same.|