When Just Dance first came out, I did not expect it to be the smash-hit that it ended up becoming. It won millions of people over with its great concept, song list and it was fun to play. Even though I had some problems with the game’s design as far as how it reads inputs, most people were too busy doing the MC Hammer dance.
Though I didn’t purchase the first game, I played enough of it with my girlfriend to know that I would probably have fun with the sequel. On launch day, we both went to her local Best Buy and bought our own copies. Does Just Dance 2 serve up the goods, or does it just get served?
If you’re a fan of the first Just Dance, you’ll find a lot to like here. The song list is better than the first game in every way. There are great songs across a number of genres, which means that the game should have something for everyone at your party. This game comes with 45 songs, which is a good jump from the first game’s set of 32. My only gripe with the set-list is that a handful of those 45 songs are covers. They vary in quality from the not-terrible cover for Kris Kross’ “Jump”, to the really bad “Crazy in Love” cover, which features artists that sound notably worse than Beyonce and Jay-Z.
The choreography that goes with the music is also great. All of the routines cover a lot of different dance styles and fit their respective songs well. To spice things up, Ubisoft has also included duets, which feature two different characters on screen to follow. Adding this mechanic does add a new level of excitement to the routines, as they oftentimes require you and your friends to dance around each other in fun ways. My favourite of these duets is “Jump”, but all of the other ones are fun to play, too. I wish more songs had duets though. As is, only a few songs have this option available.
There are a few other modes and set-list options, but they probably won’t hold your attention for long. They don’t really do much to change the gameplay, which means you’ll tire of them quickly. The two features I would have wanted the most out of Just Dance 2 are some form of campaign mode and a training mode, neither of which are available here. Without a campaign mode, there isn’t really much to work towards other than a high-score. Without a training mode, it’s more difficult to get better at this game than it should be.
Speaking of getting better, my biggest criticism with the first game was that the never told you what you were doing wrong or how to fix your mistakes. It just gave you an “x” and carried on. In Just Dance 2, Ubisoft took some initiatives to sort of address my issue, but never go all the way with it. One change they made was that the on-screen character’s right hand is always coloured differently to make it easier for players to follow. During some load screens, the game shows you how to properly hold the remote, which sounds obvious, but the rotation in which you hold it definitely matters. I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure Ubisoft also loosened up how the game reads your movements, which means you will see less mistakes in general.
While all of this lead to somewhat higher scores and less missed movements, the game still has no way of telling you why some of your movements were wrong or what you can do to fix them. I think most of this stems from the Wii Remote’s design, which doesn’t read fine movement very well. I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that even if Ubisoft could program prompts for what you did wrong, the Wii Remote still wouldn’t read your movements accurately enough, anyway. If motion input bothers you, Dance Central and Singstar Dance may be better suited for your video game dancing needs.
For the majority of people who will ever give this game a chance, none of that is going to matter. What does matter is that this is a better version of the fun dance game that came out last year. When people break out Just Dance 2 at a party, people are still going to have a great time with it, just as they did with its predecessor. Anyone that liked Just Dance and wants more of that shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up. If you’ve never played a Just Dance game before, don’t be afraid to give this a shot next time you’re at a friend’s house and they break out the Wii.