Before 2009, sleepovers, social gatherings and house parties were dark, dismal and bleak. Sure, when the drinks were flowing and the snacks were being passed round, we thought we were having fun, oh how we laughed and we appeared to enjoy ourselves, but that was just a clever defence mechanism that shielded us from the harsh reality, that we weren’t having enough fun and something was missing. Then as if it was presented by the gods themselves, the answer was bestowed upon us, and who knew the element that was missing was holding a slippery white remote control and grinding to your favourite tracks. Though times have changed dramatically in these past 5 years, the moral and theme remains the same, looking like a dick with your friends is a sign of a good time!
Just Dance 2015 is the 6th installment in the annual Ubisoft dance series, and marking it’s impressive 5th year in the homes of mums and students everywhere. This year’s entry makes a rowdy return to Xbox One and PS4 whilst still remaining loyal to every last gen console, including the Wii which this franchise made it’s name in. For anyone who has yet to sample this formidable franchise, moving across the bottom of the screen you are presented with a set of dance moves to mimic in time with the music, the game recognises your actions through the camera accessory or device in your hand and thus scores you. That’s all there is to this game, stare into your TV and copy the character on screen as if it was you in the mirror, doing the right dance and moving at the right time is how you are credited. Boasting a 45 song track list and dozens to buy and bring to the party, Just Dance 2015 promises to be the biggest and most enjoyable addition to the franchise, so lets get this party started.
Due to my taste in music, I have always felt right at home with the Guitar Hero franchise, so though initially I am a little out of my depths within Just Dance 2015, I can still recognise a decent tune or two. Upon selecting my first track I realise that there is now no difficulty editor, meaning you have to either dance or follow orders well, or fail miserably. Unlike the first Just Dance titles which were a lot simpler, each track now has a desired number of dancers that would be preferred opposed to letting you dance alone. These tracks can be for up to 4 players so if you have a small playing space you can bet these songs will rarely be attempted, however if you do decide to give them a go you can expect to get a little confused to begin with. Scrolling along the bottom of the screen you will be presented with up to 4 different dance moves at a time and it’s your job to remember and decipher which character you selected to play as. Though a little tricky at the start, once you get the feel for the track and the repetition kicks in you’ll find yourself ignoring the bottom screen and just letting the music carry you. Some tracks however do require the full party to play, namely ‘The Tetris Song’ which involves it’s dancers to climb on top of each other and it’s rather difficult to float in mid air if you’re dancing solo. The solo tracks I did find were very enjoyable (and camp) to say the least and despite being a novice in this franchise it’s easy to see why this is such a successful series. Playing it on the PS4, the Playstation Camera picks up every one of your actions with pretty good accuracy, however it is very easy to move out of range and ruin that otherwise perfect combo. If you’re playing Just Dance 2015 on Playstation or Xbox, then you’ll soon be greeted by ‘AutoDance’ which is by far for me the funniest and most embarrassing gaming feature I’ve come across. During certain parts of a track you will see a tiny ‘REC’ appear at the bottom of the screen and it isn’t until you’ve finished dancing that you see what it’s all about. AutoDance pieces all of these ‘REC’ sections together into an shameful but hilarious dance sequence, that lets you see what you dare not to, those awful faces you pull and how ridiculous you look whilst dancing. If that wasn’t enough, you can also upload these 30 second clips onto Facebook and let the whole world see just how much of a goon you look, which by all means is better than watching videos of how serious people take these games.
If you’re like me and you have to borrow or buy a Playstation Camera then fear not as Ubisoft have introduced a brand new feature for Just Dance 2015 that won’t leave you out of pocket. If you posses a smartphone then there’s a free Just Dance 2015 app that will allow you to play the game without a Kinect or camera to observe your every move, (not to be confused with the Just Dance Now app which is a separate game in itself), and instead you now hold you’re phone as you would a Wii remote. This is a very clever and somewhat noble addition by Ubisoft as smartphones are pretty common place these days and not everyone can afford extra expensive peripherals for their consoles, so why not introduce a free app that lets everyone join in, well played Ubisoft, well played. I’ll admit I did approach this app with a level of scepticism but it worked superbly like a more responsive, more comfortable Wii remote; also without the camera, 4 of us were able to dance wherever we wanted to in my small lounge which was a previously a problem. Another new addition to the franchise is the inclusion of ‘Community Tracks’, which like ‘Alternatives’ and ‘Mash Up’ tracks in the previous games, Community Tracks are where the world’s biggest Just Dance fans replace the animated dancers on the screen. For many years Just Dance has had a huge fanbase supporting it, and what better way to show this then include them in the game and show you how it’s done.
Making it’s triumphant return is the ‘World Dance Floor’ mode, which is the game’s online tournaments. Upon joining the online community, you are placed onto a virtual dancefloor with multiple players from around the globe and you’re split into 2 teams. The idea is to then dance for your life and accumulate as many points as you can individually, so when it’s combined with the rest of your team you can beat your opponents. Adding any kind of enjoyable and interesting online play automatically gives a game an infinite amount of content to revel in, throw in some serious competitive players and you’ve got yourself a truly spectacular experience. Once you’ve decided to retire from the game, you are presented with an explosion of interesting facts and figures, and ultimately how well you fair globally; before this weekend, I had no idea that I was the 874th best dancer in the country.
Personally I can’t believe I’m saying this but Just Dance 2015 is a magnificent game and an absolute essential purchase for anyone who even shows the smallest amount of interest. With a strong lineup of tracks ranging from One Direction to Bonnie Tyler, Katy Perry to Aerosmith, there is something here for anyone and everyone. With most of the playlist being more or less exclusive to a multiplayer party, you could find yourself paying £40 for a game that only makes an appearance a couple of times a year. Also the removal of a difficulty tweaker is a bizarre decision as it’s now become a game that you play to succeed in, opposed to a game you play to have fun; selecting the wrong track could leave you frustrated and out of breath. When compared to the previous 2014 release, there’s not a huge amount of innovation in its appearance, scoring and style, but why fix something if it ain’t broken. The introduction of the fantastic Just Dance 2015 app means it’s now even easier to pick up the game and join in with the party, and more people can cram into your living room and play just using their phones. So Just Dance 2015 may not be a game for the lonely single player, but it’s a perfect and fabulous companion for a group of friends who just … wanna dance.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.