Just Dance!… Again!
E3 2013 gave us a chance to check out the latest in the Just Dance franchise, Just Dance 2014 . Having abandoned the conventional numbering scheme, Just Dance 2014 pretty much confirms that the game will be getting yearly installments. So how does Just Dance 2014 differ from Just Dance games of the past?
To be honest? Not very much. When stepping up to the game’s elaborate E3 stage, I expected to be shown a brand-new game mode or some sort of awesome new user interface. But in reality, Just Dance 2014 is pretty much the same as every other Just Dance game, or for that matter, any dance game that uses motion controls.
Just Dance 2014 will be coming out on every platform, which means you basically just choose your motion-control peripheral of choice and run with it. The Wii U will utilize Wiimote control, which means that the only thing the game is actually checking for is the motion of your Wiimote hand. Every other platform actually utilizes their camera though, so that means the Kinect for the Xbox 360, the PlayStation Eye for the PS3, and the newfangled next-generation cameras for the PS4 and the Xbox One will track dance movements without an extra accessory.
One of the cool new features in Just Dance 2014 is the ability for different players to dance in different routines. Usually, this means two players dance one set of commands while two players dance another, or one player dances a lead routine while the other dances backup routines. It makes the whole game feel a lot more organic, like real dancing rather than a motion-controlled DDR . Well, it feels as real as choreographed dancing ever feels, that is.
While we didn’t get to try it out, Just Dance 2014 will also come with a new karaoke mode, which does pretty much what you would expect it to. It asks one player to sing the lyrics to a song while other players dance around him. Just Dance’s karaoke mode requires a console with a built-in microphone (no word yet if the mode will function with any purchasable microphone accessory). This means you are probably looking at the Xbox 360 or next-generation consoles only for this mode. (The Wii U, though it has a microphone, does not have this mode.) What’s cool is that you can sing directly into your Kinect, Kinect 2, or new PlayStation Eye without another microphone peripheral. What’s not cool is that this opens up the door to singing and dancing at the same time, which is bound to make us all look like tools.
The Wii U version of the game will be bringing back the Puppet Master mode from last year’s Just Dance . Renamed Party Master mode, this allows one player with a GamePad to continually change the game’s rules, songs, moves, and more for four other players dancing with Wiimotes. Basically, it’s a huge way to troll your friends.
Just Dance 2014’s most advertised new feature is the ability to have six players dancing at once. This was one of the few new features we actually got to experience at E3 even though it was a bit cramped on the stage. It works the way you would expect it to work, with your motion-sensing camera of choice modeling several different bodies dancing all at once. On the plus side, it seems like the camera has no problem tracking people, even when they are partially obscured by the bodies of other players. This means that six players can play without having a warehouse-sized living room.
There are also a variety of new online multiplayer modes available as well. For example, there is a new mode that will allow players to dance against each other’s “ghosts”; essentially, this means players can dance with others without the others actually being present to dance. There is also a new World Dance Floor mode that allows you to match yourself up against other dancers from all over the world in a variety of challenges. All players will dance to the same playlist, which allows them to compete on leaderboards against each other.
Of course, no next-generation game would be complete without a variety of social media features, and Just Dance 2014 is no exception. The game will let you record clips of yourself dancing and singing, and you can then share those clips to Facebook, Twitter, or the Just Dance Autodance network. For the life of me, I can’t understand why someone would want to willingly share pictures of them making an ass out of themselves in front of their Kinect. Maybe the game will take a video of you without you even knowing.
Overall, the Just Dance 2014 E3 demo was fun, but I can’t say that it did much to tell me what the game will be like. Sure, it was fun dancing with other members of the gaming media, but it didn’t really show off any of these new features. At least this means that Just Dance 2014 will be fun for the same reason prior Just Dance titles were fun, even without all the extra bells and whistles.