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Shaking your groove thing

By Jason Bogdan
On January 24, 2012

For years now, the "Just Dance" series of games have been a huge hit. The popular soundtrack and easy-to-grasp dance gameplay is the perfect formula to appeal to the whole family. Thanks to Microsoft's Kinect that works with body movement, you can shake your body without worrying about the Wii or Playstation Move.

The actual quality of the motion capture is pretty much like all the other Kinect games. Because the game itself doesn't ask for as much feedback as something like Kinect Adventures, that means the mediocrity of the Kinect won't rear its ugly head so highly.

The forgiving approach is the reason why the "Just Dance" games haven't gotten a lot of critical appeal. But at the same time, the freedom in its lack of strict expectations is exactly why kids and grandparents love it so much. The fun in the experience isn't necessarily how well you do score-wise, but in moving your body to your favorite songs with some pedigree of dignity alongside your loved ones.

For those parties with people of multiple musical tastes, the soundtrack here is a godsend in its utterly amazing variety. Yes, it has the sugary, chart-topping hits from the likes of Katy Perry and The Black Eyed Peas. But then there are also songs from Daft Punk, Queen and even the "This is Halloween" song from "A Nightmare Before Christmas."

However, even with a stellar soundtrack and casual-appealing gameplay, this series still needs some heavy work before the connoisseur gamers can approve. Half the time, the stick-figure guy that scrolls across the screen to show the next move hardly helps the player match the fidelity of the neon-drenched choreography on screen. There's also the fact that the forgiving motion detection requires heavy suspension of disbelief when you can get a good score by randomly moving your limbs about. Plus the menus are a mess to go through as is the organization of all the modes and options.

But is "Just Dance 3" for the Xbox 360 still a good game? Well, it largely depends on what you're looking for. For the players who want to feel like they're legitimately dancing well to the tune, they should get the more professionally-made "Dance Central."

But for people who want to just have an enjoyable party game that doesn't take itself very seriously, then "Just Dance 3" is a clever workout for your arms.


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