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Just Dance 2016 Review (Xbox One)

just-dance-2016Few genres of games justify an annual release, but the constant stream of pop music good enough to dance to means Just Dance is a welcome yearly visitor. This year, Just Dance brings a few new features as well as a new track list, but it’s not without its flaws. Most worryingly, the developers push to sell you on it’s subscription service “Just Dance Unlimited” seriously damages Just Dance 2016.

Let’s look at the good though. 2016’s track list is decent enough, although quite not as strong as last years. Still, the choreography is of equal quality and the production values are high. The dancers and artists that makes these games are spectacularly talented. It’s also clear that the developer appreciates fewer and fewer people will be using Kinect to play, and as a result the menus are easier to maneuver through with the pad, which was always my method of navigating through them even when I used the camera.

Those menus sadly are a mess of micro-transactions and none-too-subtle nudges pushing you towards the premium subscription service. Seeing songs you want to play but can’t without dropping cash is a cheap and nasty trick. Those song’s should be less prominently featured and the tracks that come with the game should be given pride of place. As it is, Just Dance 2016’s menus feel far too much like a shop front.

Still, one good idea that’s been applied to the track list is splitting the songs into the ideal number of players. If you have three friends and want to play the songs that are best with four dancers, it’s now very easy to find them.

just-dance-2016-7New and revised modes in 2016 include World Video Challenge where you can show some creativity and create your own dance moves, and a Quest mode where you play sets of three songs against an AI. They’re all welcome distractions, but as ever they feel tacked on rather than integral.

The features that show the most improvement are the social elements of the game. It’s easier than ever to compete with other players online or share videos of your own exploits.

Overall, Just Dance 2016 still justifies the price tag, but there’s some real bad feeling engendered by the pushy attempts to raid your wallet. Just Dance Unlimited mostly contains songs from previous games, and picking them up from the second hand store would probably be cheaper than subscribing for a year. To see it pushed in your face so much detracts from the underlying game. A game that remains excellent, beautiful and amazingly good fun.

Just Dance 2016 Review (Xbox One), 1.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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