Just Dance 2014 Review
The ultimate party game is back. This time instead of it being called the fifth in the series it got a brand new name: 2014. This new version of Just Dance does what the name assumes. It gives the audience more of what they have been looking for. More of the current songs we jam to on the radio while stuck in traffic. More of the silly moves we would not dare try on a real dance floor. Finally, it is back and here to help spice up another party at your house.
For those that are new to the saga, Just Dance takes songs both old and new and creates dance moves for the player to dance to. The songs featured on Just Dance 2014 include more Top 40 songs than games past. It seems as though the creators have finally understood the key demographic of the game and thus the songs are adapted to such. There are more kid friendly songs than its predecessors, but there are still songs for everyone else. I even found myself jamming to an 80′s song I was forced to listen to in the car, before I had control of the radio (“Careless Whisper”).
Besides the name, everything else has changed. The user interface for Just Dance is more Xbox friendly. Instead of the pain-staking clicking we had to endure, the Xbox hover has taken over. To preview a song, you hover over it. It then takes you to another screen where you can listen to it to decide whether that is the song you would like to dance to or you press the back button to find a different song.
The new Just Dance has added little touches that make the game all the more user friendly. My new favorite feature is the control for the Xbox. When you are not actively moving your hand to control, the hand still exists but it has now become red with a small “x” in the corner to alert the player they are not actively moving. This makes finding your place when you do start moving again a lot easier.
One change that has been made to this game is the karaoke feature. In previous versions, lyrics were displayed to humor the player. Now it has been taken one step further. Players that sing along with the game get bonus karaoke points.
The biggest change that has come to Just Dance 2014 is the Just Sweat section. Players used to have the option of choosing a theme for their exercise routine. This used to be a combination of themed workouts and random songs available in the Just Dance repertoire. But now, Just Sweat is completely controlled by the player. There are no longer themed workouts but a dance playlist created by the player. To designate the about of time the player will be “sweating” the playlist is divided by time like before. There are 10, 20, and 40 minute options to create the playlist. After each song there is a small interlude which informs you how well you performed the song and tells you the next song you are about to dance.
Graphics & Sound
Just Dance is really not known for its amazing graphics but I wasn’t disappointed either. The motions were all clear and easy to follow. I did find myself confused to what the move was but that was more the silly, complicated moves than the graphics itself.
My favorite feature of this new game is probably the lamest part: the background music. The Just Dance creators finally found Lady Gaga! The new background song is no longer the tired played out theme song but is now officially Lady Gaga’s, “Just Dance”. This soundtrack is more relevant and feels like a better fit than the previous tune.
There are only three issues that I found playing this game. Not quite major issues but issues nevertheless. The first issue has to deal with the hover as the selection. As nice as you would initially think that feature would be, it tends to become inconvenient when you are trying to quickly decide what song choice you want. I commend the creators for trying to give us what we wanted but like a petulant child, I’ve decided I don’t want it anymore. I want the old click select back.
Another small issue was the point tracker. Although the player is still gaining points, a feature I did like was seeing in the previous game was the point counter growing before my eyes. Now instead you are seeing a fraction: a number of points you have gained over the total possible. The average person does, I’m guessing, know what a fraction is, but the visual was much better and more gratifying when the points were earned.
The last issue I had was with the game’s multiplayer, since this game is aimed at a casual gaming audience, I don’t see the average Xbox 360 player buying Xbox Live cards just to be able to play multiplayer, whereas a PS3 or Wii U owner, could just easily find it worthwhile.
I overall liked the game, and had fun, but the $39.99 asking price is a little steep. If you tend to have a lot of group parties and this is your go to party game, then of course you have to buy it. But this game is no Grand Theft Auto 5. You are not going to be tied to the television set dancing for 24 hours.