Just Dance 2015 Review – You Make Me Feel Like Dancin’ (PS4)
Last year I danced my heart out in pursuit of getting the ultimate dancing experience for our review of Just Dance 2014. I wasn’t a huge fan of most of the songs, as they aren’t typically what I listen to, but I couldn’t deny that given the context of the experience, nearly every one had me bobbing my head, tapping my toes, and even leaping off of the couch to be the next one to dance. I even bought some of the DLC songs, including “Sexy and I Know It,” because that song really puts a spring in my step and a wiggle in my hips. It is now one year later and we are looking at Just Dance 2015. Let’s see how it stacks up to last year’s model.
For better or worse, streamlined is the word that I would use to describe this year’s Just Dance game. There are no frills, it’s not difficult to navigate. The main menu is little more than a list of songs for you to pick. Snippets of each of the songs play when you highlight them, urging you to just get up and move even more. Ubisoft really wants to make sure that you aren’t waltzing around menus forever. They want to make sure that you just dance. What this means though, is a removal of other features, or at least easy access to those features.
Pop Hits of the Last Decade
The song selection is still not one I would want to listen to on a daily basis, but there are some popular songs and ones that I can’t help liking. Newer songs like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams are interspersed with old rock hits like “Walk This Way” by Run DMC and Aerosmith. There’s even Disney’s most recent hit, “Let it Go” from Frozen. The song list leans more towards pop hits of the last decade or so, but given the target audience of the game, it’s understandable that Ubisoft made the choices they did. DLC rounds out the list, adding a few more songs that you may want such as “Sexy and I Know It” or “Gangnam Style.” However, despite owning “Sexy and I Know It” for Just Dance 2014 and having the same exact choreography and video, I still need to repurchase it for Just Dance 2015.
The PlayStation 4 Camera seems to track movement well enough, perhaps even better than 2014, though my environment has changed since then so it could just be that my room is better lit or the background is less confusing. I don’t want to brag about my sweet moves or anything, but I managed to get five stars on “Happy” which was the first song I played — though the choreography is fairly simple. This is another aspect that Ubisoft removed from this game, which is the difficulty rating of each of the songs. Some days I just feel like doing a fun little groove and not an insane jig, and without the ability to tell which songs are the relaxing ones. Just Dance 2014 had difficulty ratings, so I don’t understand why 2015 does not.
The World Dance Floor is back this year with improvements. This is an endless playlist mode that has players around the world dancing together, interspersed by song votes and other challenges to entice everyone to dance their best. Just Dance 2015 has the chance to have VIPs on the dance floor, but I haven’t seen this yet and don’t know how it changes the experience. This is another mode that streamlines the experience and makes sure that it gets everyone just dancing.
Hitting the Target Market
Community Remix is a feature that captures video of you dancing and submits it to Ubisoft for a chance to be edited into a special video using people instead of the choreographed video. This is a great feature for giving the community a chance to be seen, but replaces Just Dance 2014’s JD TV, which allowed you to browse the dance videos of everyone else. The videos that are taken are still here, but there was no easy way to view them at all. When you save your own video at the end of a dance, there is a chance to look through video categories such as ‘most popular,’ but I can’t find a way to access these from the main menu of the game, which makes me wonder how there can be a ‘most popular’ category.
Some of the songs did exhibit brief freezing which made dancing a bit difficult. It did this often enough to make me raise an eyebrow, but didn’t significantly hinder my dancing experience. Aside from this I didn’t run into any technical issues with the game. It ran very smooth and streamlined, which is the word that keeps coming up when I think back on my experience with Just Dance 2015. Everything in the game is simple and straightforward, which hits the target market of people just wanting to dance and have a good time. I do wish there was a more robust system to help you learn the dance moves however, like the ability to slow sections down or a tutorial mode.
They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Just Dance is a series that remains the same at its very core simply because it works. It’s a fun party game. It’s simple and gets you right into the music and playing the game without a complicated mess of menus. It lets you just dance without any other worry. In some respects, that simplicity is a great thing. In others, it almost feels like a blind eye is being turned on some additional features and aspects that could really help to elevate the series. Even simple things like difficulty ratings are left out. Despite these misgivings, Just Dance 2015 does what it aims to do with a flourish in its step, and if the dancing is good, do we really need much else?
Just Dance 2015 review copy provided by publisher. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.